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Students and community members gather to celebrate science for Earth Day -

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In your Cirque Dreams

Picture this: contortionists dressed in casual street clothes and moving to a hip-hop beat; acrobats painted as traffic signs; a soundtrack of jazz, pop and rock. An evolutionary departure from the traditional three-ring circus, “Cirque Dreams Illumination” is a truly imaginative interpretation of the phrase “urban fantasy.” The plot of the story told in “Cirque Dreams Illumination” examines everyday objects and occurrences – crosswalks, skyscrapers, flying in an airplane – in the context of a magical city with equally supernatural inhabitants. Audiences will be taken into the dream world of these mystical circus creatures as they twist, flip, jump, fly, dance and sing their way through a performance of fantastical proportions and seek to artistically manipulate the concept of “normal.”

“Cirque Dreams Illumination” is the brainchild of Neil Goldberg, a native New Yorker who moved to South Florida in 1982 with experience in both theater arts and business.  Before starting Cirque Productions, the parent company to “Cirque Dreams Illumination,” Goldberg created a myriad of other entertainment companies, including The Zanadu Dance Company and Creative Cloth Designs. Goldberg has also collaborated with several television stations, including NBC, ABC and CBS, as well as organizations like the Walt Disney Company, to produce creative entertainment productions; he has also been responsible for two Super Bowl productions and two Miss Universe Pageants. Goldberg is renowned for his talents, and lauded by the L.A. Times as “one of today’s leading impresarios and circus mavens.”

Cirque Productions itself was founded in 1993, and was the first American company to create European-style theatrical cirque shows, according Cirque Production’s website. In the past seventeen years Cirque Productions has developed and performed eleven original shows besides “Cirque Dreams Illumination,” including “Imaginique” for Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., “Christmas Dreams,” a holiday musical stage celebration, two off-Broadway musicals entitled “A Day In Life of an Artist” and “Breakthrough,” as well as the new “Cirque Dreams Jungle Fantasy,” which is also currently on tour in the U.S.

Cirque Productions also specializes in designing, producing and directing world-class events. Some of these include “Symphony and Cirque,” which performed with the Pittsburgh and Baltimore Symphonies; a performance for the 25th Anniversary of the Kennedy Center with Marvin Hamlisch and the National Symphony; and the 25th anniversary event for the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts, accompanied by Roy Hargrove and the New World Symphony and performers Quincy Jones, Placido Domingo, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Vanessa Williams.

Cirque Productions hires talent from around the globe to rehearse and train at Dream Studios, the company’s headquarters. Cirque Productions’ performers hail from such diverse places as The Acrobatic Training Center in Beijing, China, the Mongolian School of Contortion, The Moscow Circus, the Sports Acrobatic Association of Poland and various locations across the US. This Sunday, for a one-time performance at the Mullins Center at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, this acclaimed troupe of international performers is sure to take audiences on a phenomenal journey away from the cold of winter into the warmth, surprise, happiness and wonder of the mystical, urban fantasy of “Cirque Dreams Illumination.”

Lindsay Orlov can be reached at lorlov@student.umass.edu.

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