‘A very, very joyful show’: Cirque du Soleil brings ‘Corteo’ back to SoFlo this summer

Full of dazzling derring-do and enough clowning around to fill up a big-top tent, Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” is coming back to South Florida.

The human circus will perform Thursdays through Sundays, from July 11 to 21, at Sunrise’s Amerant Bank Arena, the same venue the show played back in 2019 (when it was still called BB&T Center).

What has also remained since this Cirque du Soleil production debuted 19 years ago is the array of trapeze artists, hand-balancing performers, contortionists, aerialists, flying bicycle acts, jugglers, roue cyr wheelists, tournik (horizontal bars) troupes, trampoline acrobats and comedy bits.

“The show is pretty much still the way it was created,” says “Corteo” artistic director Olaf Triebel. “There is one new act that has been created specifically for the arena, which is a suspended pole act with a beautiful woman on a pole performing a beautiful aerial act.

“All the other acts that you see in the show are mostly by now performed by different artists, just because the show has been on the road for so long. But the acts are still the same. And we still have a couple of original performers who did the world premiere in Montreal in 2005.”

Roue cyr wheelists in Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo," which plays Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

MajaPrgomet/Cirque du Soleil 2022

Roue cyr wheelists in Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo,” which plays Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

Since its creation, the spectacle has been seen by more than 10 million spectators in 20 countries on four continents, according to producers. Recently, the production was named the “Family, Event or Non-Music Tour of the Year” by the Pollstar Awards.

The Italian word “Corteo” translates to “procession” in English and provides the throughline stringing together all the different acts. The narrative of the show, usually an abstract thing with Cirque du Soleil’s stagings, centers around Mauro the Dreamer Clown imagining a funeral procession highlighting moments in his life with a parade of characters in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by angels.

“(Mauro) is dreaming about his funeral, which sounds sad, but it’s really not sad,” Triebel says. “He gets to meet all his friends that he met in his life and we’re going into his memory, into childhood memories, where we have kids jumping on trampoline beds and flying through the air, and we’re going through just different phases of his life. So it’s a very, very joyful show — told through the story of meeting everybody you’ve met in your life and seeing them one last time.”

Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo" is essentially theater-in-the-round. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

MajaPrgomet/Cirque du Soleil 2022

Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” is essentially theater-in-the-round. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

There’s a poetic moment in the show that never fails to wow audiences, he says, “where we have the human being flying attached by balloons, through the audience. And that’s something that the audience, it just takes them a little bit to really realize that there are no tricks, there is nothing. It’s a human being suspended by helium balloons, flying through the air. And she’s flying above the audience and we have the audience push her and help her to fly.”

Triebel says “Corteo” is the only Cirque du Soleil show where the stage is in the center of the arena and the audience sits on both sides. It’s essentially theater-in-the-round — with the acts arriving onstage via catwalks — and it has certain advantages, he says.

“That means that everybody is really sitting closer to the stage than when it’s just all the way on one side of the arena and you’re sitting all the way in the back. We’re giving the audience the perspective of how it feels for an artist to be onstage looking at the audience while you’re performing,” he adds. “And with having the audience sitting on the other side … they’re seeing reactions of people on the other side, how other people enjoy the show. That’s really something special — to feel how people around you react, but then to see how complete strangers on the other side of the stage react to the same thing that you’re seeing.”

Trampoline beds in Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo." (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

MajaPrgomet/Cirque du Soleil 2022

Trampoline beds in Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo.” (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

IF YOU GO

WHAT: Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo”

WHEN: Thursdays-Sundays from July 11-21

WHERE: Amerant Bank Arena, 1 Panther Parkway, Sunrise

COST:

  • Tickets are $64 to $119, with meet-and-greet tickets going for $151
  • Parking ranges from $23-$57

INFORMATION: 954-835-7469; amerantbankarena.com

Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo" in Sunrise runs from July 11 to 21. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

MajaPrgomet/Cirque du Soleil 2022

Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” in Sunrise runs from July 11 to 21. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

A clown-golfing skit from Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo." (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

MajaPrgomet/Cirque du Soleil 202

A clown-golfing skit from Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo.” (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

Cirque du Soleil's "Corteo" played SoFlo in 2019 and returns for a run this summer at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

MajaPrgomet/Cirque du Soleil 2022

Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” played SoFlo in 2019 and returns for a run this summer at Amerant Bank Arena in Sunrise. (Maja Prgomet / Cirque du Soleil 2022 / Courtesy)

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