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Where EAST meets the Northwest


Corteo Video

Corteo Video

Corteo Video

Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo lands in Portland

Cirque du Soleil’s Corteo landed in Portland this week to perform seven shows at the Rose Quarter’s Moda Center. Attendees on opening night were not disappointed, as the troupe brought its unique and astounding program to the Pacific Northwest.

Corteo, which features 44 performers and eight musicians representing 18 nationalities, began unpacking its 21 trucks filled with stage components, costumes, musical instruments, makeup, sewing machines, rigging equipment, and so much more shortly after arriving. The company and crew quickly set up the main stage, two backstages, four musician stations, and wardrobe and makeup areas, and also unloaded and arranged the numerous props used in the production.

Corteo, which means cortege in Italian, tells the story of a joyous procession and a festive parade in a carnival atmosphere imagined by a clown as he pictures his own funeral. The show highlights acrobatics, drama, and music in a theatrical world of fun, comedy, and spontaneity situated in a mysterious space between heaven and earth watched over by angels.

The show first premiered in Montreal under the Big Top in April 2005. The events in Portland feature Cirque’s arena production.

The evening of 16 acts begins with "Chandeliers," which features three women -- the Dreamer Clown’s former loves -- who performing aerial acrobatics on three giant chandeliers. "Bouncing Beds" highlights young kids acrobatically bouncing on 600-pound beds. The "Cyr Wheel" act includes large metal hoops rolling around the stage by the artists, who serve as human spokes, inside the hoops.

The show continues with "Suspended Pole," in which an artist performs contortion-like shapes while flying on a suspended pole, and "Golf," a humorous act with the Giant Clown. "Artists Marionette" presents a live puppet show for the audience and "Hula-Hoop" highlights a performer who spins and twirls a multitude of hoops. "Helium Dance" brings memories of child-like delight and "Teeterboard" shows the athletic prowess and grace of the performers before a 20-minute intermission is held.

Part two of Corteo begins with "Paradis," an act with a trampoline net the length of the entire stage and two Korean double stations by which artists fly through the air. Then a haunting melody is performed in "Crystal Glasses and Tibetan Bowls," in which performers with Tibetan bowls rotate in a circle around the Loyal Whistler, who plays music on his crystal glasses. A circus would not be complete without "Juggling," an act with fast-moving feats of juggling and acrobatics with rings, hoops, and clubs.

In "Acrobatic Ladder," a performer balances on a single ladder while attempting to reach an angel high above. "Teatro Intimo" presents a zany version of Romeo and Juliet and "Duo-Straps" displays the agility, balance, and strength of the performers. And the finale, "Tournik," with its maze of bodies swinging from horizontal bars performing circus arts, brought the crowd to its feet in applause.

Corteo, with its two backstages -- the only touring show arranged in such a unique way -- alongside

Cirque du Soleil’s commitment to reinventing the circus arts, will make you laugh and keep you on the edge of your seat.

The troupe is in town through March 17. Remaining shows are scheduled for 3:30pm and 7:30pm on Friday and Saturday as well as 1:00pm and 5:00pm on Sunday. All performances are held at the Rose Quarter’s Moda Center, located at One Center Court. For more information, or to buy tickets, call 1-800-678-5440, or visit <> or <>.

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