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Cirque de la Nuit hosts surreal circus

By Hayden McBennett, October 9 2014 —

Cirque de la Nuit, a surreal nightlife event billed as “Calgary’s newest sensory experience,” is gearing up for a night of carnival-style madness this Friday, Oct. 17 at The Roadhouse.

The steam-punk themed event, called Mécanique, promises a gothic-Victorian aesthetic and exquisitely detailed decorations. Cirque de la Nuit artistic director Jai Benteau says the event draws inspiration from the atmosphere of the circus and what happens after the lights go down.

“The whole premise was you go to a big-top show, and when that show is over, where do the performers go? They go back to their camps and have this big party. We want you to feel like you’re [at that party],” Benteau says.

Mécanique is Cirque’s fourth event in Calgary. Organizers expect approximately 900 attendees, more than double the 400 who took part in their first event in 2013.

“Cirque puts so much energy into making each event a stand alone theme,” says Marissa Puff, performance coordinator for Cirque’s house performers Bass Caravan & The Roving Company of Curiosities. “Everywhere you look is a feast for the eyes. It’s really all about the atmosphere.”

Cirque de la Nuit comes to Calgary twice a year. However, Bass Caravan brings the spirit of Cirque and “gyspy funk, carnival breaks and swinging bass” to festivals and events beyond Calgary. This year Bass Caravan performed at the Shambhala Music Festival in British Columbia.

While hoping to expand the event, the Cirque de la Nuit Troupe refuses to compromise on detail and quality.

“[Cirque] is not just another night where you go out and see DJs. It’s a really immersive experience,” Benteau says. “It’s all about getting dressed up, coming out and being a part of the show. We spend a huge amount of time creating a space for you to escape for the evening.”

Cirque de la Nuit brings musicians, dancers, contortionists and acrobats together for an unconventional evening of revelry and fun. Organizers encourage attendees to wear costumes according to the theme and become part of the show.

“If you’re going to come, just have an open mind,” Benteau says. “The more you get into the part, the more you dress up, the more you’ll enjoy the experience.”

The show begins at 9:00 p.m. and tickets are available at the door or in advance at Blame Betty, Uncommons and Here’s My Soul Café for $35.

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