Cirque du Soleil

Exclusive preview & photos by Donna Christenson

for DC digest™

Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna

Exclusive preview and photos by Donna Christenson

Remember when you were a child and wanted to run away and join the circus?

You’ll be happy to know you can recapture that excitement and fun at

Cirque du Soleil’s latest production, Amaluna, a circus sophisticated enough for

grown-up tastes …in fact, they even offer champagne at the concession stand!

In one of many interesting twists – Cirque du Soleil, after all, is known for the seemingly impossible twisting

of muscular bodies well beyond pretzel positions – this show features a cast predominately of powerful

female characters. Even the impressive band is entirely made up of women, including the

vocalists whose haunting refrains have become a hallmark of Cirque du Soleil.

The name “Amaluna” emphasizes the theme of femininity, fusing the two words ama and luna which mean “mother” and “moon” in various languages. It evokes the mother-daughter relationship and the idea of goddess and protector, storylines that are woven into the visually-stunning performances.

Whether it is the fierce feminine force of the Amazon women moving impossibly fast on the uneven bars above, or the bare-chested young men flying through the air propelled off a teeterboard below, the incredible strength, skill and precision of every performer has earned Cirque du Soleil its world-wide reputation for excellence. Amaluna is one of nineteen different Cirque du Soleil shows being performed all over the world this year. In their thirty year history over 150 million people have attended, and close to 15 million people will see a Cirque du Soleil show each year. I hope you will be lucky enough to be one of them!

Perhaps the most intriguing performance in Cirque du Soleil's Amaluna is that of the Balance Goddess, who creates a seemingly impossible mobile made of thirteen increasingly large palm leaf ribs. With slow dance-like, meditative movements she gracefully brings these awkwardly-shaped pieces into an incredible equilibrium, penultimately balancing the entire structure on her head in the photo above. She then reaches with her foot to stand up the last of the palm ribs (which is still lying on the floor in the photo above), and breathtakingly moves the entire structure to rest atop the now upright palm rib, perching the mobile even higher than her head. What she does after that is best kept for you to discover when you see Amaluna yourself. Coincidentally, I had watched an unattributed video of this fascinating act just a few weeks ago and was so impressed that I shared it with friends, without knowing that it was part of Cirque du Soleil. Imagine my surprise and delight to find myself in a front row seat to experience the extraordinary grace, control and balance of this exquisite performance.

Send in the clowns! That is exactly what happens between the various aerial, juggling, acrobatic and other specialty acts. They provide a very European (or is it French-Canadian) style of playful pantomimes to distract the audience from the very serious business of changing the staging and securing the precision equipment necessary to allow the amazingly talented performers to fly through the air with the greatest of ease.

Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna runs now through September 21

in the Washington, DC area at National Harbor in Oxon Hill, MD.

For ticket information and performance dates in other locations visit or call 1-800-450-1480

DCdigest's Donna Christenson and Richard Sommerfeld have not yet quit their day-jobs to run away and join the circus

but they certainly were delighted to spend a thrilling evening in the audience of Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna.