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Creative Team
Series Intro


Wind of Romance
Twin Winds
Howling Winds
Rockin Wind
Once Upon a Wind
Wind of Freedom
Ghostly Wind
Gone with
the Winds

Past Winds
Wind of

Wind of Life
Wind of Courage
Cosmic Wind



"Rockin' Wind"

Episode 01: "Rockin' Wind" (CBC, Canada)
Episode 04: "Music" or "Rock-n-Roll" (Bravo, USA)

Things aren't going so well in a concert hall as an orchestra prepares for a rehearsal. The maestro - who takes everything very personally - along with his devoted first violin, do everything they can to restore order. Despite their best efforts, things get worse! The musicians show no signs of discipline at all. They arrive late and are distracted. One of them even falls madly in love. Behind the scenes, the technicians join the chaos and perform acrobatic stunts rather than concentrate on repairs. The Baron from Saltimbanco observes the havoc and blows solar wind towards anyone who might disrupt the rehearsal. Even the Baron is distracted by all the commotion especially when a group of acrobats overrun the stage and defy the laws of gravity!

First Aired: January 11, 2004 (CBC)
April 18, 2004 (Bravo)

    Cirque du Soleil Artists

    • The Other Life of the Baron from Saltimbanco -- What secrets lie behind the Baron's sardonic grin? Before you can find out, he has you locked in his hypnotic gaze. He beckons you with his gravelly voice. He is your timeless, ageless guide into the world of Saltimbanco. The Baron is both your ally and your enemy. If you approach him, he may transform himself, or disappear only to reappear. If you get too close, you may disappear yourself. If you can trust him, follow his lead. Performed by Martin Boisvert.

    • Banquine from Quidam -- Two porters face each other and the flyer stands on their interlaced hands. They push with their arms to “juggle” their flyer. Performed by Konstantin Besstchevtny, Maria Boutina, Elena Kolesnikova, Dmitri Koukva, Vladimir Fomine, Alexandre Leontiev, Alexandre Maiorov, Sergei Okhai, Alexandre Pestov, Roman Polishchuk, Dmitro Sidorenko, Svetelana Souvorova, Igor Strijanov, Alexandre Zaitsev and Konstantin Zahkarenko.

    • Washington Trapeze from "O" -- Using a specailly designed trapeze this acrobat performs amazing head-balancing maneuvers. Performed by Anja Wyttenbach.

    • Aeriel Hoops from Dralion -- Acrobat performs acrobatic poses on a hoop high above the stage. Performed by Geneviève Bessette.

    Guest Artists

    • Contortion -- Perfomed by Daniel Browning Smith
    • Mechanical Fantasies (tuba-mobile, music stand) -- Performed by Ulik
    • Musical Fantasy (Car Horn Concerto) -- Perfomed by Michel Lauzière
    • Rola Bola -- Perfomed by Vladimir Dubovsky
    • Tightwire -- Perfomed by Roberto, Rudi and Ray Navas
    • Trampo-guitar -- Perfomed by Dominic Dagenais
    • Singing Aerial Silks -- Perfomed by Béo Da Silva

    Fans of John Gilkey, one of Cirque's most prolific artists as a veteran of Quidam, Dralion and Varekai, will be delighted to see John in his newest incarnation; a mad scientist character named Fogus Punch. Fogus looks like a cross between La Vigie in Varekai and Beakman from Beakman's World (for those who remember the zany kid's science show). Fogus is our guide throughout the series, an astronomer who serendipitously discovers life on the sun. A magical solar life force has been beamed to Earth and personifies itself as a series of recognizable Cirque du Soleil characters. A little bit irritating though is the inane narration that permeates the episode. Fogus' voice-over (which is not done by John) describes the happenings in a banal, everyday manner, not poetically or inventively at all. The narration adds nothing to the show and in fact detracts from it. While the images speak vividly in Cirque's live shows; the narration in Solstrom seems an unfit substitute for well thought-out images and staging.

    This episode of Solstrom, entitled "Rockin' Wind," features the Baron character from Saltimbanco (originally created by renowned mime René Bazinet, in Solstrom the character is played by Martin Boisvert). The Baron descends upon an orchestra rehearsal where nothing is going well. A look at the conductor and first violin gives a clue as to why; they are played by Dralion clowns Gonzalo Munoz Ferrer and Colin Wesley Gee respectively. Unfortunately, their antics are no less tiresome here than in Dralion.

    Gonzalo plays Maestro Von Pom Pom Pom (the "Poms" are set to the first four notes of Beethoven's Fifth Symphony). He is the cantankerous and temperamental tyrant of the orchestra. While desperately trying to get his musicians in order a latecomer stumbles in chaotically and disrupts the proceedings. The Maestro begins to chide him when the Baron blows a puff of the magical Solstrom at the latecomer. The latecomer is actually extreme contortionist and dislocation artist Daniel Browning Smith. Smith contorts into unbelievable shapes. He squeezes his flexible body through a tennis racket and inverts himself in many impossible poses, often by dislocating his joints. The performance is jaw dropping though slightly grotesque. For his finale Smith contorts into a small ball and fits himself inside a 20" x 20" x 24" box where he stays for the remainder of the show, sometimes popping up to watch the proceedings.

