London Performance Now: Lucinda Saufley on Amaluna

Cirque du Soleil: Spotlight on “Amaluna”
Thoughts on the Recording
Blogpost by Lucinda Saufley

Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing Cirque du Soleil live can agree that it is nothing short of a spectacle. Cirque’s initiative to bring some of its one-of-a-kind performances to YouTube in a series of “spotlights” allows audiences far and wide to experience the magic from the comfort of their own homes. However, comfort might not be on the wish list of someone wanting to see Cirque perform. This spotlight on Amaluna is filled with death-defying circus tricks, live music, and breathtaking choreography. However, it’s just not the same – it’s hard to be brought to the edge of your seat when you’re sitting on a couch.

Some aspects of the show are augmented by the recording: the camera captures details like lighting effects and artful makeup you might not fully appreciate from the pit. The recording also enables you to better tune into the original soundtrack, which might fall second to the visuals if you were at the live show. Despite these positives, there are far more drawbacks in my opinion. For one, the energy and urgency intrinsic of a show like Amaluna are lost. Watching a human bend into impossible shapes while balancing on a tiny pole is still impressive, but the adrenaline isn’t pumping as it might if that human was right in front of you. When watching a recording, you know the aerialist won’t plummet from the rafters. You know the juggler’s balls of flame won’t end in fiery tragedy. Additionally, some of the magic is lost when the many camera angles reveal aspects of the set that audience members aren’t meant to be privy to. In one acrobatic number, a platform that appears impossibly narrow from the front is revealed to be comfortably wide – and other such little let-downs. It’s a bit like ripping the trench coat off a giant and finding it was really two people stacked upon one another all along.

This post is part of London Performance Now Series. Read more about the series here

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All Things SED Editor

I am the Web and Marketing Administrator in the School of English and Drama. Amongst my various roles, I run the School's website ( and its Twitter feed (@QMULsed). I also manage the running of the School's Open Days and draft promotional materials.

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