Corteo brings magic

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A little person performs in the Helium Dance. She floated above audience members, who pushed her back into the air when she descended. Photo by Marie-Reine Mattera (c)Cirque du Soleil, Inc. 2005 / Costume by Dominique Lemieux

The magic is back with Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” now performing at The Forum in Los Angeles. The show has all the elements that made the Canadian company famous-acrobatics that defy gravity and make one hold their breath, fanciful and fantastic costumes and set design-along with humor, whimsical music and quirky characters, and all under the famous big top tent.

The show centers on a clown imagining his funeral as a carnival-like procession, with angels watching over him, teaching him how to fly in the process. The story seems to cover parts of his life as a boy, and the antics at that age. One seemingly simple, yet amazing acrobatic scene occurs when two great beds are brought onstage, and adults dressed in pajamas as boys and girls tease and taunt each other as to who can perform the best feats jumping up and down, flying through the air back and forth between the beds, somersaulting, balancing on the bed frames and having pillow fights in between.

A delightful act called the Helium Dance occurs when a small person, a woman no higher than two and half feet perhaps, with a tiny sweet voice, supported by a harness that is tied to big balloons, floats above the audience. The ringmaster tells the audience they can push her into the air with their hands, as she floats, legs straight, down. The adult audience’s faces were like children’s, as they gathered their hands together in groups and eagerly yet tenderly pushed the little lady into the air. The little woman’s partner later joins her for the Adagio Duet, in which the two perform such feats as holding themselves horizontally to the floor from a large vertical ring on a moving platform-not an easy task, even if you’re only three feet high.

Various humorous scenes take place, such as when two clowns attempt to hit a golf “head” that pops up from the middle of the floor, and the ringmaster, called The Loyal Whistler, when called upon by audience members to whistle any tune by any composer, trills Mozart’s Lullaby.

Acrobatic acts such as women performing aerial feats from huge chandeliers, a man who climbs an unsecured straight ladder while dancing a bit with it, and breath-taking trapeze feats drew gasps and much applause from the audience, which gave the performers a standing ovation at the end of the show. (It’s a shame the company does not widely recognize the performers by name.)

“Corteo” plays for a limited engagement at The Forum in Inglewood. Tickets range from $55 to $90, with a Tapis Rouge VIP Package, $210, adults and $147, children, which includes best house seats and access to the VIP suite before the show and during intermission. www.cirquedusoleil.com or 800.678.5440. Parking is $22 dollars at The Forum.