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Amaluna Will Make you Want to Run Away and Join the Cirque

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The smell of popcorn and anticipation greet you under the big tent, as parents, punters and press sip wine and chat excitedly before the premiere of Cirque Du Soleil’s AMALUNA in San Francisco.   Amaluna is directed by Tony Award-winner Diane Paulus, and it’s female-driven, nail biting action, and if I were a 10-year-old girl, it might have inspired me to run away and join the circus.

Photo Yannick Déry

Parents beware, if you bring your children to this show, you may leave promising them gymnastics, arialist or ballet lessons.  Also, there is a strong ‘teenagers run off and get busy in a hot tub’ vibe to the show’s story.  More on that later.

The most impressive performances for me, were the female aerialists of this show.  Women flying 40 feet above the stage, spinning 40 miles per hour, with no net, no harness, just a strap of the wrist, powered with technique, expertise and pure nerve.  The arial acrobatics are world class in this show, the gymnastics too.   The term ‘breath-taking’ is probably the most overused of adjectives in reviews these days, but in Amaluna’s case, it was literally the case.   The gasps in the audience were very real.

Photo Markus Moellenberg

In short, the plot of Amaluna is loosely inspired by Shakespeare’s “The Tempest,” it takes place on a mysterious island ruled by goddesses. After her daughter’s coming of age ceremony, honoring femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance, Queen Prospera causes a storm. A group of young, shirtless men wash up on the island, triggering an epic love story between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor.

The Hot Tub

Moonstruck lovers.  Photo Matt Beard

The Acrobats

The Electric Guitar

Photo Matt Beard

The Magic

Photo Matt Beard

There is a lot of electric guitar power ballads throughout the show, by a live all-female band, as the princess and suiter embrace, dive, dance and swing in between fighting to keep from being split apart.   Director Diane Paulus is a Harvard grad, Broadway and Opera directing bad-ass, and after viewing Amaluna, I am convinced she lost her virginity in a hot tube in the late 80’s, with hair metal playing in the background.  Truly inspired.

For you fans of dance, the ballet involved in the show was sensational, the lead ballerina truly gave a performance worthy of a goddess. And lastly, a fun fact to impress your date with; the word Amaluna is a fusion of the words ama, which refers to “mother” in many languages, and luna, which means “moon”.


Photo Martin Girard

Cirque du Soleil will not disappoint you this winter, the circus is back.  The big tent is in the parking lot outside the SF Baseball Park (Oracle), and runs NOVEMBER 7, 2019–JANUARY 12.

Tickets can be found here.


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Alex Mak - Managing Editor

Alex Mak - Managing Editor

I'm the managing editor here at Broke-Ass Stuart. I enjoy covering Bay Area News as well as writing about Arts, Culture & Nightlife.

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