Cirque du Soleil's 'Totem' Debuts in NYC at Citi Field

April 16, 2013

On the 25th anniversary of the first visit of Cirque du Soleil in New York City, the troupe is back in the Big Apple with their acclaimed production Totem. The show, created by visionary international director Robert Lepage, is being staged in the parking lot of Citi Field, home to the New York Mets. The engagment will run until May 12.

Last year, ICTMN described Totem as a "fascinating tale of the evolution of man from his original amphibian state to his ultimate desire to fly. Illustrated through a visual and acrobatic language, it falls somewhere between science and legend."

The international troupe, based in Quebec, Canada, explains Totem as a show that "traces the fascinating journey of the human species from its original amphibian state to its ultimate desire to fly. The characters evolve on a stage evoking a giant turtle, the symbol of origin for many ancient civilizations. Inspired by many founding myths, Totem illustrates, through a visual and acrobatic language, the evolutionary progress of species. Somewhere between science and legend, Totem explores the ties that bind man to other species, his dreams and his infinite potential."

Of particular interest to Indian country may be the two segments featuring hoop dancing. Eric Hernandez, Lumbee Tribe, is the male hoop dancer; ShanDien LaRance, Hopi, is the female dancer.

Hernandez, left, and LaRance are the hoop dancers featured in 'Totem'.

The production's original lead singer is Native: Christian Laveau is First Nations Huron-Wendat. ICTMN spoke with Laveau, who was spotted for Totem while dancing at a pow wow. Read the interview here.

Christian Laveau, with the drum he uses in 'Totem'

To learn more about Totem, click here. And to purchase tickets to one of the performance in New York (or for upcoming stops on the troupe's tour--Philly is next), click here.



Gary Gee Whiz's picture
Gary Gee Whiz
Submitted by Gary Gee Whiz on

What the heck? We now become a circus act? Holy Pow-wow Batman? Interesting. Feedback anyone?

Barbara Mumby's picture
Barbara Mumby
Submitted by Barbara Mumby on

I saw Totem in San Francisco in Nov, 2011. WIth the exception of the Hoop Dancers, I was extremely disappointed and offended by the show. The overt sexualization of native women (portrayed by a Spaniard), the total lack of respect for the sacred drum (a psuedo-native couple roller skated on top of it), and an overall lack of cohesion in the story left me irritated and annoyed, with the task of explaining to my daughter why the show was not an accurate representation of native people, our people. If only more native people were involved in the creation of this show, or a new show: there is so much visual, artistic, cultural, and historical aspects and stories that could be woven into a Cirque show from the native community. Don't waste your money!