Being one of a few good Canadian exports, I always enjoy attending yet another sensational Canadian offering – Cirque du Soleil.
I was invited to attend the performance of Quidam while it was visiting Singapore, and was amazed by the involved, emotional connections and talk of attendees – many of whom had already seen this particular showing. I’ve seen several from their inception and it still amazes me that I get excited (like a kid in a candy store excited) even when I think of it.
I believe that the Cirque is truly hypnotic, in many ways – and that, in part, adds to their international reputation and business success. Here’s how I see it:
Starting from the blue and yellow striped tent, the circus enraptures as many senses as possible. Lights, music, the book-like feel of the programme, combine to get the juices flowing. That all this is going on even before the ‘formal’ show starts, speckled throughout the tent, starts to get the audience hooked – those who came in a few seconds later than we did might have missed what we just saw – we’re ‘winked’ into being part of the show – just between us… It is an example of perfectly choreographed spontaneity.
Too much for the conscious mind (Ulamantina tukum)
Building on this idea, and understanding that the conscious mind tends to only hold onto about 7-9 bits of information at a time, Cirque offers farway too much for our analytical and rational minds to handle. First, the band and singers that play throughout the show do not speak a formal language – it is Cirque-tongue – so if you were trying to figure out what they are saying, after a while it’s game over for the conscious mind. And there’s always something going on at the periphery – usually a non-sequitor, that might make sense later, once the mind has extra time to process it – or not… There’s a headless man wandering about, something flying overhead, others spinning or popping up… whatever, whoever, wherever. When the conscious mind has to deal with this much, it usually rolls over, puts the covers over its head and the answering machine on and lets the subconscious deal with the uber-sensory wonder of it all. We look up, down, almost under our seats – we are surrounded by it, involved and immersed in it.
Mind-body-emotion connection (Variow le treeb)
The performers are artists with their bodies – wordlessly drawing the audience in to appreciate the spectacle of what the human form can do. There is a link between the way emotions feel and our bodies react, with the expressions that are shared through movement, performers infect viewers with their sentiments, and we share their triumphs. Because, in spite of the cynics of the world, we really do tend to like others to succeed in challenging tasks, so the audience is mentally or energetically placing a safety net below these high flyers (figuratively, if not literally). And as they succeed, because we have supported them, the attachment created allows us to breathe a collective sigh of relief and hunker down to support their next move. We gasp at the feats, laugh at the antics of ‘clowns’ and recall some simpler or happier moments when we were once at play. We’re captivated – body, mind and emotions. You can’t get closer to being hypnotic than that.
Anticipation / Expectation (Wunrediktum)
The Cirque du Soleil uses audio and visual cues to mount excitement during the performance. We anticipate that something neat is going to happen, and aren’t disappointed. This building of expectation starts long before the show, however. I spoke with some Cirque-veterans as well as a first-timer.
The hubbub was contagious – positive accolades, true excitement… this already prepped the subconscious mind of the first-timer to focus on the wonder and delight that others were indicating. Not having seen Quidam before, I was basing my expectations on the performances of their earlier shows – and mentally clapped my hands in anticipatory delight.
Inspirational / Delivery (Lethanipaj)
All the expectation is for naught if it isn’t followed up by performance. Cirque du Soleil chooses only the best, and draws only the better to its troupe. The philosophy is one of competence plus – in a frenetic way, there is always a desire to ‘wow’ every time, to a greater extent, and push the boundaries of human accomplishment (a subconscious, rather than conscious ability). When you are looking for a spectacle, you will get one – and all the opening and connecting with the subconscious mind helps to plant a lasting memory.
Can you Cirque?
How could you bring some of the traits of the Cirque du Soleil into your daily life? How can you interact with others, build relationships, conduct your job or business more hypnotically? Run away with the circus of your mind for a while and see where it may lead you…
PS – And to bring the ideas of celebration, masquerade, light, music, and new growth into our ‘real’ lives, may I wish all of you a month of happiness, and a Happy Halloween, Deepavali, Hari Raya, and Birthdays (to all November ‘kids’). Look at the courses that are coming up over the next weeks to help you improve your own performance.