Cirque du Soleil's <i>Totem</i> Beats the Fab Five in Olympic Competition

That's right. If Cirque du Soliel'shad to compete against the U.S. women's Fab Five in the Olympics, they would win.
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That's right. If Cirque du Soliel's Totem had to compete against the U.S. women's Fab Five in the Olympics, they would win. In fact, if Cirque du Soleil was a country they would beat out all the countries for all the medals in the Olympics... They are THAT good. Totem can compete on tricycles, in dance, gymnastics, roller skates, and flying through the air and landing on a thin rail.

Under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberte and Gilles Ste-Croix, Totem

traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations.

Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species.

Somewhere between science and legend Totem explores the ties that bind Man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential.

Wednesday night was the opening of Totem at the National Harbor in Maryland. It is under their series yellow and blue tents. Opening night is always so special. You can feel the anticipation in the air. There is a VIP tent, free popcorn and soda for the guests in the general area, free hors d'ouerves, and best of all free cupcakes from Sprinkles. They also sold masks, programs, clothing apparel, and alcohol. Yes, I took the requistie picture of me in a Cirque du Soleil mask.

The show is in two parts with a 30-minute intermission. There are seven acts in the first set and seven acts in the second set. To talk about what is my favorite is like asking a mother to name her favorite child... I loved all of it!!

From the exquisite costumes designed by Kym Barrett to the gorgeous and haunting music by Bob and Bill to the choreography by Jeff Hall... the list goes on and on about how amazing this show is. The costumes range from Native Canadian clothing to these glow-in the dark leotards with glowing space helmets. The coolest costumes are the ones in the beginning where the performers look like frogs and salamanders. The make-up by Nathalie J. Simard is out of this world. It must take hours to transform the performers' faces. The make-up is mesmerizing. The music is Native Canadianish to ethereal.

Also gorgeous is the set... especially the visuals that make it look like the ocean with grass behind it.

The show's theme seems to be centered around the Native Canadian, and it was a little hard to follow the story, but it doesn't matter. The absolute talent and death defying stunts sprinkled in with humor makes you forget that. Monkeys, cave men, space-like men, and gymnasts all make an appearance.

Some of the highlights include the chiseled Adonis Pavel Saprykin going up and through a contraption that looks like a time glass. He demonstrated his strength as he stood on his hands and contorted his body.

Another amazing act was the Perches. These guys climb up poles like they are monkeys. One guy balanced a bar on his forehead while a guy climbed up and balanced himself on his head upside down. Then the forehead balance guy walked on these elevated poles, sat down and then got back up. The suspense was killing me.

Luckily in between the incredible displays of strength and agility there were the so called "jesters" of the show. They created the release from all the excitement watching mere mortals defy the laws of gravity. As my speech writing professor Mike Long told me, stories are about tension and release. So it makes the sense Cirque du Soleil intermingles the tension of excitement with their hilarious comedic actors. One cute comedic act was with Pippo Crotti and Mykhaylo Usov in Fast Boat. Their boat breaks down after fighting over the acceleration and they somehow fix it and end up in space.

This show is a must see!! It has something for everyone: from the great music, costumes, athleticism, suspense, humor, to the unique make-up which is a wonderful way to escape from reality.

The show brings together the following team of talented creators, including Robert Lapage as writer and director; Neilson Vignola -- director of creation; Carl Fillion -- set and props designer; Etienne Boucher -- lightning designer; Pedro Pires -- image content designer; Jacques Boucher -- sound designer; Pierre Masse -- rigging and acrobatic equipment designer; Florence Pot -- acrobatic performance designer.

Performances are from August 15 to October 07, 2012 at the Plateau at National Harbor.

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