Review of Cirque Du Soleil’s “Totem”

“You’ve seen one you’ve seen them all,” is a thought that sometimes crosses my mind when I see advertisements for a new Cirque Du Soleil show. But I am wrong, wrong, wrong each and every time!

I lost my breath, gasped, laughed and marveled at the perfect acrobatic synchronization of the acts Cirque’s new show, “Totem,” delivered under rainy skies and the familiar blue and yellow big top in Del Mar last night.  Between the original score, incredible technology used to simulate everything from a rain forest to water skiers, and even a space ship, I was mesmerized from the first thump of the native drums.

“Totem” takes the audience on a clever journey across the evolution of man, but it does so in an intriguing way. Skin-tight unitards made to resemble tattooed bodies from head to toe, and luxurious sequined costumes wrapped around ultra-fit bodies danced and carried out acrobatic feats usually reserved for Olympic-level competition; they contort their bodies wrapped in exquisite costumes I hadn’t seen in previous Cirque Du Soleil shows.

“Totem” incorporates native-American music interwoven with modern techno sounds and rich vocals. The small, intimate stage grows to twice, and three times its original size with the use of an unbelievable tilted floor which serves as a screen for the interchangeable projection backgrounds of each number.

The combination of old-world circus type acts, and the high level of talent the multi-cultural crew displays in the death-defying high wire acts they perform without a net, is something that made me wonder who was left to compete at the Olympics since the rigors of these performances seems to rival those of world-class athletes!

If you can’t make it to London for the 2012 display of gymnastic prowess at this year’s Olympics, then the closest you might get to witnessing the extreme artistry a body can be trained to do is by taking in the majesty of “Totem.”

“Totem” is playing now through May 27 in San Diego, Ca. at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. To purchase tickets go to


Disclosure: I was given complimentary tickets to review this performance of “Totem.” The opinions expressed in this post are mine.





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