Cirque du Soleil is returning to North Carolina (Credit: Agencia de Noticias ANDES, CC license 2.0)

By Theoden Janes, The Charlotte Observer

Cirque du Soleil will return to Charlotte this summer, for the first time in five years.

The Canadian theatrical group’s latest arena production – “Corteo,” which is derived from the Italian word “cortege” and described as “a festive parade imagined by a clown” – will be performed seven times at uptown’s Spectrum Center between Aug. 8 and 12.

Directed by Daniele Finzi Pasca, “Corteo” premiered in Montreal in April 2005 and became a tour that has been visited 64 cities in 19 countries. Its international cast includes 51 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors.

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Cirque du Soleil had been a regular in Charlotte to start this decade: In 2011, “Totem” was performed under the Grand Chapiteau at Charlotte Motor Speedway and “Alegría” came to what was then Time Warner Cable Arena; in 2012, “Michael Jackson: The Immortal” visited uptown; then “Quidam” made it four shows here in back-to-back-to-back years.

Then in 2016, Cirque du Soleil pulled “oVo” out of Charlotte in protest of North Carolina’s House Bill 2, a controversial law that limited the legal protections for LGBT individuals. (Other performing artists – including Bruce Springsteen and Ringo Starr – also canceled North Carolina shows because of the law, which was repealed and replaced one year later.)

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Here’s a synopsis of the new show from the company:

“The clown pictures his own funeral taking place in a carnival atmosphere, watched over by quietly caring angels. Juxtaposing the large with the small, the ridiculous with the tragic and the magic of perfection with the charm of imperfection, the show highlights the strength and fragility of the clown, as well as his wisdom and kindness, to illustrate the portion of humanity that is within each of us. The music turns lyrical and playful carryring Corteo through a timeless celebration in which illusion teases reality.”

Performances will be held at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 8, Thursday, Aug. 9 and Friday, Aug. 10; 3:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 11; and 1 and 5 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 12.

Advance tickets for “Corteo” are available now online to Cirque Club members; to join for free, go to Tickets will be available to the general public starting at 10 a.m. Friday, March 23 at

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This article was originally published by The Charlotte Observer.

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