Featuring 20 acts with original and seasonal music that celebrate Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, Christmas and New Year’s, Cirque Dreams Holidaze will cast a spell on the Queen City this season.
Performer Vladimir Dovgan, a Ukraine native who lives in Las Vegas, said in a telephone interview that the two-hour spectacle heading to Manchester’s SNHU Arena Wednesday, Dec. 12, will be “a combination of cirque show, Broadway musical and holiday spectacular.”
“People can expect this … to be a great mix of classic Christmas delight, with jugglers, acrobats, balancing acts, contortionists, aerialists, big productions numbers and so much more,” he said in a recent telephone interview.
It will all be against the musical backdrop of Holidaze originals and classic seasonal favorites such as “Winter Wonderland and “Jingle Bell Rock.”
The costumes — more than 300 — are a big part of the show.
“(They) include an ice queen, angels, Christmas tree ornaments, ginger bread cookies, elves, toy soldiers, Santa Claus,” Dovgan said.
His own costumes include a “humbug,” conductor and penguin.
Dovgan takes part in a comedy skit in which he gives audience members bells to play during a song. In his second and third performances, he performs tricks inside a metal hula hoop — and while balancing himself on cylinders and a bowling ball, respectively.
Such diversity in roles does bring its fair share of challenges.
“One is having to change costumes quickly between acts,” he said. “Shifting such elaborate costumes in limited amounts of time, even with the fact that we have a lot of help from our wardrobe person, still can cause a bit of stress.”
But it’s all well worth it.
“My greatest joy is seeing everyone so happy after watching it,” he said. “When you stand with your cast mates and bow in front of all the smiling kids and happy families, it brings you a huge sense of joy and fulfillment.”
Directed by Neil Goldberg, the production has toured the globe, dazzling audiences at the Kennedy Center, Grand Ole Opry House and on Broadway.
It is an experience that has amazed Dovgan, whose parents used to bring him and his older brother to see the circus every time it came to his hometown in the Ukraine.
“I always liked it, and sitting watching people perform made me want to be like them one day,” he said of those childhood experiences. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do, but I wanted to be one of them. I wanted to be in the center of the ring and have people applaud me.”
Years later and after formal training at State Circus College in Kiev, Ukraine, his dream is a reality, one that produces both excitement and anxiety.
“No matter how many times you perform, every time you go on stage you get a little bit nervous, and it does not matter how hard and difficult it is,” he said. “At the end of the show when everyone is standing and cheering for you, though, it all becomesworth it. It’s a great feeling.”
He hopes people feel that that sense of nostalgic Christmas joy at Cirque Dreams Holidaze — that they go “home feeling love for their family and amazement in what they saw and the experience they had.”