The final South Florida performance of Cirque Eloize iD was a visual feast. The technical direction and set design of the show are flawless. As for the story, I’m not sure I followed it. In fact, I’m not sure there is one. The show begins with a love scene that involves some very nice floor based gymnastics and lifts along with an act on a Chinese Pole and some break dance fighting. After that the plot is not really present and seems to be a jumbled mess of incongruent story lines. The only way that I picked up on this being like West Side Story is that it says so in the promo: West Side Story Meets Hip Hop. I definitely got the hip hop vibe. Although it added to the story, they used break dancing for filler every chance they got, sometimes needlessly. I personally think that their “fights” would be much more dynamic if they incorporated more capoeira techniques instead of trying to make break dancing look like fighting.
Story aside it was a beautiful show. The acts included traditional Cirque performances – aerial lyra, strength acts mixed with choreography, balancing acts, juggling, a contortionist, Cyr wheel and aerial silks. Newer performances were incorporated like jump rope, rollerblading, powerskips and BMX stunts (including audience participation). The one act that really seemed to impress the audience was the trampo-wall act, which involved the entire troupe. This act worked seamlessly with the stage decor, which incorporated trap doors, moving platforms, and digital imagery across it’s various surfaces as each performer did tricks and stunts up the many surfaces of the wall. Throughout the show I could pick up that the performers were tired – and rightfully so, they’ve been performing a rigorous schedule over the last month plus here in South Florida.
Coming from more of a backstage and technical background, the set design is what really impressed me. At any given time nearly every face of the stage design had digital imagery on it. This was accomplished through 9 projectors that must have overlapped with seamless edge-blending or overlapping projection and some major keystoning. The effect allowed for scenes to change while keeping the projection from being fully eclipsed by a performer’s body or other set piece. This is quite an accomplishment as the performers were up against the projection surface for much of the show.
Miami was the last leg of the US tour schedule, but if you have a chance to Cirque Eloise iD, I would take it. The visual experience of the technology behind the show along with the cirque acts is worth it. They even encourage audience participation through live lobby and house video along with constantly updated twitter and text feeds projected on stage.
What happens when you trudge up a small hill, climb 105 steps up a spiral staircase, take in the view at 146’ then walk down the 105 steps and the small hill? You get a little tired. But you also get some cool photos and a little history lesson.
Today was the Smithsonian Institution’s Museum Day, where 1000 participating museums nationwide allowed free admission to anyone who downloaded the pass from Smithsonianmag.com. To change things up from our usual experiences in art and design venues we headed north to the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum. The museum showcases exhibits about Florida’s earliest inhabitants, the history of the lighthouse, and the area’s military activities during WWII. It is located in a World War II U.S. Naval housing building that was built as the married men’s quarters of the Directional Finding Station known as “Station J” The station was used to locate German U-boats and also to serve as a navigational beacon for military ships and aircraft during the war. The building is now owned by the Town of Jupiter and operated by the Loxahatchee River Historical Society.
Jupiter Lighthouse, the one with all the steps, was first lit on July 10, 1860. It has remained, with the exception of a few years during the Civil War, a functional lighthouse ever since. The US Coast Guard took over operation of the beacon in 1939, and has never missed a night. As part of the admission to the museum you are given the opportunity to climb the steps, view the light mechanism, and peer out over the Loxahatchee River from 146 feet above the water.
After our trek up the lighthouse and through the museum we decided to check out another rather unknown area of Florida – The Blowing Rocks Preserve. The preserve is a 73-acre barrier island sanctuary that includes walking trails, an open-air butterfly garden, and most impressively a beach lined with Anastasia limestone rock formations. The formations have been eroded over time to form blowholes able to shoot sea spray up to 50 feet in the air. A very impressive sight indeed!
We had a fun day participating in the Smithsonian’s Museum Day and exploring a little on our own. The lighthouse and museum are finishing restoration on a second building, and should have that open in the coming months. I plan on visiting Blowing Rocks more; it was a beautiful beach with excellent photographic imagery.
It’s graduation season at the Art Institutes again, and once again I was not disappointed at the showing in Miami. The graduating class at Miami International University of Art and Design seemed a little smaller this quarter compared to last, but the work was equally as good. Interior design was set up outside the hall and the extra space allowed for a little less congestion throughout portfolio review. Fashion Design, Accessory Design, and Fashion Merchandizing had a good showing with a wide variety of styles represented. Graphic Design showed sound composition and design aesthetics. Juan Lopez from the Graphics Department caught my eye with some interesting 3D work.
Visual Arts had only two graduates this quarter, but both were very strong. Alejandra Cicilia showed her diversity in photography. She had some fantastic photos of construction workers in front of the Fontainebleau on Miami Beach, her fashion photography was well composed, and her nighttime photography has an amazing use of color. The work of Chantal Disler can be an event in itself. She takes watercolor, newsprint, and other mixed media and forms them into beautiful arrangements of harmony. Her branding seems to be set around birds in different forms and flight patterns. Her photography, drawings, and portraits all follow a free will aesthetic.
This quarter’s showing was very good. The Art Institute of Fort Lauderdale had their portfolio review today at the Broward County Convention Center. Unfortunately I was unable to attend both, but wish graduates from both schools the best of luck!