Flowers dancing

The Na’vi on the quest come across a tribe that dances like flowers. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

A family event for the winter, Cique du Soleil has imagined James Cameron’s Avatar in music, dance, puppets, gymnastics and contortions for an enchanting evening as “Toruk: The First Flight.”

Known for its risqué performances, family comes front in center in Cique du Soleil’s Avatar-inspired “Toruk: The First Flight.”

Performances are open across the country through mid-March 2017. If the show comes to a nearby venue, it is a family experience that will dominate dinner conversations for a while.

The scenery, setting and lighting effects are the typical extraordinary efforts of the troupe. The acrobatics, dance and gymnastics drew oohs and ahs from the audience at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix on Nov. 16.

The lighting effects were a combination of massive stage sets on the moon Pandora and digitally-projected scene changes of vivid colors and crystal clarity.

The show comes with a downloadable IOS and Android app that allows the audience to participate in parts of the performance. In the photo of the show climax, there are dots of colored light in the darkness of the audience, those smartphones controlled by the app adding stars to the sky.

We had mid-priced tickets for the performance, but even the least expensive seats in the venue had excellent views and line-of-sight to the stage. I was impressed that Cirque did not try to use every seat in the house, but kept all seating to the lower concourse in the arena.

Two boys have to save the Tree of Souls. The quest is successful only with one taming the Toruk, the orange and black flesh-eating flying beast. The show includes a 250-pound Toruk puppet as well as larger-than-life puppets representing other beasts from the movie.

The schedule at the Cirque de Soleil website includes ticketing information. The show lasted nearly two hours and included a half-hour intermission.

Upcoming shows are set for:

  • November-December: San Diego and Sacramento, California; Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia, and Edmonton, Alberta, Canada;
  • January-February: Inglewood, California; Las Vegas, Nevada; Wichita, Kansas; New Orleans, Louisiana; Guadalajara, Jalisco; Mexico City, District Federale; and Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, all Mexico.
  • March: Cleveland, Ohio; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Hartford, Connecticut.

The following images and the video at the end are from the November 16, 2016 performance at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix, Arizona. All photos are by the author.

A Na'vi from Avatar watches over a Thanator

A Na’vi hunter kills a Thanator. Photo credit: Eric Jay Toll

Pandoran horse-like creatures are on the stage

The herd of Direhorse come through the place where the Na’vi are hiding. Photo credit: Eric Jay Toll.

Tree of souls

The Tree of Souls is saved and relights. The pinpoint lights in the audience are smartphones controlled by the Cirque’s special app. Photo: Eric Jay Toll .

Flowers dancing

The Na’vi on the quest come across a tribe that dances like flowers. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Flowers dancing

The Na’vi on the quest come across a tribe that dances like flowers.

Flowers dancing

The Na’vi on the quest come across a tribe that dances like flowers. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Flowers dancing

The Na’vi on the quest come across a tribe that dances like flowers.

Flowers dancing

The Na’vi on the quest come across a tribe that dances like flowers. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

The Toruk with Na'vi rider

The Na’vi questor has tamed and is flying Toruk. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Opening festival

A Na’vi hunting ritual dance and series of tests for youth. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

The toruk gives its life to save the Tree of Souls

The toruk gives its life to save the Tree of Souls. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Ikran skeleton dance

The skeleton of an Ikran is used for a ceremonial dance by a Na’vi tribe. Photo: Eric Jay Toll.

The Na'vi travel great distance to find the amulets and icons needed to save the Tree of Souls.

The Na’vi travel great distance to find the amulets and icons needed to save the Tree of Souls. Photo: Eric Jay Toll.

A flock of the Quetzalcoatlus northropi birds enter the scene.

A flock of the Quetzalcoatlus northropi birds enter the scene. Photo: Eric Jay Toll.

 

Thanator attacking

A Thanator gets ready to attack. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Tree of souls

The Tree of Souls regrows. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Captured Na'vi

The Na’vi are captured by a warrior tribe.  Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Quetzalcoatlus northropi

A flock of the Quetzalcoatlus northropi birds enter the scene. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Opening ceremony

The opening ceremony starts to tell the story of the Na’vi quest to save the Tree of Souls. Photo Eric Jay Toll

Opening ceremoney

The opening ceremony starts to tell the story of the Na’vi quest to save the Tree of Souls. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Quetzalcoatlus northropi

A flock of the Quetzalcoatlus northropi birds enter the scene. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

Toruk, the Great leonopteryx, approaches the Na'vi

Toruk, the Great leonopteryx, approaches the Na’vi. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

The Tree of Souls

Lava flow threatens the life of the Tree of Souls. Photo: Eric Jay Toll

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