The message is simple — but the delivery quite extreme.
Cirque du Soleil’s latest arena show, “Ovo,” showcases circus styles from around the world while delivering a message of love and acceptance.
The high-energy production stops at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum in Uniondale Aug. 30 through Sept. 3.
WHAT TO EXPECT
“It’s playful, it’s a lot of fun, but yet, at the same time, the acrobatic elements are top-notch,” says Tim Bennett, the show’s artistic director.
A contemporary Big Top show, the cast of “Ovo” is made up of 50 performing artists from 14 countries. It features more than 10 different acts, including members of a Chinese troupe who portray ants and juggle with their feet.
The story of “Ovo,” which translates to “egg” in Portuguese, is set in a colorful ecosystem of insects. When a mysterious egg appears in their midst, the native insects are intrigued. Once hatched, the gawky insect falls in love with a lady bug. But he is not accepted by all.
“Initially, they reject him because he is different,” Bennett says, adding that by show’s end, the native insects realize they are all more alike than different.
“Ovo” is a story about inclusion, Bennett says.
One of the highlights of this production is the stunning trapeze-style flying act, Russian cradle. It lasts about 7 minutes and stars a group of scarabs played by four men and six women. The scarabs, who include Olympic gymnast Nansy Damianova, soar high above the stage, from both edges to the middle, caught by catchers on platforms 6 meters from each other.
Damianova was born in France and raised in Canada, home of Cirque du Soleil. At age 9, she was enrolled by her parents in a gymnastics club. Damianova went on to compete internationally. In 2006, she won a bronze medal at the Pan-American Games in asymmetric bars. She also competed at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing, and won three silver medals at the 2009 Gymnix World Cup — in asymmetric bars, floor exercise and vaulting.
All this experience helped her land a spot in “Ovo” in 2015 as a flyer artist in the Russian cradle act. Joining Cirque du Soleil was the fulfillment of a lifelong dream, Damianova says.
“Cirque is just something that is really unusual,” Damianova, 26, says. “It’s things you don’t really see: The difficulty of what is performed by all of the artists, the music is always live.”
This, along with the dialogue — the cast speaks in jibberish — is precisely what makes “Ovo” so alluring, Damianova says.
Although the story is told without a specific language, the themes in “Ovo” are easily understood, Bennett says. “It appeals to people from 3 to 103,” he says. “The message is universal.”
Cirque du Soleil: ‘Ovo’
WHEN | WHERE Aug. 30-Sept. 3 at NYCB Live’s Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale
INFO 516-231-4848, nycblive.com
ADMISSION $25-$110 ($15 parking)