(Courtesy of SF Symphony)

Acrobats, Contortionists, Jugglers + More Make Magic at the SF Symphony

When daring gymnasts soared through Davies Symphony Hall to the glorious musical stylings of the San Francisco Symphony, we sat up and took notice.

A night at the symphony is always an electrifying experience, but this year's new lineup of performances presents even more unforgettable nights teeming with holiday cheer and surprises. This last Thursday night, we attended Cirque de la Symphonie for a captivating evening of unimaginable acrobatic feats. The popular troupe performed impossible feats to classical masterpieces and holiday favorites, from "A Christmas Festival" by Leroy Anderson to tunes from Disney's Frozen.

A mime appeared on and off as comic relief, but also put on a remarkable set of magic tricks. Behind a crimson fabric and a hula hoop with silver strands, a woman's attire changed time and time again. A leotard transformed into a spotted gown, a dress color changed, all in a matter of seconds. When he, himself, climbed under the enchanted fiber, he levitated—that is until the curtain was removed and he was merely in a plank position comically holding one leg out.

The evening continued with even more thrilling acts including the miraculous twirling of a metal cube—with swift, steady movements, a square became a cube as it pirouetted around the performer; a contortionist bent and twisted into impossible positions; a man brandishing a massive hula hoop did something between swing and break dancing in unbelievable gravitational feats; a ballerina ribbon danced to Tchaikovsky's Dance Of The Sugarplum Fairy. Then, a man and woman—partners—soared through the air with scarlet wings. Together, with aerial silks, they collided and spun, displaying a terrifyingly beautiful bond established in unwavering trust. Finally, she toppled, unraveling from great heights into his arms.

The final act—and one we were told couldn't be missed with pronounced muscles and even more impressive stunts—featured two men in vibrant heliotrope leggings performing remarkable acts of strength to Ravel's Bolero. It was, as promised, jaw-dropping; and at one point the two became an inconceivable balancing unit—one on the ground while the other was upside down stabilizing his body on the one standing, shoulders on shoulders. And then, four arms outstretched, they spun in a circle.

Cirque de la Symphonie is a circus for the orchestra, choreographed to the symphonic score. As with many events shifting to become an immersive experience, the visuals here present a multi-dimensional, multi-sensory experience for the concert-goer; and may even reel in new patrons who have previously not shown an interest in classical music. // sfsymphony.org