Crystal

A breakthrough ice experience

Cirque du Soleil Crystal is more than just an ice show. Cirque du Soleil’s CRYSTAL, explores the artistic limits of ice for the first time in the company’s history. This unique production pushes boundaries of performance by combining stunning skating and acrobatic feats that defy the imagination.

Watch as world-class ice skaters and acrobats take their new frozen playground by storm with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with daring acrobatics. A new kind of performance as Cirque du Soleil meets the ice.

Follow Crystal, the show’s lead character, in her journey towards empowerment. Enter a dreamlike worked fueled by her imagination, where boundless creativity transforms the everyday into something extraordinary.

Crystal invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to a colorful life with astounding visual projections and an original score that seamlessly blends popular music with the signature sound of Cirque du Soleil.

Touring in United States and Canada More info

Acts

Tempête

After falling through the ice, Crystal is swept into a swirling vortex of wind and snow as her imagination wanders in free-fall. – Acrobatics and skating collide in this high-energy number where banquine, handt-to-hand and tumbling are interwoven with jumps, flips, spins and figure skating.

A day in the life

Crystal is caught in a warped, exaggerated version of her life where she feels out of sync – at home, at school, on the playground, on the street, and in the city. – This large-scale choreographic storytelling number blends acrobatic language with various skating forms.

Reflection

After chasing away her flashbacks, Crystal decides to take control of her environment when she catches sight of her Reflection again. Ultimately, her alter ego spreads darkness all around – blackness that spills from the ink of Crystal’s pen. She is about to discover her voice through the power of her words. – Crystal sees her Reflection skating upside down. She then joins her Reflection on the ice for a poetic skating duo.

Juggling

In a joyful, celebratory scene driven by lively klezmer-infused music, Crystal explores her newfound talent as she gives shape to the impulses of her soul, willing characters into existence with the mere stroke of her pen. – In this duo juggling act, two jugglers display an incredible set of skills while on skates. They are joined by groups of acrobats and skaters performing intricate choreography.

Home swing

Crystal takes pleasure in transforming the different environments in her life through the power of her imagination. While her family sits catatonic in front of the TV, she swings back and forth on her backyard swing set and soars above the landscapes of her everyday life. – As Crystal reinvents her home environment, she flies up on a trapeze executing flips, spins and reverse skills while wearing ice skates – a first in a Cirque du Soleil show. She is joined by her Reflection who performs a dynamic skating solo.

School playground / Hockey

Crystal revisits her neighborhood playground, which she transforms at will as she learns to flex her new powers. – Children frolic on a frozen playground while a hockey game on the pond turns into a high octane romp on ramps where extreme skaters do crazy flips, twists and jumps at full speed, turning the ice into a giant pinball machine.

Big city

Trapped in the underwater world of her imagination, Crystal travels from her village to the big city. – Caught in a life-size maze of transparent panels on the ice, Crystal sees her Reflection again. She skates through the constantly shifting maze in an attempt to catch up with her elusive alter ego while a group of skaters crisscross the ice performing synchro skating choreography.

Pendular poles

Crystal is jostled around in a world of her own creation inspired by the frenzy of the city. – This swinging poles act, a first at Cirque du Soleil, combines synchro pole work, pole-to-pole jumps, and impressive Russian-swing-style dismounts.

Tap dance

Four of the Businessperson characters try to one-up each other in a friendly competition. – Wearing mics on their skates, four artists exhibit their technical prowess by showcasing their unique talents leading up to a crowd pleasing tap dance number.

At the office

Desks in cubicles inside a labyrinth. Using the typewriter as her instrument of choice, Crystal continues to explore the power of her imagination by turning a sterile environment into something beautiful. – Inside an oppressive office environment where typewriters rule, the cast performs group choreography that leads to a jaw-dropping chair balancing act.

Courtship

Crystal pictures herself in a romantic setting in a park where couples swirl and waltz together on skates. – Three couples perform an enchanting ice dancing number as Crystal searches for her own partner amongst the group.

Ballroom

Crystal transforms the park into an elegant ballroom as her suitor appears from above and whisks her off on straps. – The couple performs a spellbinding aerial straps/skating pas de deux that blurs the boundaries between ice and sky.

Return of the Reflection

Crystal’s Reflection brings her back to reality and makes her realize that real life is above the surface and not in this make-believe world. – As Crystal’s reflection multiplies, four female skaters perform a dramatic group skating number amidst stunning interactive video effects.

Reflection's clump

Crystal struggles to ascend back up to the light and life above the pond while the Shadow characters help and hinder her progress, providing a final challenge before she’s ready to return. – In a breathtaking group number that melds hand-to-hand techniques on ice with duo trapeze, a group of porters propel Crystal onto the trapeze where another porter flings her back down to be caught again in a flurry of banquine and hand-to-hand moves.

