Cirque du Soleil Presents CRYSTAL at the Sears Center Arena Review – A Breakthrough Ice Experience

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

First Cirque du Soleil production on ICE

For the very first time, a Cirque du Soleil production is performed on ice. Although this uncharted territory is an unprecedented artistic and technical challenge, the final result is a breathtaking. It is a show of light, snow, music, dance, ice-skating and remarkable aesthetic and acrobatic feats. With a smaller cast than usual for a Cirque du Soleil production, these magnificent skaters and acrobats make everything look so easy, but that is far from true. If these acts would already be difficult on solid ground, the ice surface makes everything considerably more challenging.

So much fun with snowballs

As the audience settles in the seats and the time comes for the show to start, the public is engaged in snowball fights with performers that walk around with buckets of snowballs and make the wait more fun. Kids and adults are equally caught up in this wintery game and laughter bursts in different areas of the arena at the same time. It already is exciting and it hasn't even started.

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

The Bucket Man

When a man with a bucket on his head appears skating, the public is encouraged to turn him into a human target and everyone would laugh when one of the snowballs reached him. As the first act starts, digital projections turn the ice and the back wall into a beautiful canvas where the story of Crystal is being written. The music stirs emotions and accompanies the magical effect of the ice cracking, allowing Crystal to fall through into a vortex of wind and snow as her imagination is set loose.

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

“With my pen!”

Next, a normal day in her life is recreated, at home, at school, on the playground or in the city, but it is a life where she does not fit. Once again, the music and the lights complete the movement as Crystal decides to take control of her environment. But her alter ego comes into action while she is discovering her own voice and power through her words.

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Juggling, swinging trapeze and hockey

Joy takes over the arena when skating and juggling are mixed together with lively klezmer-infused music. And when you would think it's over, more balls would be brought in for the delight of the public. Then, Crystal gets on her backyard swing, away from her family swaying in her own imaginary world. Seeing Crystal on that swinging trapeze with her skates on, made our hearts shrink. As she explores her powers, Crystal visits the playground turned into a frozen hockey ring where skaters mix the game with thrilling flips, twists and jumps on ramps. The speed is breathtaking and the public reacts at their stunts with applause of admiration.

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Act two

After intermission, we come back to a new setup. Crystal is now in the big city, trapped in a maze of glass panels when her elusive alter ego appears and they engage in a chasing movement through the ever-shifting transparent panels. But the setting changes again and swinging poles are now installed. This is a part never seen before, where pole work acrobatics are taken to the next level. The poles are suspended instead of being fixed to the ground. The public is in awe and rewards each acrobatic stunt with applause. In the next part, characters wear mics on their skates for special sound effects as they show off their skills, tricks and tap dancing moves.

Waltz on skates

We are caught up in the story as it unfolds and we are taken to a more romantic territory where a courtship game begins in a park as couples waltz together on skates. This background is soon transformed By Crystal into a beautiful ballroom where her suitor comes on straps from above and they both engage into a very emotional act.

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

“Fight for love!”

This second part of the show is fast moving and full of powerful and breathtaking acrobatics. It is at the same time more emotional as the story explores romantic feelings and love comes into the spotlight. “Impossible dream!” “Fight for air!” “Fight for love!” are messages that resonate with her struggle and feelings. Crystal's reflection brings her back to reality, to the above the surface world. She struggles to come back, but finally makes it and she is greeted by friends and family. This part has more trapeze acrobatics that amaze the public.

The only down side of this show is that it is only here through the weekend. So be quick and do not miss the opportunity to start the winter holidays season with this wonderful and unique Cirque du Soleil performance.


Note: This is now added to the Picture this Post round up of BEST PLAYS IN CHICAGO, where it will remain until the end of the run. Click here to read – Top Picks for Theater in Chicago NOW – Chicago Plays PICTURE THIS POST Loves.



Saturday, November 18 at 3:30 pm and 7:30 pm
Sunday, November 19 at 1:00 pm and 5:00 pm


Sears Center Arena
5333 Prairie Stone Parkway
Hoffman Estates, IL


For more information and to purchase tickets visit Cirque du Soleil

Laura Buciuman
Laura Buciuman Casey Mitchell

About the Author

Laura Buciuman is currently a Marketing Assistant at the Tourist Office of Spain in Chicago. Open-minded and curious, with a major in journalism and philosophy (North University, Romania) and two Master Degrees, one in English and Spanish for specific and business purposes (Alicante University, Spain) and another in International Tourism (EOI Business School, Spain), Laura is passionate about writing, storytelling, traveling, arts and culture. She has already lived in four different countries and visited many others and enjoys discovering different cultures. Reading, gastronomy, latin dances and yoga are some of her hobbies.

Editor's Note:  Click here to read more Picture this Post articles by Laura Buciuman

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