Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

May 16, 2022

Preview: Cirque du Soleil Presents CRYSTAL

Mullins Center, UMASS, Amherst, MA
May 19-22, 2023


CRYSTAL is the very first experience on ice from Cirque du Soleil. World-class ice skaters and acrobats claim their new frozen playground with speed and fluidity as they challenge the laws of gravity with never-before-seen acrobatics.


The misfit heroine, Crystal, takes the audience on an exhilarating tale of self-discovery as she dives into a world of her own imagination. CRYSTAL invites you to suspend reality and glide into a world that springs to colorful life the signature sound and sights of Cirque du Soleil. CRYSTAL is suitable for all ages.


Scott Smith is one of the performers in this production and he took a few minutes to talk with ITS about this unique theatrical event.


ITS: How long have you been skating?


SS: Since I was 7 years old. My local skating clubs would put on shows, like “The Nutcracker”. I was a competitive skater for 20 years and won some international medals. Then I did shows, including a combination trapeze/skating act on a cruise ship. So, being a big Cirque fan, when I saw they were looking for performers I was thrilled because, in a way I had been training for this all my life.


ITS: Who does the show appeal to more; Cirque fans or ice show fans?


SS: It has everything a Cirque fan wants, like the acrobatics, the music, the theatricality. But the show is on the ice, and we have a wide variety of skating styles, like extreme skaters, free style skaters and figure skaters. But unlike a more traditional ice review, it brings that kind of edgy, abstract Cirque feel to it, and it has a LOT more acrobatics.


ITS: One doesn’t often associate the word “theatricality” with hockey arena.

The rink completely transforms into a stage, there’s phenomenal projections that are put on to the ice, so that you wouldn’t even know that you are looking at a hockey rink. You get pulled into the story through the lighting and sound.


ITS: How many people are on the tour?

SS: 100 people tour, but only about 40 are actually on stage, and the rest support those of us in front of the audience. There’s really another full show going on backstage!


ITS: Cirque has shows that are centered on different elements, like water, with different themes and stories. Is there a connecting thread that runs through them makes people such fans?

The production value of a Cirque de Soleil show is always very high, and people appreciate that. And the level of acrobatic performance as well, from the singing to the musicians, to the acrobats and in this case the skaters, there’s a high level of excellence and athleticism needed to be part of the show. The audience knows that they are seeing the crème de le crème.


ITS: Any part of “Crystal” that still surprises you?

SS: I’ve done the show over 700 times now and just hearing the music; I still love the music and that’s not always the case. The music in this show is absolutely amazing. And of course, I’m wowed by my colleagues and their skill all the time.


ITS: What’s the most interesting reaction you’ve had from people who see the show?

SS: Honestly, a lot of people don’t expect there to be as much skating as there is! There are full skating numbers, full acrobatic numbers, but it is a nice blend of both. There are aerialists, and we have extreme skaters with huge ramps and hockey skates and padding, and flips, and figure skaters like myself with backflips and triple jumps. It really has something for Cirque and skating fans alike. And of course it is very family friendly.