Illuminating tour: Show balances physical feats, circus thrills

Ukraine native Andrey Moraru, who is a hand balancer in Cirque Dreams Illumination, says the theme of the show is about “everyday,
ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

Ukraine native Andrey Moraru, who is a hand balancer in Cirque Dreams Illumination, says the theme of the show is about “everyday, ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

CIRQUE DREAMS ILLUMINATION

When: 8 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday

Where: Tennessee Theatre, 6047 S. Gay St.

Tickets: $47 and $67, plus service charges; available at Tennessee Theatre box office, all Tickets Unlimited outlets, by phone at 865-656-4444 or online at TennesseeTheatre.com.

Blending psychedelic theatrics and suspenseful feats, Cirque Dreams Illumination plans to dazzle Knoxville audiences when it premieres Wednesday and Thursday at the Tennessee Theatre. The brand-new show is on its first tour and follows in the creative footsteps of creator and director Neil Goldberg's other projects, like Broadway sensations Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy or Cirque Dreams Pandemonia.

Andrey Moraru, hand balancer in Cirque Dreams Illumination, is confident the show will impress.

"To be honest, I think this show is going to sell very well," said 23-year-old Moraru who is from the Ukraine. "There's so much that's happening on the stage and the artists are putting so much effort into what they do. The show is very strong."

Since the show is just starting, Moraru said it was exciting to finally get it out into the world.

"It's our baby and every time we present and share it with the audiences - when they like it, it makes us work harder," said Moraru. "There's something special in this production. There's something for everyone."

Cirque Dreams Illumination takes place inside a glowing metropolis, where city dwellers reinvent familiar objects, balance on wires and leap tall buildings. On top of the urban acrobatics, there is no shortage of classic circus thrills and dazzling costumes, complete with an original score that combines jazz, ballroom and pop.

For Cirque Productions, Cirque Dreams Illumination is the company's 14th production since originating in 1993. Goldberg said the new show fits with the wide appeal of Cirque Dreams lineup.

"The Cirque Dreams brand of quality, originality and value combined with Broadway theatrics and international circus artistry continues to transcend imagination and appeal to audiences of all ages," Goldberg states in a press release.

Moraru, who plays the role of a sailor, does chair stacking and bending in the show - and even a balancing act that goes as high as 25 feet in the air. He said he does other things in the show that relate to the main story of "everyday, ordinary people doing extraordinary things."

But "extraordinary things" don't come easy. It takes Moraru and his fellow performers extensive training to accomplish those physical feats.

"Once you get to a certain level, it takes a lot of determination and discipline to continue doing it and keep at it," said Moraru, who trains three hours a day. "There are things you have to sacrifice to be where you want to be. Physically, it can be pretty hard sometimes. But it's a great pleasure for the audience."

Stephen Woodward is a freelance contributor to the News Sentinel.

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