Tag Archive: aria


A big, glowing silhouette of Elvis Presley gives audience members a taste of the show before they enter the theater.

Elvis Presley is being commemorated 10 shows a week in the most recent resident Cirque show in Las Vegas. “Viva ELVIS” is a glittering, multimedia-encrusted production incorporating dancers, vocalists and acrobats in a tribute to the life and music of the hip-swinging king of rock ‘n’ roll.

Similar to Cirque’s “The Beatles LOVE” at The Mirage, “Viva ELVIS” is one of the more dance-y shows on the Strip. Coupled with some impressive and innovative acrobatic swag, the show makes a strong visual impression (although Cirque’s “where do I look??” phenomenon isn’t entirely sidestepped.) The dancing itself includes a good measure of character, which put the dancers into the inner circle of the story instead of relegating them to the chilly regions of eye-candy.

“Viva ELVIS” began with a quick one-two punch from dancers and acrobats in “Blue Suede Shoes” and “Don’t Be Cruel,” which comprised an energetic opener that gave the audience a friendly shake before the real story kicked in. Although the massive shoe, appropriately blue and suede, seemed a bit kitschy, the acro feats centered on it were attention-grabbing and the synchronization from the dancers was commendable.

“One Night with You,” an aerial pas de deux performed on a suspended metal-framed guitar against a background of stars, was a beautiful and sincere change of pace.

This was one of the outstanding strengths of the show itself: myriad emotions were fitted alongside one another, creating a comprehensive mosaic of Presley’s life. “Are You Lonesome Tonight,” another aerial duet, followed in a similar vein.

The enormous shoe at the top of “Viva ELVIS” wasn’t the only novelty. “Got a Lot of Livin’ To Do” employed seven trampolines in a delightful, superhero-themed number that underscored the importance of dreams. “Saved” was an exuberant piece that made good use of umbrellas and “Bossa Nova Baby” ushered in chill-inducing hand-balancing.

Cirque made it clear that multimedia is a huge priority; film clips interspersed the show and were integrated quite well. The transitions between numbers were fantastic and the pacing of the show was seamless.

“Love Me Tender” was a feather-soft rendition that showcased lovely vocals and “Can’t Help Falling In Love” featured sugar-coated pointework and partnering. Some truly exceptional band members made their presence known in “Burning Love” and cathartic contemporary choreography was well-represented in “Suspicious Minds.” “It’s Now or Never” was a tip-of-the-hat to the sexy side of Presley’s music, with some novelty spots and a smoldering pole trio.

A couple numbers stood out as high points in “Viva ELVIS.” “Jailhouse Rock” was an absolute hit with a captivating set, strong dancing, amazing acrobatics and excellent production elements. “Return to Sender” was equal parts precision and character work and high-flying acrobats were the cherries on top.

A cerceaux duet in a pair of giant wedding rings to “Love Me/Don’t” was a sweet and simple break for overstimulated eyeballs. “King Creole” and “Viva Las Vegas” were both big and raucous and a smart Western number even employed a flaming lasso.

Overall, “Viva ELVIS” was a nice balance of tried-and-true Cirque fare and creative contrivances. The strong dance element gets two vertical thumbs and several factors, like having a character narrating the show as Presley’s manager, made this a more coherent story than other Cirque endeavors. The tracks themselves are tastefully remixed and reproduced and the musicians are top-notch. Crowned by the shiny production elements and sheer out-of-the-box-ness, “Viva ELVIS” is a solid addition to fabulous Las Vegas.

If you didn’t tune into the Jerry Lewis MDA Telethon, fear not. The footage of “Viva ELVIS” performing “Blue Suede Shoes” is available here for your viewing convenience.

Hit up the “Viva ELVIS” page on Facebook to leave comments for them. Use your nifty scroll bar to leave comments for me.

And as the King said so timelessly . . .

Thank you very much.

Oh, the wonders of Twitter.

Cirque, utilizing the reply options on the popular micro-blogging site, sponsored a Twitter chat with “Viva Elvis” artist Will Roberts.

Followers tweeted back and forth with each other and Roberts, who answered questions and provided pictures and inside info.

For those of you fluent in Tweet, take a look at Cirque’s Twitter page to follow the conversation. (Non-Tweet-speaker are also welcome, although the lingo might take some getting used to.)

Keep an eye on that Twitter feed, Cirque enthusiasts. Rumor has it they’re planning more Tweet chats soon.

The flash mob, that is. For those not in the know, it’s not as inappropriate as it sounds.

Flash mobs appear to be spontaneous happenings, stealthily organized underground. Actions can range from a large group abruptly crowding a retail store to an overwhelming number of people each dropping a pencil, at the same time, in a train station.

Resisting the urge to go subliminal, the original flash mobs avoid overtly political statements and are staged purely for the artistic appeal or fun factor.

The beauty of flash mobs comes from the location. In the beginning, city parks and shopping malls played host. As the trend has taken hold and evolved, venues have also changed.

Take a step back for a second. Remember the Aflac duck, mascot for the insurance company, who always seems to know what’s coming? Despite the never-ending forethought on the part of the feathered icon, a convention put on by the company was mobbed on Aug. 6.

There was nothing that duck could do about it.

The mob, organized and choreographed by somewhat-aficionado Kris Mohfanz, was of the progressive variety. Flyers were distributed to dance studios in the city and the ever-ready Craigslist served as a recruitment tool as well.

Mohfanz gettin' down with the mob

The turn-out might have been small according to mob standards, but the enthusiasm level was respectable. Mohfanz also seemed to have the routine down pat, having choreographed similar mobs at Planet Hollywood in Nov. 2009 and July 2010.

Mohfanz’s signature song, appropriate to location, is “Phamous” by MIDI Mafia (“When you up in Vegas/Can’t nobody blame us for acting phamous….”).

Fist-pump like you mean it!

Enough with logistics. The point: flash mobs, since inception, have proven that they are intrinsically exciting. Also, they are moving into a more organized, more public and more purposeful sphere.

Mohfanz is greatly facilitating this. Think of it as mob syndication: utilizing much of the same choreography, the skeleton of a flash mob becomes mobile  with only minimal assembly required. Add participants accrued from ads on Craigslist and posted flyers and the production is good to go.

The Aflac convention was perfectly receptive to the event, with conventioneers clapping along and droppin’ low with the dancers. However, it’s not the individual event that should be studied. It’s the trend as a whole. Keep an eye on this one. It’s going to get bigger with time.

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