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Jenny Block Headshot

Cirque du Soleil -- Quidam

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Whenever I go to see a Cirque production, I go expecting the surreal. I go expecting a welcome visual assault. I go expecting to be amazed. And, no surprise, Quidam comes through on every count.

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Photo: Matt Beard
Costumes: Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil.

The costumes and make-up design are bizarre and sometimes unsettling. They are also magical and sometimes even joyous. The storyline revolves around a little girl whose parents ignore her and so she finds delight in another world. The world of Quidam.

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Photo: Matt Beard
Costumes: Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil.

It's an easy place to find delight. Clowns and jugglers; acrobats and contortionists; and gymnasts and dancers all abound. But it is also a place of great strangeness with aerial artists hanging limply from red silks and a headless man with an umbrella meandering the stage.

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Photo: Al Seib
Costume: Dominique Lemieux ©Cirque du Soleil

Quidam is gorgeous and witty. It is shocking and wonderful. It is all sorts of new and just as much classic when it comes to Cirque style.

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Photo: Camirand
Costume: Dominique Lemieux ©2006 Cirque du Soleil

It's interesting, in the past when I've gone to Cirque shows, I've felt antsy and even desperate to play on the stage the way these performers do. Not that I could come close to doing any of the amazing feats they achieve.

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Photo: Al Seib
Costume: Dominique Lemieux ©Cirque du Soleil

I just mean the movement and the freedom and the dance and the play. I realize they are performers hard at work. But what I experience from the audience is a freedom and joy of movement that I envy. At least that I used to envy, before I started practicing a dance/fitness technique called Nia almost two years ago.

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Photo: Matt Beard
Costumes: Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil.

And, strangely, as I sat there watching this time, I felt not anxious, but instead, inspired. There's no acrobatics or aerial silks in Nia. Not even close. But there is plenty of moving and dancing and playing and pushing your body to do things you weren't sure it could.

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Photo: Matt Beard
Costumes: Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil.

I felt such great admiration as I watched the performers of Quidam. Each scene a new feat of strength or balance or focus or training or flexibility or agility or all of them combined and more.

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Photo: Al Seib
Costume: Dominique Lemieux ©Cirque du Soleil

People go to the theater for different reasons. You could go to Quidam to be entertained. You could go to be moved. You could go to inspire some moving of your own. You could go to laugh or cry. But whatever your intention, my guess is that Quidam wouldn't disappoint.

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Photo: Matt Beard
Costumes: Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil.

There was a lot of audience participation in the show and I am pleased to say that the Dallas contingent was very obliging. And unlike in other Cirque shows, I don't believe these were plants. But they were definitely people with excellent senses of humor.

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Photo: Al Seib
Costume: Dominique Lemieux ©Cirque du Soleil

Quidam is here in the Dallas area at the Frisco Dr. Pepper Arena through March 11. Then it's off to San Antonio, TX; Champaign, IL; Roanoke, VA; and Knoville, TN. For more stops you can visit the Quidam tour site.

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Photo: Matt Beard
Costumes: Dominique Lemieux ©2011 Cirque du Soleil.

I'm delighted I had the chance to see Quidam. It's an evening that invites your mind to wander off somewhere new, which is a place all of our minds deserve to go at least once in awhile.