The ‘Dralion’ roadshow style in San Diego

“Dralion” is one of my favorite Cirque du Soleil shows and I saw it when it came in under the big tent. Currently, “Dralion” is in San Diego this weekend at Valley View Casino Center for seven performances only. There are only four performances left, two today (Saturday, Nov. 17, 2012) and two tomorrow.

If you missed “Dralion” when it was in Ontario or Long Beach, it’s worth seeing. Some of the carnival atmosphere has been lost without the big top and so has the major merchandising. There is a small booth selling “Dralion” items, but none of the high-priced items that I remember from the initial tour.

Parking at the Casino is pricey: $20. But you can park for free if you’re not running late. There are plenty of ways to avoid high-priced food as well. The area has many fast food restaurants as well as some sit-down chains like the Olive Garden or Chili’s. Chili’s parking lot connects with that of the Casino so you might be able to park and eat and then enjoy the show. I’d call and ask.

Many people parked across the street and found free parking.

The word “Dralion” combines dragon and lion so it’s a port manteau. I love lions and I love dragons, but I also forgot to bring my own dragon. An opportunity wasted for the dragon lady. According to the press notes, “fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, “Dralion” (pronounced “Dra-lee-on”) draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show’s name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West.”

I think Africa might have something to say about that. Lions originally were found in Africa and western Europe to India. Wild lions still are found in sub-Saharan Africa and in Asia. They had disappeared from North Africa and Southwest Asia. A remnant of the Asian population remains in the Gir Forest National Forest in India and are endangered. But if we think of lions in terms who they appear in royal European emblems and coat of arms as well as C.S. Lewis’ Aslan, I guess we can let this little problem slide.

Again according to the press notes: “In ‘Dralion,’ the four elements that govern the natural order take on a human form. Thus embodied, each element is represented by its own evocative colour: air is blue; water is green; fire is red; earth is ochre. In the world of ‘Dralion,’ cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved.”

The concept of the elements is western because Asia has five (water, wood, metal, earth, air), but let we’ll let this slide as well. Earth is represented by Gaya the goddess of earth. In her dancer form for “Dralion,” Gaya represents Africa. Oceane (water) is the goddess of water and her dancer is dressed in a green costume of an Indian dancer. Azala is the goddess of air and her dancer is dressed in blue and is more like a European woman with the skirt of her dress supplemented by capri pants. Yao is the guide to the fire demons and has a decidedly Asian look. He’s the only male element.

“Dralion” includes the clowns who open the show which includes aerial hoop, aerial pas de deux, bamboo poles, crossed wheel (or diablo), hand balancing, hoop diving, Chinese yoyo, Dralions, skipping ropes and trampoline. None of these are recommended to be done at home. Even the skipping ropes is spectacular.

My favorite acts were the diablo, the Chinese yoyo, the aerial pas de deux, the aerial hoop and the skipping ropes. The crossed wheel is where a muscular man roles and spins on a contraption made of two-connected thick metal hoops that form a ball which the man can walk through and rolls under his control.

The Chinese yoyo act has an attractive female foursome tossing, catching and trading off yoyos with a slightly hip hop beat.  And while we all know what rope skipping is, I doubt that you’ve ever jumped rope like this.

This scaled down version of “Dralion” is still spectacular. It will surprise you, make you laugh and it always makes me wish I was younger and could run away and join this circus. And the costumes always inspire me to think of designing something beautiful to wear when I dance. Some of the soundtrack is suitable for social dancing such as Argentine tango.

Tickets are available at www.cirquedusoleil.com/dralion, www.ticketmaster.com, or by calling 1-800-745-3000.

After the last show on this Sunday, Nov. 18, 2012, the show moves on to Arizona (Tucson and Phoenix), Kansas (Topeka) and Oklahoma (Oklahoma City).  According to the current tour schedule, the show will then continue on to Africa.

Remaining Show Schedule (November 15-18, 2012):

  • Saturday, November 17 at 3:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.
  • Sunday, November 18 at 1:00 p.m. and 5:00 p.m.

 

Ticket Information:

  • Adults: From $35 to $85
  • Children (12 & under): From $28 to $69
  • Military, Seniors & Students: From $31.50 to $72

About Jana J. Monji

I've written for the Rafu Shimpo, LA Weekly, LA Times, Examiner.com and, more recently, the Pasadena Weekly and RogerEbert.com. I formerly worked for a dot-com more interested in yodeling than its customers.

Posted on November 17, 2012, in Special Events. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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