Cirque du Soleil hit the ice for the first time three years ago — and liked it so much it came back for more.
The groundbreaking Montreal-based live spectacle company has strapped the blades on again for "AXEL," another large-scale phantasmagoria of acrobatics, visuals and music that takes up residence this week at Detroit's Little Caesars Arena.
"It's almost a question of 'Why not?'" "AXEL" Artistic Director Fabrice Lemire says by phone about Cirque's second ice production. "The company being 35 years old, you want to explore new ground. 'Crystal' was the first avenue going in that route and (it) being such a success we thought we should explore this universe one more time and see what more the element of ice and skating can bring.
"At the end of the day it's all about opportunities to continue to be creative and challenge ourselves as an institution and stay competitive and ahead of the entertainment industry."
Immersing audiences in the world of Axel, a musician and visual artist seeking the core of his inspiration and vision, "AXEL" is big — 18 skaters, 17 acrobats, a five-piece band and a puppeteer. The meticulously choreographed show has no shortage of jaw-dropping feats and is, according to Lemire, more character-driven and "introverted" than "Crystal," and it employs visual projections more extensively than its predecessor.
"'AXEL' has its own sound, its own colors," Lemire notes. "The driving force of our creative team was to try to compete with the big show, the concert, with the wow factor in the visual element. It's a challenge — but that's what we're all about, challenging ourselves to be fresh and different."
"AXEL" runs Thursday through Sunday, Jan. 2-5, at Little Caesars Arena in Detroit. Tickets are $44 and up. Call 313-471-7000 or visit 313Presents.com.
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