Festive Feats

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze lights up the Hult

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze is at the hult Nov. 22-23
Cirque Dreams: Holidaze is at the hult Nov. 22-23

What combines dancing penguins, tightrope-walking snowmen, gravity-defying aerial feats, illusion, acrobatics and some good old-fashioned song and dance?

The answer is Cirque Dreams: Holidaze, featuring 20 such dizzying acts and lighting up the Hult Center stage Nov. 22 and 23.

From cruise ships to concert halls, an estimated 50 million people worldwide have attended a Cirque Dreams production. “My goal is to show audiences something they’ve never seen before,” says veteran director-producer Neil Goldberg, founder of the Cirque Dreams juggernaut (not to be confused with the French-Canadian Cirque du Soleil, which is unrelated).

In order to find and recruit talent to his stable of performers, Goldberg has developed relationships with the Mongolian School of Contortion, the Beijing Acrobatic Association, the Cultural Division of the Ethiopian Government and the American Federation of Jump Rope Associations.

“Our casting department looks through 50 submissions per week,” Goldberg says. If selected, performers train for up to a year at Goldberg’s Dream Theater in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, before ever appearing onstage.

Behind the scenes, any traveling show has to conform to the space it enters, but when the lives of dancers and aerialists are on the line, the intricacies of continually changing venues become a challenge to designers and builders.

“No two theaters in the world are exactly alike, so the set for Holidaze is built a bit like an erector set,” says Goldberg. “It’s possible for it to continually expand and contract to adapt to new theater spaces.”

If you’re looking for a holiday diversion for all ages, then Holidaze, with its glittery, short-attention-span razzmatazz, may fit the bill.

“It’s challenging to find something that the whole family can walk out of, having had a good experience,” Goldberg says.  “But this show brings a smile to everyone’s face.”

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze runs Nov. 22-23 at the Hult Center; $30-$73, tickets at 682-5000 or hultcenter.org.

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