    After the initial commotion the first violin (Colin Gee) is distracted by an attractive female orchestra member. She approaches and kisses him passionately on the lips. The Baron's puff of Solstrom transforms her into a wild temptress dressed in red. The first of the acts adapted from live Cirque du Soleil shows featured in the pilot episode is Genviève Bessette's stunning solo aerial hoop number from Dralion. Originally part of a trio of aerial hoop performers featured in Quidam, Genviève refined a solo version of the act for incorporation into Dralion as an act in rotation. When I saw this act last spring (performed by another Quidam alumna, Marie-Eve Bisson) it was a shining moment in an otherwise lackluster performance. The breathtaking choreography, set to the Spanish flavoured song "Anima", is full of passion and emotion, perfectly fitting the fire element that it represents in Dralion. Although when taken in Solstrom's context the emotional gravity is subdued, it is nonetheless a treat to finally see a filmed version of this magnificent act.

    No sooner has the orchestra been successfully called to order than someones watch chimes and the musicians break for lunch. The guitarist sits at his music stand and falls asleep. Fogus does a "brain scan" and monitors his dream. The guitarist dreams of playing rock chords on an electric guitar. He falls backward only to spring right back up. The guitarist proceeds to execute flips on a trampoline all the while playing his guitar. The performer is actually Domenic Dagenais, a former Canadian trampoline champion.

    Next, to the horror of the first violin, a spotlight burns out and he realizes the Maestro will be furious unless someone fixes it. He stops a stagehand but a puff of the solar wind transforms the stagehand into a balance artist. Vladimir Dubovsky uses an array of boards and aluminum pipes stacked precariously like a deck of cards in a daring balancing act. Vladimir executes this act with a more than a hint of Chaplin. His presentation and music are reminiscent of the Vaudeville stage.

    Before the Maestro can regain order he is stricken by a beautiful prima donna who has entered the hall with her accompanist. She prepares to sing but a puff of the Solstrom and we find her hanging in the air supported by white silks. Our diva is Béo Da Silva and with a sultry voice she belts out a sassy jazz song entitled "New Attitude" written by former La Nouba singer Dessy Di Lauro. While singing live she performs some beautiful aerial silk work. This unique combination number has a slightly surreal Moulin Rouge feel and is one of the most enjoyable of the episode.

    When the dust settles there is still the matter of the burnt out spotlight to attend to. A group of stagehands climb up a set of scaffolds but the Baron works his magic and they become daredevil high wire performers. The Navas Family (three brothers) scamper and dance across a high wire before performing death-defying leaps and pyramids all while remaining perfectly balanced on the thin wire.

    Then we observe a metronome slowly ticking back and forth. The Baron works his magic and the pendulum transforms into a trapeze artist. The orchestra watches as Anja Wyttenbach perched on a Washington trapeze, carefully balanced on her head while going through a series of poses. This act, taken from "O" is performed to a piece of music credited as "Debbie" but more commonly known as the Journey of Man theme. The trapeze number is cut short. In "O" there is a static as well as swinging portion but only the static is shown here. Disappointing given the amount of time allotted to each episode, there is no need to truncate such a beautiful and well-crafted act.

    As if another interruption was needed, the rehearsal is invaded by wacky Michel Lauzière who aims to play music of his own on bicycle horns of different pitch strapped all over his body. He executes a wild choreography to play the horns and serenades the orchestra with his rendition of the Danube Waltz, The Four Seasons and other classical selections.

    Finally the Maestro gives in and the rehearsal descends into chaos as the musicians, stagehands and house staff transform. If there were to be one act I considered to be Cirque du Soleil's signature it would be Banquine from Quidam. This act has been proudly showcased by the company in a variety of different competitions, media projects and special events including Journey of Man and the 2002 Oscar performance. The first episode of Solstrom closes with the Banquine troupe performing a number called "Tribute to Rock 'n Roll" Though much of the choreography is the same as the routine from Quidam, the troupe appears sans make-up and wearing different costumes; black pants and coloured t-shirts for the guys, simple black dresses for the ladies. This elite acrobatic group has only improved with age and now performs some skills that are far more spectacular than the ones we've previously seen on film. Among the new tricks is a super jump where four performers are launched simultaneously, cross paths in mid-air barely avoiding collision and are caught again by the able porters. Though stripped of the dramatic intensity of the live show the Banquine act still shines as an amazing acrobatic display.

    Text written by Wayne Leung, as published in the “Fascination! Newsletter”.

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