Summer on Ice

“Crystal”, Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever ice experience.
“Crystal”, Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever ice experience.

Escape the heat this July and follow Crystal, a creative young woman who feels misunderstood and out of sync as she ventures out onto a frozen pond and falls through the ice into an upside-down world. The eponymous production, Cirque du Soleil’s 42nd, makes a stop here at Raleigh’s PNC Arena, pushing performers’ limits with a combination of ice skating—extreme, freestyle and figure skating—and acrobatic feats.

We spoke with Julie Desmarais, the show’s publicist, about Cirque du Soleil’s newest creation.

Who will enjoy the show?

Everyone. “Crystal” is Cirque du Soleil’s first-ever ice experience. The narrative, the skills accomplished on ice, the live music and projections all make this production different and modern.

Is it family-friendly or better suited for adults?

“Crystal” appeals to audiences from 7 to 77 years old. We follow Crystal in this world of her own imagination, seeking what she already has inside her without knowing it. She’s guided by her creativity in her alter ego. The ice brings speed, reflexivity and elegance. We have seen kids laughing when our comic character appears on the ice and we have seen adults reflecting and being touched by the story. Everyone is touched in a different way and will find what they enjoy in attending a Cirque du Soleil performance.

The cast seems very diverse, and there seems to be a strong message about acceptance.

“Crystal” features a cast of 40 artists of 11 different nationalities. The cast is diverse and performers apply their own experiences they’ve acquired throughout their lives. We have skaters, acrobats, musicians and a comic character who all learned from each other to create this production. Their generosity and the ability to share knowledge is what the show is, a group of people who were curious about each other and wanted to push the boundaries to tell a story through their athletic capacities. Our differences are what make everyone unique; despite what anyone else says or does, it’s important to find who you are and accept it. This is what Crystal does when she dives into this world, opening up to her creativity and alter ego. She accepts who she is and does everything she can to return to her reality.

How has the show been received so far?

Cirque du Soleil is known for its capacity to reinvent itself. Our audiences have been waiting for something different, and we’re curious to see how we could bring our way of doing things onto this new surface. It has been fantastic to perform this show over 200 times to various audiences across North America and the feedback we receive is great. Audiences are excited and impressed with the spectacle they see and always wonder how this is possible.

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Jane is the editor of Raleigh Magazine. Questions, comments, criticisms/complaints? Email her at jane@raleighmag.com