A Preview of Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai

A scene from VAREKAI.

A scene from ‘Varekai.’

Here’s my confession: I finally broke my Cirque du Soleil virginity.

Yes, it is true: I had never seen any of the high-flying trapeze shows before my recent trip to Boardwalk Hall in Atlantic City to see Varekai, one of the franchise’s arena shows, before it has an engagement at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center in September. (Side note: Varekai translates to “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies). I’ve never seen anything so strange, so sexy, so sensual, so bizarre; there were times my hands went numb from the amazing feats performed by the 50 artists that comprise the production.

Yet, at the same time, I kept turning to my friend who was seated next to me, whispering, “What the hell is going on? This is insane!”

Insane, indeed: The show has over 600 costumes, 300 trees, a stage with five traps, two turntables, an elevating platform, and a catwalk. There’s a live band playing music that ranges from chill sounds you’d expect to hear at a martini bar to Georgian dance songs.

And then there’s the acrobats, the men and women who literally take their lives in their hands to soar high above the audience, sometimes hanging on to a swinging bar with nothing but their chins. The acts are irreverent, humorous, and sexy at the same time, and range from the homoerotic (two barely-clad men holding on to each other’s arms while flying hundreds of feet above the stage) to the utterly insane closing sequence where red-clad gymnasts fly from moving seesaws to land on giant white tarps.

For a visual, check out the video above and the gallery of photos from the production below. The show is coming to the Wells Fargo Center, starting September 10th and running through the 14th. You can book your tickets here.