Embracing energy at the Cirque du Soleil

It’s showtime: Cirque du Soleil will be on stage at Temple University’s Liacouras Center May 11 to 15. SOURCE: OSA IMAGES / LIZ VANDAL

Cirque du Soleil will be in town next week, as Ovo comes to Temple University’s Liacouras Center, 1776 N. Broad St.

There will be seven performances of the insect-themed production from May 11–15.

The show moves to Atlantic City’s Boardwalk Hall, June 22–26.

Ovo premiered in Montreal in 2009 as Cirque du Soleil’s 25th live production in its 25th anniversary year.

The cast is comprised of 50 performers specializing in acrobatics, accompanied by a set designed as a stylized home to the insects, a full surround system and elaborate costumes.

Ten crickets are important insects in the show. At times, they have detachable legs that break away from their bodies, giving the impression that there is an insect invasion going on.

“I have a particular soft spot for these characters because their costumes are so sexy, graphic and vibrant,” said Liz Vandal, the Ovo costumer designer.

The show will feature a seven-piece musical band.

Composer and musical director Berna Ceppas combines actual insect sounds with music from a keyboard. He said it is important to him that Ovo takes place in a bigger venue than a theater.

“It puts the audience in another universe,” he said.

A few of the key characters include The Ladybug and The Foreigner, who are looking for love. Then there’s Master Flipo, the popular and eccentric chief of the insect community.

The acts will include bright red ants juggling food on their feet; a dragonfly performing an upside-down balancing act; a firefly sending four spinning spools arcing very high in the air and back to earth; a part-Slinky, part-insect dancing; and spiders weaving their bodies over, under and through the strands of their web.

Other performances include three fleas using dance and acrobatics to fling themselves through the air; a spider traversing a wire that appears to give him no support, topped by an upside-down unicycle act; and a dozen artists using an air mat and trampolines to run, jump and walk across and straight up a vertical wall without any support.

“Ovo is a very physical show,” said Chantal Tremblay, director of creation. “Everything is constantly in motion, which underlines the emphasis we’re placing on human performance. This energy draws on the movements, the rhythms and the cadences of insects — which were our key inspiration throughout the process of creating the show.” ••

Show times are 7:30 p.m. on May 11, 12 and 13; 4 and 7:30 p.m. on May 14; and 1:30 and 5 p.m. on May 15.

Tickets are available at www.cirquedusoleil.com/ovo