Circus to the extreme

| Trista Yeung 18 Dec 2015

If you looking for action to spice up the Christmas holiday, Cirque Adrenaline knows what it takes to win your heart. Blending traditional acts with new elements, the circus show stuns with more than 50 performers - stuntmen, trapeze artists, aerial performers, fire eaters, jugglers, acrobats and tumblers as well as strongmen and motorbike acrobats.

Brought by California-based creative producer Simon Painter, the circus arrives at AsiaWorld-Expo on Tuesday to January 3.

"The production values of Cirque Adrenaline are very different from a traditional circus," Painter said. "The lighting, sound, rigging and staging are state- of-the-art, which makes it extremely fast-paced."

Painter has been in the live entertainment industry for the past 10 years. The first show he produced, Le Grand Cirque, smashed box office records at the Sydney Opera House, selling more than 40,000 tickets in 10 days.

"Cirque Adrenaline is unique," he said. "It features so many acts that are both gigantic in scale and dangerous. Most other shows have one or two of these, but nearly every act in Cirque Adrenaline is extreme."

One act features a motorbike acrobatics display, where five stunt riders, known as the Extreme Freestyle Motocross team, wow the audience with their high-speed jumps, backflips and somersaults. Sometimes they hold on to their bikes with one hand and at other times fly unattached.

"We ride differently these days," rider Martin Schenk said. "Previously there was always the risk of crashing, of course, but now we're doing double and triple flips and combinations - it is just more dangerous.

"However, all of us love to ride. We each have our own specialty in terms of tricks and the display weaves them together into a breath-taking choreographed routine."

The Wheel of Death is another heart- stopping act. It spins at a speed of 40 kilometers an hour, while a large rotating apparatus with revolving cylinders on each end carries performers through synchronized acrobatic feats. Hold your breath as they perform death-defying stunts more than 21 meters up with no safety net.

For slightly quieter action, Elements brings a Christmas dolls showcase until December 31. This is created by couture fashion doll designer Andrew Yang from New York.

Featuring more than 100 dolls dressed in exquisite gowns, three installations transform the mall into a Christmas ballroom, a music hall and a snow-white sky garden.

"This time, I try to put myself a little bit on the edge by creating dolls of different sizes," Yang said. "Some life-size dolls are there for the first time to get close to the audience."

The designer was a hit in the industry in 2008 when he showed off his handmade Kouklitas (named after the Greek word for doll - kouklas), collaborating with international brands such as Barneys and Ines Figaredo.

"Making dolls has been a hobby since my childhood," Yang said. "I never thought that it would be my career. There is something about dolls that is so magical - they represent your dreams and desires." He also created five dainty Elements Beauties interpreting all the elements. Each captures different personalities of Hong Kong women.

Yang's vintage fashion doll collection in the Water Zone shares the history of dolls. "Dolls are art forms. It is essential to know it is a traditional handicraft that transforms along with society."

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