A new circus seeking to cater to diverse audiences and feature performers with disabilities has postponed its in-person world debut.
Crews were setting up Omnium Circus at Tysons III this week when the organization abruptly halted its upcoming run from Nov. 18 to Jan. 9.
Customers who purchased tickets can get a refund or exchange their tickets for the delayed performances. The circus also notes that people can choose to consider the tickets as donations due to the organization’s nonprofit status.
Founder Lisa Lewis said ticketholders are being contacted directly.
“So much of live entertainment — you even see it on Broadway — …they’re all trying to get back, and it’s not always a smooth ride for everybody at the start,” spokesperson Alan Miller told Tysons Reporter, adding that such performances are not seeing the advance ticket sales they previously did.
No definitive replacement dates have been set yet, but the circus said it’s rescheduling the show and plans to return in the spring. Groups that reserved tickets have already rolled over to those future dates, Lewis said.
The circus released a statement yesterday (Wednesday) announcing the decision, which it said was due to a “combination of insurmountable circumstances beyond our control have forced us to make the very difficult decision.”
“It was kind of like a perfect storm,” Lewis said.
According to Lewis, investors wanted the show to be postponed, citing COVID-19 concerns, slow ticket sales, and reports of a potential terrorism threat.
The circus called the decision “very, very difficult.”
“We’re just really excited to be able to come back in the spring,” Lewis said, adding that Ominum is delighted and honored that property owner Lerner was so accommodating with changing the dates.
The circus launched with a December 2020 livestream and worked with schools and other organizations during the pandemic.
Read the official statement on the rescheduling of the world premiere of Omnium: A Bold New Circus at https://t.co/2DnjHhiOgk pic.twitter.com/1f1RQsLoeZ
— Omnium Circus (@OmniumCircus) November 3, 2021
(Updated at 10:50 a.m. on 10/15/2021) A new circus coming to Tysons is catering to all people and seeking to eliminate barriers for those with disabilities — both performers and audience members.
From a juggler on the autism spectrum to an aerialist born without legs as well as a deaf clown, Omnium Circus has a diverse staff and a variety of special accommodations for visitors, including a show that prominently incorporates sign language, headsets for those with visual impairments that provide narrated coverage, and a special section for those with autism looking for reduced stimuli.
“Our goal is to make sure that everybody with every need has the access that they need to be able to enjoy the performance with their family,” founder Lisa Lewis told Tysons Reporter.
Named after a Latin word meaning “of all,” Omnium Circus will make its in-person world debut at Lerner’s Tysons III (8025 Galleria Drive), with performances from Nov. 18 through Jan. 9. Tickets are $35, $65, and $95.
Lewis launched the circus with a December 2020 livestream and a nonprofit called CircuSense that supports the circus through donations. She started off as a clown and has experience working with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, schools, and in hospitals with the Big Apple Circus.
She also volunteered with a program that Big Apple Circus created in 1987 called Circus of the Senses, which caters to visual and hearing-impaired audiences. She became an interpreter for the program and, later, served as its head.
Lewis considered creating a unique circus for years before launching it with online shows, partnering with schools from Australia to the U.S., Cambodia, and the U.K. Schools can still access the online show, with tickets costing $10 for each student, and educational materials are available.
For audience members with visual impairments, two speakers narrate the show in a manner similar to a sportscaster paired up with a circus expert to create a verbal version of the excitement that’s happening in the ring.
“The way you guys audio describe blew my mind,” Erik Weihenmayer said of Ominum Circus.
The first blind person to summit Mount Everest, Weihenmayer talked about his experience listening to the show during a podcast for a nonprofit he co-founded, No Boundaries USA.
“Yeah, it’s like a world that was completely cut off to me,” he said. “I went to Circus de Soleil with my family and my kids are like, ‘Dad, I can’t even describe what’s going on. It’s happening too fast. So just sit back and enjoy the music.'”
He said the narration for Omnium “really made it accessible and an open door for me and so many people.”
Citing a federal contracting goal that seeks to have at least 7% of employees be people with disabilities, Omnium Circus says 26% of the circus’s team of 87 people are differently abled.
While training inexperienced staff can be a huge undertaking, the circumstances of the pandemic also allowed the circus to launch an apprenticeship-like program, furthering its racial diversity, Lewis said.
“From the boardroom to the box office to center ring, Omnium is leading the way in inclusivity and we are proud to announce we have such a high percentage of disabled employees in the Omnium family, especially during National Disability Employment Awareness Month,” Lewis said in a statement. “The circus has traditionally always been a place of diversity and acceptance and all are certainly welcome under our big top.”
