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Cirque Du Soleil's TOTEM: A Stunning Interpretation of Evolution

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Cirque du Soleil's Totem


In typical Cirque du Soleil fashion, TOTEM combines creativity, choreography, unusual talent, incomparable athleticism, and drama. The inspiring performance takes the audience on a journey that follows the evolution of man from amphibian to astronaut.

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A Stunning Set

The set design for TOTEM begins with a 3D stage, meant to represent an enormous turtle shell, which is used for gymnastics and acrobatics in the opening scene. With artistic lighting, projected images and meaningful music, the large oval framework comes to life as the cast swings and bounds around the stage. The stage is surrounded by a marsh-type environment with inflatable reeds that acts, in part, as a barrier for the orchestra. Throughout the show, the shell can be raised above the central stage. The slightly tilted flat stage surface can then be used for various acts and utilized as a projection surface to change the theme from ocean to river, lake or swamp.

Creative Characters

Some stand-out characters of the TOTEM performance include Valentino (taking the place of a typical circus clown), a silly, laugh-provoking Italian tourist that seems to stir up trouble, the American Indian dancer that mesmerizes the audience with his hoop dance, the Crystal Man that brings sparkle to the show as a human disco ball, the Scientist that brings monkeys and illusion to the stage in his futuristic lab that includes a giant cone for juggling, the Tracker that acts somewhat as a ring master to bring fluidity to the show.

Awe-Inspiring Acts

The meat of the show is the unbelievable talent that is present on stage. TOTEM acts include the:

• Foot Juggling Crystal Ladies that make square towels appear as spinning tops using their fingers and toes.
• Extremely strong and athletic Hand Balancing performer who strikes poses while balancing on one hand.
• Acrobatic Turtles that spin, flip, bounce and fly across and around the turtle shell.
• Unicyclists that not only wow the audience with their cycling skills, but add a dramatic effect by tossing bowls with their feet and catching them on their heads while cycling.
• Fixed Trapeze Duo that gracefully and seductively dance in the air.
• Roller Skaters that spin rapidly while performing tricks on top of a small platform.
• Russian Bars are used as bouncy balance beams that launch performers through the air to showcase their strength and agility.
• Rings Trio that showcase grace and strength as they swung, twirled and lifted themselves on the rings high above the stage.

Cultural Costumes

One of the highlights of the performance is the creativity used in the costumes. With earth-toned and fluorescent colors, a variety of fabric textures, stunning makeup, and character-enriching accessories, the thought and skill that goes into the Cirque du Soleil costume design is apparent. In an effort to mimic nature's flora and fauna, as well as incorporate tribal patterns, the mostly body-contouring costumes included embellishments such as seedpods, flowers, mirror fragments, crystals, feathers, beads, bolts and screws, beads, faux fur, and more.


Tickets can be purchased online or by calling 1-800-450-1480.

Show Dates are as follows:

  • Irvine, CA - Now through Dec. 29
  • Santa Monica - Opens Jan. 17, 2014
  • Portland, OR - Opens March 27, 2014
  • Vancouver, BC - Opens May 15, 2014


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