By Emily Rust
“Amaluna” isn’t your typical Cirque du Soleli show. It’s one dominated by women.
From the first all-female band in Cirque’s history, to casting a high percentage of women (Cirque casts are normally 70 percent male), “Amaluna’s” theme of women carries through onstage and off.
“I feel passionately that women should be presented with strong identities, strong opinions,” artistic director Rachel Lancaster says of “Amaluna” which will be at the Plateau at National Harbor from July 31-Sept. 21.
Loosely based off of Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” Amaluna tells the story of a magical island populated only by women, that is, until a shipwreck washes Romeo to shore. From there, Miranda, the daughter of Queen Prospera, faces challenges throughout her love affair with Romeo.
The show’s theme follows a portrayal of power and strength of women demonstrating that love “isn’t always a simple path,” according to Lancaster.
Audiences will see the classic acrobatics that define Cirque du Soleli shows. But for Amaluna, a new act has been created.
Modeled from women’s uneven bars in gymnastics, this new act coincides with the storyline of a female amazon who is to protect and control the island. Like other Cirque acts, audiences will be captivated by the dangerous yet smooth acrobatics throughout the show.
“Lots of moments look seamless and beautiful and easy but because acrobats are so good, you don’t see how hard it is,” Lancaster says.
Behind the final product lies a lengthy schedule of trial and error. For example, the uneven bars act started about 12 to 18 months ago in Cirque du Soleli’s native Montreal, Canada where performers tested out equipment to give feedback and see how the act can be improved.
Other acts include aerial straps, juggling, Chinese pole and teeterboard.
The two-hour, 15-minute show features electronic music that Lancaster describes as “energetic” and “punchy.” Guitars are prominent with side notes of percussion, cello, vocals and keyboards.
After “Amaluna’s” D.C. residence, it will continue its tour down to Atlanta, Miami and Houston.
The Plateau at Downtown National Harbor
300 Waterfront Street
National Harbor, Maryland
July 31-Sept. 21, times vary