Attempts to define Cirque du Soleil are usually futile. With 26 shows currently in their repertoire, diverse combinations of acrobatics, circus, athletics and outstanding visual elements line every production in unique ways.

Julie Desmarais, spokesperson for Cirque du Soleil’s Crystal, still tried her best to characterize the Cirque du Soleil experience.

“It’s a spectacle,” Desmarais said. “It’s really putting the human body up front and doing things that are out of the normal.”

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Crystal is Cirque du Soleil’s latest show to roll through Madison, and is certainly no exception to their usual spectacle. Specifically, Crystal utilizes ice to create an integrated entertainment experience.

Cirque shows are known for their innovative storylines, and that trend continues with Crystal. The loose plot of an “Alice in Wonderland”-like girl who falls through the ice and discovers her own sense of creativity serves as the vehicle for truly amazing acts within the show. Jugglers, tap dancers and beautiful ice skaters are just the tip of the iceberg in Cirque’s show.

The performers themselves give their all to every moment on stage, which is even more outstanding when one considers how these performers are constantly on the road without stable places to rest and train. Cirque du Soleil, therefore, sets up their own training centers underneath the ice so the athletic performers can stay in tip-top shape. Overall, 17 tour busses are used to transport this production across North America.

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Still, this venture into mixing ice and circus lives up to its expectations, and somehow the work of the performers exceeds even these high production values. It’s outstanding to see performers seamlessly switch from skating one moment to doing backflips the next. Additionally, a small ensemble of musicians provide jovial instrumentation to add to the night’s entertainment.

“One of my favorites parts of the show is the dedication and the passion of the performers and everyone behind the scenes has in order to produce the best show possible,” Desmarais said.

Crystal runs every day from now until Sunday, May 5. Tickets are available online or at the Alliant Energy Center box office.