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Admiring The Cirque du Soleil
The human body is a wondrous thing, donít you think? Capable of creating and bringing forth life, healing itself when injured, leaking on schedule each month (ok, maybe that is more of a pain than a wonder), even capable of producing odors one normally would only associate with an exotic cheese shop. Truly, our bodies are remarkable and multifaceted, containing potential many of us will never begin to tap into.
Sure, we are exercising in greater numbers these days. Trying for more definition, tone, aerobic endurance. I am honest enough to admit that I do it more out of vanity than health consciousness - gravity and I are locked in a battle over the placement of my buttcheeks - but I do it nonetheless. And at the age of almost twenty-seventeen (you do the math), I consider myself to be in pretty good shape. Actually I used to consider myself to be in pretty good shape. Then I had the opportunity (read: paid an arm, a leg, one kidney and three toenails for a ticket) to see the Cirque du Soleil perform one of their incredible feasts for the eyes while in Las Vegas.
There is a reason the show is called "O". For ninety minutes the only thing you are able to utter is, "O my God!"
If you are ever in the market for a truly humbling experience in terms of what the human body is actually capable of, take in any performance of the Cirque du Soleil - be it live or televised. Those one hundred sit-ups and two miles on the treadmill wonít seem like such an accomplishment anymore.
Literally translated, Cirque du Soleil means "Circus of the Sun", but this is unlike anything the Ringling Brothers ever proposed to Barnum or Bailey. Combining dance, acrobatics, strength, grace, aquatics, humor and pathos, Cirque cast members are outstanding athletes and performers, culled from every corner of the Earth. You say you only won the silver medal in the last Olympics? Welcome to your second career. The talent and prowess that make for an Olympian, also make for a potential Cirque performer.
But the ability to do a beautiful high dive, twenty nonstop backflips or swing from a trapeze with grace are nothing compared to what these performers are asked to ultimately attempt, practice and conquer. After watching "O my God", I can only imagine the Artistic Directorís instructions while choreographing. "Now, Jacques, you will swing from the trapeze, holding on with one knee, while Francois flies through the air from his flaming trapeze towards you. After catching him by his left earlobe with your teeth, he will rotate 78 degrees in order to catch Jeaneen by her ring finger as she free falls from above. Jacques, when you swing back towards the platform, release Francois from your incisors - Francois, you reach for the platform only after flinging Jeaneen towards Guy who will be executing a triple somersault. Jeaneen, as you are flung towards Guy, extend your left foot which he will grasp with the kung foo grip of his buttcheeks. Ready? Oh, and did I mention you will be over a pool of water and it will be raining? Let us begin..."
Ok, ok, maybe kung foo buttcheeks is a bit of a stretch, butt, they could probably do it! These people are muscled from hair follicle to toenail, training day and night for many months to be able to call upon any muscle they may need to catch themselves or a fellow performer sailing past. I think the last time I even clinched my rear end was in the theater during the nailbiting chase scene in the last Die Hard movie. And that was out of fear, not function.
Anyway, the bottom line - pardon the extended pun - is that the human body is amazing. So the next time you are kvetching about your step aerobics class or "Sweariní To The Oldies", think about what you could be doing vs. what you are doing.
And hey, if they ever decide to expand their franchise with a Cirque du So-Lazy, Iíll save you a spot in the audition line. Excuse me now, I must go practice my clinching. . .