10 reasons to get to the Nutter to see live “Avatar” with Cirque Du Soleil’s Toruk

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

Caption
A promo video for Cirque du Soleil's Toruk coming to the Nutter Center for seven shows March 22-26, 2017.

Credit: DaytonDailyNews

When the sacred Tree of Souls is threatened by a natural catastrophe, two Omatikaya boys fearlessly set out in search of help from Toruk– the mighty predator that rules the Pandoran sky.

>> PHOTOS: Prepare to be amazed by this visual spectacle coming to the Nutter Center

Welcome to the immersive multimedia experience of "Toruk – The First Flight," a stunning production that blends cutting-edge visuals, mesmerizing puppetry, a dramatic cinematic score and the distinctive Cirque du Soleil acrobatic style with the imaginary world James Cameron first brought to life in "Avatar."

The multimedia spectacle will come to life for seven shows at the Wright State University Nutter Center from March 22-26.

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WHY “TORUK – THE FIRST FLIGHT” IS A MUST-SEE

“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil
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“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil

1. Amazing acrobatics:

Renowned worldwide for their stunning acrobatic feats, the Cirque du Soleil performers were challenged by the creative team to convey strength, physicality and agility and develop a new acrobatic language for the show. The rebound surface of the stage floor allows artists to build momentum and enhances every flip, tumble and somersault.

“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil
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“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil

2. State-of-the art visual experience: 

Directors and multimedia innovators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon are masters at creating virtual spaces on stage. "Toruk – The First Flight," transforms an arena into the awe-inspiring Pandoran landscape. "Set changes, which sometimes occur in the wink of an eye, are not mechanical, but optical," Lemieux said. "It's the language of film applied to the performing arts," Pilon said. "And we alternate between large-scale, spectacular effects and more intimate moments that evoke emotion."

“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil
Caption
“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil

3. Pioneering puppets: 

"On Pandora, the animals are strange, menacing and beautiful all at once," puppet designer Patrick Martel said. "These six-legged muscular creatures exude a sense of grace and nobleness, which I wanted to convey. I wanted my designs to be a tribute to nature, as is the show." The show utilizes 16 large-scale puppets representing the creatures of Pandora – Viperwolves, Direhorses, Austrapedes, a Turtapede, Woodsprites and the show's namesake Toruk.

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4. Soaring kites:

Unlike traditional stage productions, the audience's attention is not limited to a stage as kites swoop and soar through the performance space. These ingenious contraptions are the physical manifestations of the Banshees that roam the Pandoran sky. The kites in the show are the avatars of these winged predators – creatures of Pandora – and connect with the audience on an emotional level.

“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil
Caption
“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Errisson Lawrence Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil

5. Other-worldly music: 

The creative staff went the extra mile to help transport audience members to another world. The composers lugged equipment into the woods to record the beats for the show's soundtrack to achieve as natural and organic a sound as possible. Instead of using drumsticks to compose the different rhythmic patterns, they used objects or phenomena in nature – footsteps on dry leaves, a stick hitting the trunk of a tree, a branch slapping the ground. Many of the beats recorded in the woods were used as is.

6. Striking sets:

From a tropical rainforest and equatorial desert to the mountains, shorelines, wetlands and forest, audience members are transported to Pandora, the fictional moon orbiting Polyphemus in the Alpha Centauri system. An expansive fabric projection surface adds to the immersive environment.

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“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil
Caption
“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Jesse Faatz Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil

7. Stunning costumes and make-up: 

The familiar blue skin tone, lean build and lemur-like tail of the Na'vi are familiar to "Avatar" fans, but since "Toruk" is set 3,000 years prior to the film, there are some distinctive costuming differences. Textures and prints were used to create an organic, handmade look and overcome the fact that there are no fabrics on Pandora.

8. Pick up a second language: 

It's unlikely that you will become fluent, but you might be able to pick up a bit of Na'vi. If you want to get a head start, here are a few phrases to get you started: :"Fyape fkosyaw ngar? (What is your name?)" … "Srung sipxoer(u)! (Help us!)" and "Stä'nìoet, txo tsun! (Catch me if you can!)"

9. Join the movement:

Cirque du Soleil – which started as a group of 20 street performers and has grown to include 1,300 artists from 50 different countries – has entertained close to 155 million spectators since its inception in 1984. Its mission is "to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world." And Cirque du Soleil has done so in more than 300 cities, in more than 40 countries on six continents.

“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Youssef Shoufan Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil
Caption
“Toruk The First Flight” will be presented at the Nutter Center March 22-26, 2017. Photo credit: Youssef Shoufan Costumes: Kym Barrett 2015 Cirque du Soleil

10. Last chance: 

Dayton is Toruk's 60th city and its last stop on the North American tour. The show will be touring in Asia this summer. So this is the last chance to see this visually stunning show while it's in the United States.


WANT TO GO?

What: TORUK – The First Flight

Where: Wright State University Nutter Center

When: March 22-26

Show schedule: Wednesday, March 22- Friday, March 24 7:30p.m.; Saturday, March 25 4 p.m. and 8 p.m.; Sunday, March 26 at 1 p.m. and 5p.m.

Tickets: Start at $35 and can be purchased at www.cirquedusoleil.com/toruk or www.nuttercenter.com or 937-775-3498.

MAIN CHARACTERS

Ralu: A member of the Omatikaya Clan, he is the son of a formidable hunter who taught him exceptional focus and discipline. Ralu is a sensitive and compassionate boy on the brink of adulthood. Although he is only 14 years old (in Earth years),there is a calm and quiet force about him that underscores his carefree attitude.

Entu: A member of the Omatikaya Clan, he lost both of his parents early in life in a freak attack by a Thanator. He is the same age as his lifelong friend Ralu –his mentor – with whom he has always engaged in a healthy competition that has kept him on his toes. Spunky and intense, Entu is fully in touch with his emotions and knows to follow and trust his instincts.

Tysal: A member of the Tawkami Clan, she is the only child of a village chief and lost her mother at a tender age. She was raised by her grandmother with the help of other members of her clan, as is the custom among the Na'vi. Highly proficient in herbal lore, her grandmother was a chemist widely revered among the Tawkami for her unique remedies and concoctions.

The Storyteller: There is an aura of mystery about the Storyteller – a wanderer who roams the land, going from village to village and from clan to clan, in constant touch with his people. Wrapped in his beautiful, weathered mantle, the wise yet unassuming Storyteller exudes wisdom and compassion. As for his age, nobody knows for sure.