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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Saltimbanco sizzled on TCC stage

    Saltimbanco sizzled on TCC stage

    It took 10 hours of unloading semi-trucks loaded with flashy costumes and set pieces to transform the Tucson Convention Center into a circus.

    “”It’s not bad, just a lot of pointing and getting organized,”” said Robinson Alrutz, production stage manager for the Cirque Du Soleil performance, Saltimbanco.

    Alrutz moved to Tucson in 1998 and worked for the Arizona Theatre Company.

    “”When I first saw Cirque Du Soleil, I walked out saying, ‘That’s not human beings, that’s like aliens,'”” Alrutz said. “”They brought people from space to put this on, because they’re doing things that you just don’t think is possible.””

    Alrutz was right. They perform the impossible.

    The stage was like a scene from a Dr. Seuss book. In the center sat a large oval with a backdrop that sloped up toward the band, a full ensemble with guitar, bass, piano, saxophone and drums. A weave of ropes, wires and bungee cords hung from the metallic grid in the rafters above.

    Audience members had barely settled into seats when a barrage of masked characters flooded the stage with color and dance.

    Soon the house troupe was scaling Chinese poles, reaching for the ceiling with ease. Live music dictated movements up, down and between the poles. One performer climbed in a spiral with arms perpendicular to the pole, making it look as though a supernatural force was lifting him.

    Amo Gulinello coasted onstage to provide comic relief as the clown. His act resembled traditional mime: stepping through imaginary doorways, tossing invisible balls to audience members and losing a shootout without guns or bullets. It takes a lot of talent to make a crowd laugh while performing alone on an empty stage.

    Who knows what motivated Ivan Do-Duc to try a handstand on the handlebars of a moving bicycle the first time, but now he’s perfected the art. He displayed unbelievable coordination while dancing across the stage with a bike during his act.

    The entire cast again took the stage for Russian Swinging. The swing operated like amusement park pirate ship rides that rock back and forth. But this version launched occupants into high-flying acrobatic frenzies, filling the arena with oohs and aahs.

    Twin sisters Ruslana and Taisiya Bazaliy hypnotized the audience by mirroring each other in a trapeze act. Sharing a bar, the two used legs like arms and feet like hands while flying so high it seemed they’d disappear into the rafters.

    The show closed with a bungee act as performers created a new sport: synchronized flying.

    A standing ovation full of smiles confirmed this wildly entertaining spectacle succeeded in capturing imaginations while thrilling those lucky Tucsonans who got to see the show.

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