The fearless acrobats of Cirque du Soleil love a challenge.
That’s why the contemporary circus company staged its latest show, “Axel,” on ice.
“We thought it was important to explore new regions,” said artistic director Fabrice Lemire, speaking on the phone from a tour stop in Cincinnati. “We love to keep our shows fresh — to reinvent the wheel!”
“Axel” arrives at the Bon Secours Wellness Arena Feb. 13 with six shows through Feb. 16.
This production, only a few months old, features 40 skaters, acrobats and musicians.
Fans can expect the usual eye-popping and death-defying aerial acrobatics for which Cirque du Soleil is famous. Added to the mix this time is world-class skating. The show is propelled by a hard-charging rock band. Everything is surrounded, of course, by surreal sets and aesthetics.
It takes 15 tractor-trailers to transport the lights and expansive Cirque scenery from city to city.
As usual for Cirque shows, there’s a fanciful storyline behind the proceedings: The young musician Axel falls for the captivating Lei. Together they jet off on a fast-moving quest through fantastic and colorful worlds to retrieve the stolen light from the mystical Vi.
“Axel” is actually the second show Cirque has staged on ice. The first, several years ago, was “Crystal,” for which Lemire also was artistic director.
Greenville is one of the first stops for “Axel” on a multi-year tour that will take the show across the U.S. and likely to Europe and elsewhere. It was designed last summer in and around Montreal, the home of Cirque du Soleil.
What does Lemire, the artistic director, love most about the show?
“What I love is to see a performer really get outside of his or her comfort zone,” Lemire said. “I like to see artists grow. When a performer is surprising not only you but also himself or herself, that’s very exciting.”
Paul Hyde, a longtime Upstate journalist, writes about the arts for the Greenville Journal. Follow him on Facebook and Twitter: @PaulHyde7.