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Grand Rapids Symphony Teaming With Cirque for Spectacular April Concert

flickr/ stevendepolo

Acrobatics, machines, circus and the Grand Rapids Symphony combine to present an inventive new cirque show, “Cirque Mechanics.”

The production is the result of a yearlong collaboration between the Grand Rapids Symphony and the Cirque Mechanics franchise, and marks the concert hall debut of Cirque Mechanics’ massive mechanical apparatus, the Gantry Bike.

Associate Conductor John Varineau will conduct four performances, Friday, April 19 at 8 p.m., Saturday, April 20 at 3 p.m. and 8 p.m., and Sunday, April 21 at 3 p.m. in DeVos Performance Hall. These performances are part of the Symphony’s Fox Motors Pops Series and are sponsored by Howard Miller.

Founded in 2004 by German Wheel artist Chris Lashua, Cirque Mechanics has been hailed by Spectacle Magazine as “the greatest contribution to the American circus since Cirque du Soleil.” Known for their popular touring show “Birdhouse Factory,” Cirque Mechanics draws inspiration from modern circus and mechanical wonders; while other cirque shows mask the mechanics behind the circus, Cirque Mechanics showcases the relationship between performer and machine.

Chris Lashua and the Cirque Mechanics team collaborated with the Grand Rapids Symphony for more than a year developing a Cirque Mechanics show for the concert hall.

In addition to a live orchestra, the resulting “Cirque Mechanics” symphony show features the Gantry Bike, a pedal-driven, eighteen-foot high mechanical apparatus. Uniquely designed, the Gantry Bike displays both aerial and ground acts without the need for rigging anchors or electricity.

While aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, dancers and jugglers create the magic of cirque on the Gantry Bike, the Grand Rapids Symphony will perform some wonderful pieces including Mozart’s “Marriage of Figaro,” Copland’s “Fanfare for the Common Man” and Dukas’ “Sorcerer’s Apprentice,” a piece made famous by Disney’s “Fantasia.”

You can buy tickets now at the symphony office, 300 Ottawa NW, Suite 100, (located across from the Calder Plaza), or by calling 616/454-9451, Ext. 4. (Phone orders will be charged a $2 per ticket service fee, with a $12 maximum.) Tickets are available at the DeVos Place Box Office, weekdays 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., or on the day of the concert beginning two hours prior to the performance. Tickets may also be purchased through Ticketmaster, 800/982-2787, online at, or in person at Ticketmaster outlets: select D&W Fresh Markets, Family Fare Stores and Walmart. Tickets purchased at these locations will include a Ticketmaster service fee.

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