"Do not be fooled. I am neither spirit nor magic spell, neither man nor
woman. Without hearth or home, I am neither a god nor a demon, nor a song, nor
a tale. I am no one, but many faces are legion. Unmask me... if you dare!"
When Saltimbanco was created it was estimated that 60% of the world's
future population would live in large cities, a concept known as "urbanization".
But the urban world that Cirque du Soleil saw developing was a lifeless one,
variations on future dystopias, with echoes of the Cold War. "There weren't many
reasons given for hope in a better tomorrow," Michel Crête, set designer recalled.
But "we said: You've got to believe that you’re going to live in a better future
and that you can be part of that future," Gilles Ste. Croix added. "You've got to
Created as an antidote to the violence and despair typical of the 20th century,
Saltimbanco proposes a new vision of urbanity, overflowing with
optimism and happiness. From the Italian "saltare in banco", which according to the
French historian Etienne Pasquier (1529-1615) is an Italian word that, when studied
from a French perspective, literally means "to jump on a bench" – the bench being a
slightly elevated platform or, in other words, the stage – Saltimbanco explores
the urban experience in all its myriad forms: the people who live there, their
idiosyncrasies and likenesses, families and groups, the hustle and bustle of the
street, and the towering heights of skyscrapers.
Between whirlwind and lull, prowess
and poetry, Saltimbanco takes spectators on an allegorical and acrobatic journey into
the heart of the city. Decidedly baroque in its visual vocabulary, the show's eclectic
cast of characters draws spectators into a fanciful, dreamlike world, an imaginary city
where diversity is a cause for hope, taking them on an adventure in which anything
can happen with a language all its own.
* * *
Spirit and body, shadow and light, between earth and sky I tumble,
spinning arabesques, kaleidoscope fantasy. I am nobile and rogue,
mortal and sorcerer, fire and water, power and grace. Sublime and
grotesque, somber and afire, I entrance, mesmerize, fusing madness
and wisdom, primordial chaos. ~~ I am celestial, and eerie, playful and
mischievous, subtle and striking, magnificent, androgynous. Soaring,
teetering, slithering, I am fluid, poetic, hypnotic. Dancing, whirling,
flying, I am rebellious, defiant, explosive. ~~ I am one, I am many, I am
as we are - eternal, out of time. I am science and magic, chimeric etheral.
I come from nowhere. I come from everywhere. ~~ But... I am creature of
neither fantasy nor reality, neither incantation nor dream. I am
neither man nor woman, god nor demon, song nor story. I am no one, I
am legion. I am Saltimbanco.
|Premiere: ||April 23, 1992 (Tour 1)
January 7, 1999 (Tour 2)
July 31, 2007 (Arena)
|Finale: ||February 1, 1997 (Tour 1)
December 3, 2006 (Tour 2)
December 31, 2012 (Arena)
"A Perilous Leap: The Steben Sisters"
Keith Johnson, 2009
"A Conversation with René Dupéré"
Keith Johnson, 2009