SALTIMBANCO by Cirque du Soleil in Manila (Read this first before watching it!)

(ATTN:  Mercato Centrale, Distrito @ Makati and Mezza Norte Food Markets will be open today, Aug. 10. Thank you to all those who sent their donations for the Habagat flood victims. We will continue to accept donations in all our markets. Soderno @ Molito will be closed due to maintenance and will be open on August 31.)

Title : The Baroque characters | Picture credit : Al Seib © 2005 Cirque du Soleil Inc. | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux

SALTIMBANCO is the longest running Cirque du Soleil touring show, which started way back in 1992. It comes from the Italian word “Saltare in Banco” which means “to jump on a bench”. It is inspired by life in an urban city and the interesting people living in it.

Like other Cirque du Soleil shows, it displays artistic circus acts with colorful costumes weaved into a socially relevant story (with funny clown acts as intermission). It features original live music described as “ethereal yet baroque, rhythmic and cosmopolitan” and an invented language inspired by Arabic, Swedish and German.

The sun is out, and Saltimbanco brings timely, colorful fun to Manila. 🙂 Finally, after 20 years, Filipinos can watch Saltimbanco on Philippine soil!

Here are some tips to enjoy the show and some background information on the characters:

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SALTIMBANCO Acts that We Love!

Title : Boleadoras | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

BOLEADORAS. Two performers twirl boleadoras in the air, a simple percussion instrument made of a weight attached to the end of a cord. The weights bounce off the ground and make exploding sounds either in unison or in counterpoint to the dance steps of the performers. Invented in Argentina, the boleadoras were used by hunters in the pampas or plains.

Title : Boleadoras | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

For us, the Boleadoras was the best Cirque Act since it’s a mix of Drum Tao Taiko Drumming, Flamenco and Poi Dancing. It was fun to watch because it was just flawless and unique. 🙂

Title : Chinese Poles Act | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc. |Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux

CHINESE POLES ACT. Multi-coloured beings slip onto the stage and climb on Chinese poles seven meters tall, which symbolize the sky-scrapers of Saltimbanco. Leaping from pole to pole, the acrobats soar through the air in a breathtaking display of agility, power and speed.

We also enjoyed this synchronized pole dancing on steroids with Chinese acrobatics.

Title : Adagio | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

ADAGIO. Inspired by a discipline called acrosport, this act features three acrobats whose bodies meld together to create startling figures. A show of strength, flexibility, balance and grace, this act evokes birth, the family unit and the fragility of life in today’s metropolis.

I liked the graceful transitions from one formation to another of this three-person act.

Title : Hand to Hand

The show features the classic Cirque acts like Balancing on Poles, Juggling, Russian Swings, Solo Trapeze, Bungee, and Hand-to-Hand (above).

Saltimbanco is awesome to watch, especially if it is your first time to see a Cirque du Soleil show.

But if you watched Varekai, you might find some of the acts familiar — circus clichés even — and most people would agree that Varekai was a lot better in terms of the Big Top ambiance and the unique circus feats.

The Saltimbanco Characters

Title : The Baron | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

The Baron is your guide in the world of Saltimbanco. He is ageless, timeless and recounts fascinating tales of the past. The Baron is an imposing figure in his black and white striped cape, long red gloves and top hat perched on a pile of serpentine hair. The Baron thinks he has power but really has no authority; he is the king of fools. And when he tears off his cape, he reveals another side of his character—an erotic satyr on the prowl! At his most carefree,the Baron loves to party with the Baroques.

Title : Eddie

Eddie is a jester, a clown. He is the child within us all. In his distinctive red cap, black bow tie, striped shorts and suspenders, Eddie finds adventure in his own imagination. Whatever he needs, he invents. Eddie moves freely between our world and the world of Saltimbanco.

(TIP: This is the guy who gets an audience volunteer for one of the acts like in My Varekai Act. We have a theory that they get an audience volunteer seated in the VIP section who looks very shy, who looks away and seems to have a heart beating so fast. They probably get the timid ones for maximum laugh value and so that they won’t upstage the clown…)

Title : The Dreamer | Picture credit : Al Seib © 2005 Cirque du Soleil Inc. | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux

The Dreamer lives between reality and illusion. He is like a clown, satirizing and poking fun at the world around him. Dressed in a striped blue costume and with his long curly tail, the Dreamer is always ready for a nap. But since he is responsible for looking after the child, he rarely gets the chance to doze off.

Title : The Dreamer and The Ringmaster |Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

The Ringmaster. In his yellow jumpsuit with his fanciful green vest and cape, the Ringmaster struts proudly around the world of Saltimbanco. The Ringmaster likes to be the centre of attention and often steals the show. With his winning smile and natural charm, he usually gets away with it. The Ringmaster likes to believe he has great powers and he carries a sceptre to prove it. But as everybody knows, it is the Baron who holds ultimate control.

Title : Child King | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand 2008

The Child King. The core of every society is its children, and at the heart of the family is the child.

Title : Cavaliers

The Cavaliers are the gentle protectors. They are calm and serene but could strike with great force if they needed to defend themselves or someone more vulnerable. The Cavaliers are elegantly dressed with the tips of their tall black and white hats pointing towards the future. With their lanterns, they light our path through the world of Saltimbanco.

