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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



"Wind of Freedom"

Episode 03: "Wind of Freedom" (CBC, Canada)
Episode 06: "Escape" (Bravo, USA)

Prison guards are lounging around the courtyard, enjoying the sunshine, when a new inmate is admitted. The newcomer is not welcomed by the crowd of convicts. After all, he is not exactly the ideal accomplice to help them escape, since he doesn't do anything right. With the help of solar wind from Boum-Boum (from the show Quidam), prisoners escape by the simplest means - stealing keys while guards dance or squeezing through the narrow cell bars or more complex - with a helicopter bouncing from objects to reach the top of a wall. One thing is clear: these are spectacular escape plans… but will everyone escape?

First Aired: December 14, 2003 (CBC)
May 16, 2004 (Bravo)

    Cirque du Soleil Artists

    • The Other Life of Boum Boum -- In Quidam, Boum-Boum is aggressive and physically fit. And yet, he is lifeless, as though his body lives on only because his soul refuses to leave it. This boxer, with his pale face and hollow eyes, is quick on his feet and often gravitates towards acrobats at the most dangerous moment-as though ready to steal their souls should they make a fatal error. Quidam is a journey. It is the discovery that beauty-sublime and lyrical-lies deep within us all. Boum-Boum is played by Jason Papp.

    • Claudio from Varekai -- This clown character has been years in the making. He reunites with Cal McCrystal (Comedy Director), the clown act creator with whom he worked for Varekai. Performed by Claudio Adalberto Carneiro

    • Dislocation from Zumanity -- Presenting the only act of its kind at Cirque du Soleil, he has unparalleled ability to make dislocation a fascinating, enjoyable spectacle. Performed by Moukhtar Gusengadzhiev.

    • Korean Plank from Mystere -- Acrobats jump and perform acrobatic poses on a plank that is mounted like a see-saw. Performed by Jeremy Brock, Serhy But, Paul Cameron, Marek Haczkiewicz, Vladislav Lissenkov, Dan Niehauss, Zdislaw Pelka, Grygoriy Shevchenko and Rustam Vahidov.

    • Aeriel Ballet in Silk from LaNouba -- Acrobat wraps and moves himself along the length of two cloths hanging from the ceiling. Performed by Iouri Mairov.

    Guest Artists

    • Dance (Acrobatic Solo on Crutches) – Performed by Bill Shannon
    • Dance – Performed by Frank Luisi, Marvin Monestime, Johnny Walker Bien-Aimée and Jonas Napoléon
    • Handbalancing on Canes – Performed by Samuel Tétreault
    • Juggling – Performed by Vladik Miagkostoupov
    • Magic (playing cards) – Performed by Étienne Vendette
    • Perch Poles (Khaylafov) – Performed by Dmtry and Mikhail Kedychko, Alexander and Dmtri Khaylafov, Pavel Leonov, Andrei Saladonau and Danaiil Zanevskiy.
    • Percussion (BEAT) – Performed by Sylvain Coulombe, Robert Dethier, David Devine, Karim Diouf, Samuel Harrisson, Bruno Roy, Mathieu Toupin and Stéphane Tremblay

    The episode opens with a group of prisoners in an exercise yard. The solstrom inspires them to break out into an energetic dance/percussion session. The troupe is known as Beat and their performance draws inspiration from shows such as Bring in 'Da Noise Bring in 'Da Funk, Tap Dogs and Stomp.

    A new prisoner is brought in; lanky Varekai clown Claudio Carneiro. He plays a clichéd bumbling idiot character and seems to give a rather subdued performance without an audience's energy to feed him.

    One young man placidly bounces a ball against a wall in a classic "prisoner" image. The solar wind inspires the young man, 19 year-old Vladik Miagkostoupov, to perform an energetic contact juggling act. He dances and writhes while juggling and manipulating up to seven balls. This young performer exhibits talent and skill reminiscent of Dralion's Viktor Kee.

    Next, Troupe Khaylatov of the Great Moscow State Circus performs one of the most high-level acrobatic acts I've ever seen. One performer balances a 9.5 meter (approximately 30 foot) pole on his shoulder on top of which another performer is perched. They perform some skills similar to Chinese Poles performers, if the poles were simultaneously being balanced on the shoulders of porters. Though amazing, the uninspired presentation of the act makes it less than enthralling. Without the music, costumes, lighting, sets, choreography and drama usually present in Cirque du Soleil's live shows even this spectacular act seems dull. In the absence of artistic elements the act is just a meaningless bunch of tricks and despite the skill of the performers, I found that it dragged on and got tired quickly.

    Claudio winds up in the prison infirmary. The patient in the adjacent bed is inspired by the solar wind to leap up and perform a dance on crutches. Bill Shannon is a New York dancer/choreographer who turned his reliance on crutches into a new form of dance. Inspired by hip- hop and break dance Bill perfected his "Shannon Technique" for dancing on crutches which, until Cirque commissioned him to choreograph a piece for Varekai, only he practiced. Bill is amazingly agile on the cumbersome crutches and performs moves that are far more advanced than his protégé in Varekai is capable of. But the performance in Solstrom is devoid of any deep evocative power since it is not presented in a dramatic context like it is in Varekai.

    A short slight-of-hand card routine performed by magician Étienne Vendette follows. Claudio is then hauled to his cell which he shares with a strange fellow; Zumanity dislocation artist Mukhtar Gusengadzhiev. Mukhtar presents his human-pretzel bone-displacement dance which demonstrates his extreme flexibility.

    We cut to an adjacent cell where one inmate wrangles loose the bars on his window, but before his escape Boum-Boum's puff of solstrom transforms the bars into balancing canes. The prisoner, played by former Alegrìa artist Samuel Tetreault, performs a hand-balancing act taken from his current show Les 7 doigts de la main.

    Meanwhile a group assembles in the courtyard. One prisoner taunts Claudio by stamping down on one side of a bench and sending Claudio's shoe on the opposite end flying into the air. The solar wind turns the bench into a Korean Plank and the group members (from Mystère) propel each other higher and higher on the apparatus. I adored this act when presented in Mystère but in Solstrom the unimaginative costumes and bland music diminish its impact.

    The episode closes with La Nouba performer Yuri Maiorov attempting a helicopter escape. He ties bed sheets to a rig lowered by a hovering chopper but before he makes his escape Boum-Boum's magic has him soaring across the prison yard performing an Aerial Ballet in Silk. I usually adore aerial silk acts; they are among my favorites in any show where they are featured. However, in the context of Solstrom they don't have the same evocative power. Whereas in the theatre the aerialists fly over the heads of the audience and evoke a sense of wonder and other-worldly awe, on television they simply don't have the same effect. Without the spatial reference of the theatre the viewer can't appreciate the act in the same way and unfortunately it becomes flat on screen.

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

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