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Aerial Cube
(Main | Apr.21.1994 - Dec.30.1995; Mar.06.1997 - Feb.07.1999)
(Reserve | Oct.29.2004 - Dec.2007)

Mind over matter, light over darkness, the cube man in a seemingly effortless manner dominates his instrument. Shunning open shows of strength in favour of the more subtle artistry evoked by sensual masculine movement, the performer manipulates the cube while suspended in the air or, in a stunning flurry of light, on the ground. Strong yet tender, natural and surreal the cube man evokes a higher authority in search of life's force.

Mikhail Matorin, whose beautiful face is set off by a cascade of curly dark hair, and whose tapered torso looks like a Renaissance sculpture, set off a torrent of female cries and wolf whistles long before he got anywhere near his gymnast's rings. Once there, he performed the "cube" act which he invented himself, and which nobody has been able to duplicate. As the gymnast's rings are hoisted aloft, carrying him with them, his head catches the corner of a large cube (about two metres on a side) made of aluminum struts. Once he and the cube are about six metres off the ground, he begins to manipulate it with his shoulders, head and feet, giving the impression that he is being rolled around inside a giant box. One has to struggle to remember that he is not being held by the box - the box, and his own body, are being held aloft by nothing but the strength of his arms. At one point, he holds himself aloft with one arm, using the other to strike dramatic poses.

As he strikes these poses, rotating his body in mid-air, he looks strikingly like the tormented images of the damned, flying through the air to hell, in Michelangelo's Last Judgment. In fact, Matorin is an art lover who is particularly fascinated by Michelangelo and Salvador Dali. Matorin also made physical reference to images of the crucified Christ, to the man-and-geometry drawings of da Vinci, and generally demonstrated what can be done by an athlete with a personal culture - an idea unfortunately alien to the North American mind.

Matorin's signature act, a highlight of "Alegria," was created by his father, an artistic director of the Moscow Circus. The idea of juxtaposing the human body with a cube was inspired by drawings by Leonardo da Vinci and such Salvador Dali paintings as "Gala Looking at the Hypercubicus Christ." It took a year and a half to develop. [Fun Fact: Mikhail was a late-addition to Alegría's line up, joining the rehearsals on April 6, 1994 - just 15 days before the show's world premiere.]

Mikhail performed this act through the North American Tour (1994-1995). It would not be seen during the Asian-Pacific Tour (1996); however, for Alegría's 1997-1998 European Tour, Mikhail reluctantly taught Paul Bowler, a native Australian olympiad, who learned well and continued performing on tour while Mikhail took up residence at Mystère. Paul and the act would not join the show at the Beau Rivage (1999-2000); however, Paul would go on to replace Mikhail at Mystère in 1999 and continued to perform there for a long, long time. The discipline would be replaced with "Flying Man" for the show's 2001 restaging. Aerial Cube would make a reappearance for the Alegría 2 run in Japan/Hong Kong (2004-2005). And later, following the show's conversion for arenas, the Aerial Cube's inclusion was spotty at best, as an act in rotation or dropped from the line-up all together.


• Ibis
• "Le Cube"

Aerial Cube Aerial Cube Aerial Cube Aerial Cube
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