Cirque du Soleil was planning to bring “Alegría” to Tysons this summer, but that show is now suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic and a different one will come to the big top next year.
Cirque du Soleil announced today (Monday) that “KOOZA” is set to come to Tysons next summer. The show will run from July 21-Sept. 19, 2021.
“Cirque du Soleil has had to suspend all its shows and pause the touring schedule temporarily,” according to the press release.
More about “KOOZA” from the press release:
A return to the intimate and fundamental human elements of circus, KOOZA combines thrilling acrobatic performance with the art of clowning. We follow The Innocent as he takes a journey of self-discovery through a comic kingdom of eccentric characters, electrifying thrills and out-of-the-box surprises.
Presented in a colorful mélange, KOOZA springs open like a bejeweled toy box to capture the audience’s imagination and set their pulse racing. Sheer human effort — performance in its rawest, purest form — is showcased in all its splendor and fragility.
KOOZA is an eclectic mix of characters and rich set that draws the audience into Cirque du Soleil’s fantasy world. The show features 50 acrobats, musicians, characters and clowns from 15 countries, showing more than 1,200 pieces of costume in one single show. Along with a live musical performance on stage, KOOZA ensures a “once in a lifetime” experience.
Since the show will no longer go on for “Alegría,” ticket holders can expect to be contacted by a Cirque du Soleil representative via email with details on how to redeem and exchange their tickets for “KOOZA.”
Tickets for “KOOZA” in Tysons start at $44.
Photo by OSA Images/courtesy Cirque du Soleil
When the big top returns to Tysons next summer, people can expect a circus show about a power struggle.
Cirque du Soleil plans to bring “Alegría” to Tysons from July 28 to Aug. 30, according to a press release.
Attendees can expect gymnasts flying from one high bar to the next, a fire knife dancer, somersaults on trampolines and other acrobatics.
Here’s Cirque du Soleil’s description of the show:
Alegría (“joy” in Spanish) takes audiences at the heart of a once glorious kingdom now in decay led by the king’s fool and a dusty aristocracy. Carried by an intangible wind of change, an emerging movement from the streets strives to shake this established order, instilling hope and renewal to bring light and harmony to their world. With its joyful spirit, Alegría is a vital, energizing force driven by a thirst for a brighter tomorrow.
The show started in 1994. “To mark the show’s 25th anniversary, Cirque du Soleil is now revisiting its iconic ‘Alegría’ through today’s lens — including refreshed costumes and set design, a renewed acrobatic vocabulary, and modernized musical arrangements — to touch new generations of spectators,” the press release said.
Tickets are on sale now, and people can receive 40% off certain tickets Nov. 19-Dec. 2.
Tysons may not have the liveliest nightlife at the moment, but that could soon change as more late-night restaurants and places to hang out open. “Tysons After Dark” will highlight a different spot every week.
Locals looking for some evening entertainment can watch the latest Cirque du Soleil show in Tysons until the end of September.
The acrobatic troupe returned this year with a new sports-themed show called “VOLTA.”
Cirque du Soleil’s production highlights adventure and street sports, Steven Ross, the show’s senior publicist, told Tysons Reporter.
When the creators of the show started brainstorming about two years ago, Ross said they wanted to try something new. “Sports is the one thing we haven’t done,” he said.
Cirque du Soleil ended up sending talent scouts to sporting events to include sports athletes in the cast.
“We took sport athletes and taught them how to do sport moves in an artistic way,” he said.
In addition to the urban sports inspiration, “VOLTA” is also unlike traditional Cirque du Soleil shows with its “clear and very defined narrative,” Ross said.
“VOLTA” is Latin for “a sudden change,” and the contemporary plot focuses on self-empowerment and transformation while juxtaposing bicycles with ballerinas, he said.
The electronic music — common at sporting events — also adds a new twist to the show, he said.
More from Cirque du Soleil about the show:
Waz is a gameshow contestant that has lost touch with himself. He’s ashamed of who he is because of his difference. Follow him as he enters the show in search of fame, thinking that this will bring him love and acceptance from others. What he will find is something else: that fame is not the answer.
If fame doesn’t provide freedom and acceptance, then what does? Will Waz reconnect with his true self — and stand up for all that makes him truly unique? Will he realize that his difference is what makes him extraordinary?
The “big top” pavilion is located between Tysons Galleria and the Tysons Corner Metro station.
The show runs until Sept 29. Tickets start at $49 and go up to $495 for behind-the-scenes tickets.
Photos via VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil/Facebook