Breakthrough

After Crystal gets the nod from her Reflection and finally breaks the ice and resurfaces, she is greeted by the community and her family. – The finale is an exhilarating mix of synchro skating that features the entire cast as they create a huge pinwheel in a nod to classic ice shows.

Characters

Crystal

Crystal is an eccentric young woman with a charming quirkiness and a restless imagination. Feeling misunderstood in her everyday life, she ultimately finds her footing and turns her quirks into a creative force, radically changing her own narrative through her writing.

Crystal's reflection

This character is Crystal’s shadow self – a dark yet helpful side of her personality that enables her to access her strengths and creativity. The shadow Crystal carries inside her – which usually appears as a separate, distinct entity in the underwater world – is more mischievous and headstrong than she is, encouraging her to take control of her life.

The Shadows

The Shadows represent the forces within her subconscious mind that pull all the strings of her life, either helping her along or hindering her progress.

Crystal’s family

Crystal’s mother, father and brother are her warped version of a suburban family: impassive, stoical individuals mesmerized by the television. The school kids and the businessmen who appear in Crystal’s subconscious world all seem passionless and robotic to her.

Comic character

The Clown stalks Crystal’s subconscious world. He is Crystal’s imaginary friend, motivating her whenever she needs a friendly push.

Costumes

Blending with the set design of Crystal, the overall look of the costumes is one of frivolity laced with surrealism in a fantastical world of ice.

Crystal and her Reflection – With her flamboyant red hair, Crystal is clad in a vintage plaid skirt in blue, a light turquoise cardigan-style shirt and a red scarf that echoes her quirky creativity and unpretentious nature. Her Reflection wears a darker version of the same outfit, but with shiny wave patterns evoking the underwater world. Her costume is the mirror image of Crystal’s where everything is reversed.

The Shadows – The Shadows’ costumes transition from black to white and suggest washed out ink spots and crystal patterns.

Crystal’s family – Spectators see Crystal’s family through her eyes in a warped version of reality. Her mother, father and brother wear whimsical, art-deco-inspired costumes with a sense of suburban nostalgia. Coral pink, mint greens and banana yellows are the chosen colors. Added to the front of their costumes is a simple appliqué representing a full-size, childlike drawing of each of them as seen through Crystal’s eyes.

Home swing – Crystal is seeing her world from above. In this scene, some of the character’s wear clouds or houses on their heads to represent Crystal’s surreal inner world.

Business at the office – In a scene that evokes the rigidity of everyday life at the office business wear a very clean cut navy blue business suit while the Businesswomen’s costumes features an intricate pattern made of standard typewriter letters. At one point, there is a typewriter shape on the chest of each business women.

Big city flats Crystal extravaganza – Angular crystal and origami effects are used throughout the costumes as a unifying component. 3D paper effects were a prism pattern creating volume on the sleeves during the Big City and Poles acts.

Taming the ice - The costumes were designed to withstand the rigours of ice, and keep the artist safe. Catchers wear special padding on their shoulders as well as gloves made of Kevlar equipped with polymer cuffs that absorb shock and protect their forearms from the razor-sharp skate blades.

Some artists slide on the ice. The materials used are water-resistant, non-absorbent, and preserve the gliding properties of the costume.

Some of the acts in the show involve high level floor acrobatics such as banquine and hand to hand that require stability on the ice. The acrobatic shoes have been developed incorporating a combination of small metal spikes and crampons into the soles of the shoes to enable them to walk, slide, run, and so many other things that are normally not possible on ice. Because of this they can keep their stability.

Quick change costumes – All artists (Acrobats and Skaters) wear three to four different costume outfits every performance which implies quick changes between each scene. The costumes are equipped with full length zips that run from ankle to ankle along the inside seam to allow the skaters to change without removing their skates.

We have also used some magnets to enable quick changes between scenes.

The Skates

  • All types of skates are used in the show including figure skates, ice dance, and hockey skates. Those used by figure skaters have toe picks for control and flatter blades while hockey skate blades are curved for maneuverability and speed.
  • To achieve the look of many pairs of skates throughout the show, we created covers that zips on and off the skates and we have painted the covers so they have the same look as the shoes.

Gloves and crampons

The gloves have a piece of Velcro across the palm of the hand; we attached a plastic plate that has crampons so that people can put their hands on the ice and breakdance.

