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A Look at Cirque du Soleil’s “Echo”

Updated: Mar 12

Cirque du Soleil returns to Tysons from Sep. 6 until Oct. 22, showcasing their latest performance, Echo. The show’s runtime is 125 minutes with a 25-minute intermission, allowing show-goers to refill snacks, sodas and purchase merchandise, giving a nice break to many.

The storyline (without giving spoilers) follows “Future,” a young woman representing a new generation and “Ewai the Dog,” the symbol of “unconditional love and selflessness,” who discover their choices have the potential to influence the world as they witness life’s evolutionary stages, according to Cirque du Soleil’s website and “Fascination!,” the unofficial Cirque du Soleil newsletter.

The pair transports through a portal into a world beyond compare. The mysterious new surroundings are highlighted with haunting vocals from on-stage singers and a band. The monochrome yet striking costumes accentuate the eerie yet calming environment and help to bring the story and storytellers to life.

The performances all take place around a moving two-story cube which takes center stage. The cube has removable blocks, and performers interacted with the cube throughout the show. The lighting complimented the backdrop with vibrant natural and artificial images, helping to enhance the performance’s theme.

The cube, playfully named “Ruby,” contains a reported 1.6 miles of LED lighting, and projectors reflecting images off the cube which aid performers and progress the storyline. The cube uses a system called “TAIT Navigator,” which combines software with hardware to accurately generate lighting, imagery, and audio. “Accuracy is vital for a performance of this magnitude,” Assistant Technical Director Sarah Morales told, an online publication.

According to the Cirque du Soleil Echo promotional section on the official webpage, Future and Ewai the dog work to piece together the planet, forming connections with nature, animals, and technology introduced by industrialization, providing a picture of how humanity interacts and balances with the world created and the world “we wish to live on.”

The performers placed all their efforts into making this show as immersive and dreamlike as possible. Juggling, balancing and timing performances were so well executed that they belied the risk involved. The imaginative efforts of the set designers and lighting staff create a breathtaking environment perfectly matching the music, enchanting theme, and performances. Cirque du Soleil staff actively incorporate the audience by signaling for assistance with props or having the audience play with items tossed off stage by performers. A snakelike contortionist moved, bent, and twisted like rubber, shocking and entertaining astounded onlookers.

Echo continues to cement Cirque du Soleil’s noteworthy and well-earned position in the performing arts industry and adds to the company’s growing portfolio of vibrantly crafted, thought-out performances, which live up to the wonder and excitement of “the circus being in town.”

By Alex Fernandez