It’s arduous to take my eyes off the aerialist spinning on an extended, pointed shard of wooden above me – he’s, in spite of everything, an ideal human specimen, ripped and toned with a six-pack elevated to a full dozen. Forgive my superficiality, however I’m a mere mortal admiring the last word eye sweet as he goes about his impossibly bodily day’s work as a Cirque du Soleil performer.
But by staring intently at this god-like creature, I run the danger of lacking the entire level of his unbelievable prowess. For as he spins on the suspended pencil, so projections on the partitions representing sheets of paper erupt to life, animated strains spinning in tandem with the pole to type full characters. It’s a fantastically realised allegory, the aerialist’s physique representing the visceral spirit of animation; and it is also compelling theatre.
Drawn to Life is the inventive collaboration that needed to occur, the right marriage between two leisure behemoths – Cirque du Soleil and the Walt Disney Company. On stage at Disney Springs within the Walt Disney Resort in Orlando, Florida as a part of its fiftieth anniversary celebrations, this new manufacturing combines the storytelling of Disney with the signature acrobatics and design of Cirque du Soleil, in what’s described as a “love letter to the art of Disney animation”.
Less summary than most Cirque productions, this family-friendly present follows the journey of a younger lady named Julie, who discovers a present from her late father (what’s it with Disney and useless dad and mom?) – an unfinished animation. As we comply with her quest to honour her father’s inventive legacy, so the entire stage turns into an animator’s desk and drawings spring to life through the acrobatic performances, with Julie triumphing over self-doubt and embracing failure to think about new prospects.
All the tropes of a basic Disney animation are right here: loss, hope, despair and all-conquering love, with the storyline unified by every high-flying circus stunt. Floor tumblers strike a pose mirroring a transferring shadow of Donald Duck projected on a display behind them; a teeterboard act illustrates the animation rules of “squash and stretch”; whereas a crew of swing gymnasts represents the facility of Disney princesses.
In one of the vital charming acts, look-alike unicyclists dressed as Pinocchio’s Blue Fairy spin, whirl, bounce rope and float effortlessly throughout the stage; whereas if there’s any doubt this can be a Disney manufacturing, there’s additionally a comic book villain – the Ursula-like Miss Hesitation, an enormous wad of crumpled paper who personifies an animator’s failure and represents Julie’s self-doubt.
Illusion is rife all through, however no extra so than within the last act, when Julie remembers the love between her dad and mom, and imagines her father dancing together with her mom like Beauty and the Beast projected behind them. Using a way known as Magie Nouvelle, this romantic aerial pas de deux employs instruments of wizardry to provide the phantasm of weightlessness, Julie’s mom floating within the air with no seen cables or help. It is actually breathtaking, pure Disney magic that achieves what Walt Disney known as “the plausible impossible”.
As family-friendly leisure, Drawn to Life hits residence runs in each facet – from the lavish costuming, to astonishing puppetry and a dynamic set, even all the way down to the pre-show viewers participation the place kids are introduced up on stage to work together with characters. It’s as quirky as it’s exuberant, and a becoming addition to any go to to Walt Disney World.
Drawn to Life is displaying at Disney Springs, Walt Disney World Resort, Orlando, Florida. There are two exhibits each day, 5.30pm and 8pm (period 90 minutes with no intermission). Tickets priced from $US80 ($116). See cirquedusoleil.com/drawn-to-life
There are 34 motels and resorts connected to Walt Disney World, so there isn’t any scarcity of alternative near the Parks and the Disney Springs leisure and purchasing zone. See disneyworld.eu/resorts
Julie Miller was a visitor of the Walt Disney Company.