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Last night (April 2) my husband and I got the privilege of attending TOTEM Cirque du Soleil, performing now through May 4th, 2014 at the Portland Expo Center. We had always heard about how utterly spectacular Cirque du Soleil was. the show has a reputation for gravity defying acts and impressive acrobatics.

I was not disappointed. 

TOTEM Cirque du Soleil surpassed my expectations! The sets, the costumes, the acts – all perfection. While every single one of the acts were outstanding, I did have two favorites I want to highlight:

American Hoop Dancer

This act was part of the first act of the show, but made appearances throughout. I have realized I have a soft spot for Amerindian dancing. It was hard to take my eyes off of her!


Fixed Trapeze Duo

These two lovely dancers flirted and fawned their way into the heart of the audience. The tricks were unreal – these two were 20-30 feet up in the air relying on their grip strength and each other in order to stay up there and not slip. At one point the male dancer hung upside-down by the backs of his heels. WOW. 


The other acts included:


Bars – similar to what you see in the Olympics: Acrobats swinging and flying among parallel bars in perfect unison.


Foot Juggling (Crystal Ladies) – These two beautiful women spin carpets on their hands and feet with ease, all the while being upside-down on chairs, benches, and balancing on each other’s feet!


Hand Balancing – A pretty incredible solo act that show just how much dexterity one human body is capable of.


Unicycle & Bowls – 5 dancers, each on 15+ foot tall unicycles flipping metal bowls on to their and each others heads – with their feet. Not one bowl dropped!


Roller Skates – Two dancers show the art of falling in love while doing spinning tricks on skates. I later found out the couple is married with a 6 year old daughter – no wonder the chemistry was so strong!

There are several other amazing acts to be seen. The show was about 2 1/2 hours long including intermission, so if you are bringing children (who will love it), expect to be out a little late. Also note that the souvenirs are pricey, as the usual with live shows. I would also suggest eating before you go, as concessions are priced a little higher than movie theaters. 



Yes, I got to go backstage and learn all about the show from a new perspective! I learned about how intricate and calculated the mechanics of the stage are. Each and every pulley, stage adjustment, and even props are controlled by remote. Even the light orbs in Greg Kennedy’s set “Manipulation”.


The costumes are incredible (designer_ Kym Barrett) – all handmade, hand washed, and air dried. All except the Crystal Man. While his costume is indeed hand made, it will fall apart if it gets wet – all of those Swarovski  crystals are hand-set and need to stay that way! So this costume gets a dry spray cleaning. 

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 I also learned that every performer does their own hair and makeup. There is a large binder – “The Makeup Bible” – that shows in detail exactly how each look needs to be, down to the color code of the makeup used. Brands used are MAC and Ben Nye, a theatrical makeup based in Los Angeles.

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The cast and crew travel with dance instructors, physical therapists, and chefs in over 60 trailers. While most of the cast is there at all hours, many have apartments rented in downtown Portland. Children of performers travel along with Cirque du Soleil and have private teachers and tutors so they don’t miss an ounce of school.

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All in all I found the show mesmerizing. I was thrilled to have attended and would love to see it again! You can see it NOW through May 4th, 2014 at Portland Expo Center (and I recommend you do!) Check out the video below to see some of the incredible action and get tickets HERE.