Cirque Musica Holiday enchanted the Floyd L. Maines Veterans Memorial Arena on Thursday, Dec. 6 with its “Wonderland” performance. Supported by the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, the Cirque Musica cast performed daring and thrilling stunts to the rhythm of classic holiday-themed songs. The orchestra was conducted by its newest music director, Daniel Hege.
Cirque Musica, produced by TCG Entertainment, is an international show that tours showing four different variations of its performance. Alongside its “Holiday: Wonderland” show, the ensemble also showcases the Cirque Musica Symphonic, “Heroes & Villains” and “Crescendo.” The group features aerialists, hoopers, contortionists, unicyclists, dancers and other circus performers. Thursday night’s show blended together the performances of both the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra and the Cirque Musica group, which put on a broad range of acrobatic acts.
Before the show began, country singers Sarah Darling and Tyler Flowers opened with acoustic performances of classics such as “Santa Baby,” “The Christmas Song” and “Silent Night.”
The show quickly transitioned into the opening of a narrated story that would continue throughout the performance alongside the stunts of the Cirque Musica cast.
The show’s story centered around a young girl named Caroline, a character who also doubled as a vocal performer on several live performances of songs. Although this plot came to the forefront at times with a voiceover, it mainly served as an aide to the stunts of the Cirque Musica performers.
The music performed was an array of songs, mostly with string family instruments at the forefront. One performer would occasionally play the violin in unorthodox ways, such as when she was raised by a harness and played the violin in midair.
Brittany Hall, executive director of the Binghamton Philharmonic Orchestra, said she enjoyed the experience of collaborating with the performers of Cirque Musica.
“The show has been in production for a few weeks now, and we work with the production company to seamlessly bring those together in one day,” Hall said. “That’s what is so exciting about what we do. The show arrived today in Binghamton, and the orchestra got onstage this afternoon and rehearsed with the performers [to] put on a show the same night.”
The performers often delivered a show as pairs, with diverse and interesting uses of harnesses, ropes and other apparatuses to create a performance. One duo impressed with high-speed acrobatics on roller skates, then amped up the intensity with props that allowed them to do stunts that would be impossible otherwise.
Each act continuously increased in difficulty: One performer performed tricks on a unicycle, only to precariously travel across the stage on a taller unicycle, then finish by riding a unicycle tall enough that he needed a ladder to mount it.
Performers also doubled as assistants during the show, exemplifying the ensemble nature of the company. While their fellow acrobats would be in a performance, others would hold ladders steady or prepare harnesses and ropes. Their twofold role is unconventional and avoids the awkward introduction of assistants out of costume.
The festive ambiance of the show appealed to families, which was timely at this time of year, as the holidays encourage people of all ages to come together and celebrate the season.
“We’re always looking for the next new thing that’s coming out for orchestras, and we try to diversify our programming and find everything for everyone,” Hall said. “Tonight was the family concert — it was so appropriate to bring your children or your grandkids, and it was great for the family.”