One of the happy side effects of Cirque du Soleil's phenomenal success is the number of smaller Soleil-like circuses that have cropped up in recent years. Some of these companies--like Cirque Ingenieux, which came through Chicago last month--play up the artier, more pretentious side of the Cirque du Soleil formula. But others--like the Quebec-based Cirque Eloize, just now arriving on the Chicago scene--manage to re-create the playful spirit of the larger Montreal-based company. Cirque Eloize is filled with lots of traditional circus tricks by human beings--jugglers, tumblers, aerialists, contortionists, and clowns--clothed in the flashy Euro-circus outfits made famous by Cirque du Soleil. And Cirque Eloize refuses to muck things up with a bunch of grandiose "Andrew Lloyd Webber on a bad day" stage effects that look great under the big top but kinda silly in a smaller space. Also like their better-known counterparts, the Cirque Eloize folks use no animal acts, a choice that not only gives them bonus points from animal-rights groups but more stage time for the sort of awe-inspiring tricks that have delighted viewers at least since the time of the Romans. College of DuPage Arts Center, main stage, 22nd and Park, Glen Ellyn, 630-942-4000. Thursday, March 26, 7:30 PM. $21. Then at Governors State University, Center for Performing Arts, Stuenkel and Governors Highway, University Park, 708-235-2222. March 28 and 29: Saturday, 8 PM; Sunday, 3 PM. $30. --Jack Helbig
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): uncredited photo.