Cirque du Soleil is mesmerizing audiences nightly with its mix of circus arts and street entertainment, this time about contrasts and contradictions in Shanghai.
The popular show "Saltimbanco" ("Street Performer") by the famed Canadian company is underway at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Pudong through Saturday night. It was extended by a week.
"Saltimbanco" sets up a series of seemingly urban contradictions, such as the powerful and the powerless living side by side, which seems a natural topic for a diverse and multicultural city such as Shanghai.
"Saltimbanco" is the Cirque du Soleil's oldest and one of its most popular performances, one that has gone through many variations over the years due to changing times, changing technologies and changing performers, says artistic director Neelanthi Vadivel.
Adapting to the vast Mercedes-Benz Arena and huge stage required changes in the show, such as replacing a high-wire act with an acrobatic bicycle act.
The core of "Saltimbanco" is unchanged.
"We keep reminding ourselves that "Saltimbanco" was inspired by street performers," says Vadivel, "There were no special effects or crazy dressing, just the artists and what they could do. That's what makes the show special and inspires us in many other shows."
Shanghai Daily speaks with three artists in the international cast of 51 musicians and performers.