Title : Chinese Poles Act | Picture credit : Al Seib © 2005 Cirque du Soleil Inc. | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux

The Vers Multicolores are the origin of all life; they are the simplest of all beings. Like reptiles, the Vers Multicolores do not know love. They follow their primal urges and are concerned only with survival. Dressed in hooded multi-coloured body suits, the Vers Multicolores are identical yet they sometimes express their fledgling identities.

Title : Singer Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

La Belle reflects all human emotion. She is the ever-present town crier who expresses the soul of Saltimbanco. Her language is universal and her song reflects the atmosphere around her. Her vocals are emotions—serenity and excitement, hope and joy, disappointment and melancholy.

Title : Masked Worms

The Vers Masqués (Masked Worms). A face without a name. A name without a face. The Vers Masqués are the masses, the multitudes, the bureaucrats. They watch. They follow. They never act. They only react. They are the status quo. Their masks hide all expression but then they have nothing to say. The Vers Masqués always keep their feet firmly planted on the ground. They play it safe. They risk nothing, lose nothing and, ultimately, gain nothing.

Title : Baroques | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand |Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

The Baroques sleep under bridges and emerge to celebrate life. They are defiant, rebellious and explosive. The Baroques are enlightened beings with free spirits that run wild. Armed with a deeply perceptive vision of the world, the Baroque family reflects the extreme personalities of city characters—both in their beauty and wretchedness. They are baroque in their attitude as well as their appearance.

Title : Baroques | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand | Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

I loved Act I of Saltimbanco where all the unique and fun circus acts were performed. However, the show lacked a grand finale and failed to ignite a standing ovation on its gala night. Hopefully they will get a better reception from the audience in succeeding nights.

Title : Baroques | Picture credit : Olivier Samson Arcand |Costume credit : Dominique Lemieux © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

Thank you, Cirque du Soleil, for bringing the fun, colorful and insightful world of Saltimbanco to Manila!

SALTIMBANCO by Cirque du Soleil

Official WebsiteSaltimbanco
Official Manila Site: Hoopla.PH
Manila Schedule: August 9 to 19, 2012
Location: Mall of Asia ARENA

Buy your Saltimbanco Tickets here.


Saltimbanco is a characteristic and classic Cirque du Soleil show inspired by the urban fabric of the metropolis and its colourful inhabitants. The show premiered in 1992 and toured many countries under the BigTop before embarking on a new journey in 2007 with a world arena tour through North America and Europe.

Saltimbanco—from the Italian “saltare in banco,” which literally means “to jump on a bench”—features an international cast of 51 performers and musicians from more than 20 different countries. Classic Cirque at its best, Saltimbanco is a thrilling and kaleidoscopic celebration of awe-inspiring artistry and agility. It features breathtaking acrobatics and unbelievable athleticism during solo spotlights and epic ensembles. Decidedly baroque in its visual vocabulary, the show’s eclectic cast of characters draws spectators into a fanciful, dreamlike world, an imaginary city where diversity is a cause for hope.

Saltimbanco is set to enthrall, from the seemingly impossible balancing, jumping and spinning during the Chinese Poles or the Russian Swing to the gravity-defying Bungees and Trapeze, the crowd-pleasing Juggling and Acrobatic Bicycle, to the celebrated and very unique Clowns. Technical expertise and extravagant design are woven together with uplifting spectacular costumes, amazing lighting, humour and enchanting music and magic. Full of colours, amusement and amazement, Saltimbanco is a fun show for the whole family to enjoy. Saltimbanco is the longest running Cirque du Soleil touring show, a timeless opus.

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Full Disclosure: We watched the gala opening of Saltimbanco courtesy of Hoopla. Thanks!

P.S. The show starts on time (8pm). It is advisable to eat in any of the Mall of Asia restaurants before watching the show. It ends at 10.30pm. You can visit Mercato Centrale or Distrito in Makati after. 🙂

P.P.S. Please don’t bring any food, cameras or umbrellas, which could be a hassle to deposit at the entrance. You will have to line up to get it after the show.

7 thoughts on “SALTIMBANCO by Cirque du Soleil in Manila (Read this first before watching it!)

  1. very well said sir! =D
    if you’ve also watched last night, i was the third one (the guy wearing a light blue hospital scrubs – btw, i’m a doctor) who catched the ball from eddie… and made him swallow it by tapping his back! =P it was my 1st time to be selected as a volunteer on a show & i was amazed by it (andaming tumitingin sa akin during the break… *hiya*) pero the 4th volunteer was the real deal… parang di ko kakayanin yung ginawa nya sa stage! hahaha! =P overall, it was a great show! =D
    this was my 3rd Cirque du Soleil… Varekai (PH) -> Zaia (Macau) -> Saltimbanco (PH), i’ve watched every show twice… hehehe! =D any Cirque du Soleil recommendation sir? =D

  2. will be watching this tuesday! very excited. is there a souvenir shop? so we can get a chance to take home the magic!

  3. @riverfan & sir anton,
    AFAIK, there’s a souvenir shop near the escalators… i’ve checked kasi the prices of the Cirque du Soleil freebies for the VIP guests… =D

  4. watched the show last sat, aug 11 and the 4th volunteer also went up the stage and had the ‘most’ airtime.
    im guessing he is part of the script (because he knows almost exactly what to do) and based on the comment above, looks like it was (either the same volunteer or not).
    still, it was really funny.

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