I went to BlogWorld & New Media Expo 2010 a couple of weeks ago, and am still recovering. It was fantastic on so many levels. I met lots of interesting people, learned all kinds of good stuff, and walked the equivalent of a trip to the moon and back, carrying a laptop and all the assorted swag and junk that accumulated daily like barnacles on a battleship. I learned a lot about what to do differently at my next conference. Like fly Southwest instead of United, carry a notebook instead of a laptop, and go to the exhibit hall on the first day instead of the last. Water under the battleship, as they say.
Before heading to BlogWorld, Cirque du Soleil offered me a pair of tickets to the show of my choosing. I picked Mystère on Saturday night. Since I didn’t know anyone else who would be attending, this gave me the opportunity to make a new friend, or at the very least, the perfect bribe to get someone to pretend to be my friend for a couple of hours.
We went to the Shriner Circus every year when I was a kid. It always included a variety of clown acts, some aerialists, peanuts, popcorn, and a whole lot of animal stink under the Big Top. The entire night was magic.
Cirque du Soleil is nothing like the Shriner Circus. For one thing, there were no actual animals. And another, comfortable seats. And the popcorn costs 8 bucks. And, unlike Shriner’s, the clowns didn’t make anyone cry. But the magic is there, in that theater, in leaps and bounds.
How do I describe what I saw? Amazing. Inspiring. Mesmerizing. Captivating. Stunning. Hilarious. Spellbinding. Actually, all those words are inadequate to describe a night’s entertainment that left me (almost) speechless.
My favorite parts:
Taiko starts the circus like the Big Bang. It felt like my heart was part of the show as my entire body rocked to the beat of the drums. It was primal, and everywhere. I lost myself in the rhythm, and my whole being ate it up, feeling it soak into every pore, and run through every vein.
Hand to Hand: Two brothers, in an awesome show of grace and strength, moved in fluid motion from one incredible pose to another. It is hard to describe the extreme control and power they exhibited. I wanted to be them. I wanted to have them. The women in their lives are very, very lucky.
High Bar: Aerialists leapt from bar to bar, 40 feet in the air, without missing a single flip, roll, or catch. I, in complete contrast, have a permanent bruise on my hip because, after 7 years in this house, I still can’t walk through the kitchen without running into the table, or corner of the counter. These people would fly, completely trusting that someone would catch them, 30 feet later. And the catcher always did. It was flawless, and took my breath away.
If I were 6 years old, this is the circus I would run away to. The entire performance, from beginning to end, was one being, one organism, floating along a river overflowing its banks with passion, energy and singularity of purpose: to capture my imagination, and my soul.
When the show was over, I felt mentally spent, as if I had performed along with every act. And I left wanting more. This is why they gave me free tickets. Just like a drug dealer handing out samples, they knew I’d get hooked and keep coming back for more.
(P.S.: Thank you to @freshatforty for going with me. You made the evening more enjoyable by allowing me to share the circus with a new friend.)