Costume creation at Cirque du Soleil

  • Costumes and their props needed for the various shows are hand-created in Montreal, in the production workshops of the International Headquarters. The Cirque du Soleil workshop is the only one of its kind in North America.
  • Approximately 300 artisans of every description (including master shoemakers, milliners, textile experts, sewers, lace makers, carpenters, etc.) are employed full-time making the Cirque du Soleil props and costumes.
  • 16,000 or so items (hats, shoes, dresses, bodysuits, etc.) are created for Cirque du Soleil’s shows every year.
  • It takes close to 50 kilometers of fabric just to make the shows’ costumes.
  • 80% of the fabric required for the costume creation is originally white, before being dyed in the Cirque du Soleil workshop by the textile design team.
  • Shoes are hand- and custom-made for all artists by the artisans of the Shoe Workshop. Approximately 1,200 pairs of shoes are produced by the workshop every year.

Set design

A living scrapbook – In a décor that can be described as “vintage poetic,” the Crystal stage evokes a town square next to a frozen pond. Upstage is a huge quartz wall that contains all the familiar places in Crystal’s life in which she experiences meaningful moments through a series of flashbacks.

Effects of scale and perspective – On top of the wall is a miniature train that travels to the various places in the story through a series of temporal shifts. Inside the wall, effects of scale reinforce the idea that we are in a world of memories and flashbacks.

A frozen playground – On the ice, the show’s versatile stage changes from a schoolyard to a playground to a giant pinball machine to an office tower in a big city, in large part due to the use of video projections and props.

Crystal’s pen is a fountain of imagination – The world of Crystal spills from its main character’s pen. Cut-outs, origami, streams of paper, and pop-ups of all sorts are some of the features that make up the show’s visual aesthetics as Crystal navigates through her imaginary world of skewed perspectives.

Music

The music of Crystal is cinematic in scope while supporting the narrative and pulsing to the rhythm of the action on, “below”, and above the ice. With its sweeping, atmospheric and romantic soundscapes, the score moves from grand orchestral sounds to klezmer-style chamber music to melodic folk and rock-tinged beats.

Stirring emotions through music – Cover versions of well-known pop songs specifically recorded for the show were added to Cirque du Soleil’s signature-style music – a first for Cirque du Soleil. These riveting songs were added to stir the emotions of spectators and enhance key moments in the narrative. The interpreters were chosen not only for their ability to capture the feeling of the original songs, but also to heighten the emotional charge of the scenes they accompany, thus adding the “Cirque du Soleil touch” to the songs themselves.

Circus and ice

MELDING CIRCUS ARTS AND ICE SPORTS

Blurring the boundaries – In Crystal, Cirque du Soleil explores the very essence of skating, asking how they can bring their signature style of acrobatics into yet unchartered territory – a sheet of ice – and blur the boundaries between gliding sports and circus arts.

In Crystal, gymnasts and skaters performs acrobatics on the ice and in the air, melding both worlds together. Disciplines such as swinging trapeze, aerial straps, and hand to hand are fused together with disciplines such as synchro, freestyle, figure, and extreme skating on ramps, with a dash of all-out speed skating. Figure skaters learn to be pushers on Chinese poles, while circus artists learn to skate, and extreme skaters learn figure skating moves.

Storyline and theme

Crystal is a misfit with her head in the clouds, a dreamer looking for something more in her life. One day, feeling misunderstood and out of sync with the world, she ventures out on a frozen pond and falls through the ice. In this underwater world of her own imagination, she has a vision: she sees a reflection of herself – her alter ego – that guides her, showing her a distorted version of her life. Her Reflection tries to wake her up to her own genius and creativity. Through her writing, Crystal releases the potential of her hidden talent and transforms the world around her with stroke of her pen. Having summoned the strength to face reality, Crystal ultimately breaks through the ice, stronger than ever.

The show Crystal is about looking at things from fresh angles, peeking through the veneer of everyday life, reframing one’s daily reality to see what one might have missed. Sometimes the only way to appreciate things is to look at them sideways. Discovering one’s individuality and uniqueness requires venturing out on thin ice.

Creators

Executive Producer - CRYSTAL
Executive Director, Creation - CRYSTAL
Creative Director - CRYSTAL
Acrobatic Performance Designer
Show Director - CRYSTAL
Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer
Set Designer , Varekai, Zumanity, KOOZA - Set and Props Designer , KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities
Projection Designer Luzia
Music Composer - CRYSTAL
Lighting Designer
Props Designer
Costume Designer
Make-up Designer - CRYSTAL
Choreographer - CRYSTAL
Skating Performances Senior Designer - CRYSTAL
Skating Performances Designer - CRYSTAL
Synchronized Skating Designer - CRYSTAL
Performance Designer - CRYSTAL
Sound Designer - CRYSTAL
Dramaturg, Text - CRYSTAL