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Quebec’s Cirque du Soleil has grown exponentially in its 25 years.
More than 25 years ago, in Baie-Saint-Paul, Canada, a colorful band of 20 street performers spent their days roaming the streets on stilts, juggling, dancing, breathing fire, and playing music. In 1984, to celebrate the 450th anniversary of Jaques Cartier’s discovery of Canada, the troupe was selected to perform a show, and Cirque du Soleil has not stopped since. From its humble beginnings, Cirque has grown into a household name, bringing awe-inspiring performances to almost 80 million people in more than 200 cities on five continents.
In 2008 Cirque presented 17 shows, simultaneously, worldwide. And there is no more fitting a home for Circus of the Sun—the English translation of Cirque du Soleil—than Las Vegas. The Strip is home to six resident Cirque shows: “Mystère” at Treasure Island, “O” at Bellagio, “Zumanity” at New York-New York, “KÀ” at MGM Grand, “The Beatles LOVE” at The Mirage, and the newest, “CRISS ANGEL Believe” at Luxor.
“CRISS ANGEL Believe” represents a slightly new direction for Cirque, in that it pairs the mesmerizing, surrealistic experience of a Cirque production with the energy and individuality of charismatic entertainer Criss Angel (right) in a dark and disturbing dreamscape. Best known for his A&E show, “Mindfreak,” Angel brings his unique brand of illusion to a show that Cirque describes as a “haunting exploration deep inside the inventive mind of a mystifier.” In “Believe,” Angel hovers in a world created and contained entirely within his mind, somewhere between life and death. In his dreamlike state, Angel encounters many bizarre representations of familiar images from his waking life. Kayala and Crimson (Angel’s assistants from “Mindfreak”) represent opposing ends of the spectrum of femininity, while an energetic troupe of characters and dancers play out Angel’s conflicting, tormented emotions. Four peculiar ushers provide comic relief and introduce the audience to the baroque theater of Angel’s mind.
Unlike the self-contained, standalone illusions of other performances and “Mindfreak,” the magic elements in “Believe” are woven into the story and presented in the open for all to see. “I had to involve other art forms, like the costuming, lighting, and special effects,” Angel says. “There were so many things that had to work seamlessly together [in order to present the illusions on an open stage].” The show—at its core an homage to all things magical and to Angel’s childhood inspiration, Harry Houdini—takes a satirical look at traditional, rabbitpulled-out-of-the-hat magic. Rabbits—from lovable, cuddly bunnies to twisted, evil hares—appear in a multitude of roles throughout the production.
The Criss Angel—MINDFREAK Superstore at Circus Circus offers a wide variety of merchandise. In addition, displays of Criss Angel memorabilia, such as shadow boxes containing various props from past seasons of “Criss Angel—MINDFREAK” are throughout the store. From T-shirts and caps to DVDs and magic trick box sets, the retail outlet provides an amazing selection of items sure to please Criss Angel fans of all ages. Located on the Promenade Level across from The Adventuredome entrance, the hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., Sunday through Thursday; 10 a.m. to midnight, Friday, Saturday, and holidays. To contact the store directly, call 702-650-2363.