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Yilan, Taiwan
I'm a Social Studies teacher and single mom from Colorado and have lived here for 9 years. Taiwan is an excellent base for us explore Asia, while living in relative (gun free) safety, while benefiting from a cheap and efficient national health care system. The people are amazing too. I have friendships that are 14 years old and I'm always making new ones.

Monday, September 10, 2012

The Circus Comes to Town: Saltimbanco

“Time is a circus, always packing up and moving away.” - Ben Hecht (playwright, writer)

Recently in KL, the friend we stayed with had a Cirque du Soleil DVD and Z and I watched it, she was
totally mesmerized. I decided then and there the next time they came to Taiwan I would take her. As Grace would have it the next week we saw an ad on TV that they were coming to Kaohsiung and Taipei and that was that. Tickets were going quick as we waited for friends to decided if they would go or not. After a week it was mutually decided to just buy them as all the cheap tickets were gone. We paid 2200 or 2400 NT for our tickets.

"Saltimbanco" means "street acrobat" or "entertainer' in Spanish, Portuguese and Italian. It's also the title of the oldest major touring show of the bewitching (animal cruelty free) circus called "Cirque du Soleil" and has been running since 1992.

We by chance met some friends in Tainan train station who had a different way of getting to the Kaohsiung Arena MRT, so we all went down together. Z and I walked around the corner to a 7-11 and bought some snacks. We had made a mistake buying our ticket's so we weren't sitting next to each other but behind each other.The competent staff quickly remedied the situation and we were give better seats  together.  The row behind us was a group of foreign (western) women from Tainan --no not a very large group haha, but some  of whom knew, so between our chatter and comments we were a tiny riot of laughs and jokes. I'm sure the circus appreciated  our section's festive applause and praise, as the crowd seemed very shy until the end.

The clown/mime dressed as a kid, made sound effects with this mouth and was generously hilarious, he interacted with the  audience between acts. His last interaction he went around looking for the right person, and boy did he find him! This large Taiwanese man was his new comrade in arms and he was such a good sport and funny himself, it really was an entertaining dynamic duo.

The band, with a pretty dazzling jazz sax and excellent bass

You can watch the full show here.

My favorite was the ending performance of the first part, the boleadoras. They were this amazing couple doing flamenco like footwork and twirling these hard tops that would bang the floor until they were creating these synchopations  of percussion like an intense drum circle between two people--with the dancing. There were some point where I felt as if in a trance and I felt like they were in some trance of their own. Drums and dancing has that effect on me.

The boleadoras

I recently just finished Charlotte Bronte's Villette. In Chapter 38 the heroine Lucy is drugged with opium  and has this surreal vision of a midnight street carnival which of course reminded me of Saltimbanco.

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