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Amara Defilippo, a Torrance native, performs as an Amazon on the uneven bars in Amaluna. (photo: John Mattera Photography)
Photo of Amara Defilippo a performer in the Cirque du Soleil show Amaluna

The big top returns to San Pedro! Equal parts fantasy and spectacle, Cirque du Soleil’s Amaluna will be entertaining audiences of all ages April 25 through May 26 on the L.A. Waterfront.

Centering around the mysterious fictional island of Amaluna, the performance tells the tale of queen Prospera and her daughter, Miranda. As Miranda grows up, she longs to find love. With a little help from her mother, in walks Romeo. But will their love withstand all odds, including a mischievous half-lizard named Cali? With acts such as uneven bars, aerial straps, teeterboard, juggling, Chinese pole, banquine and more, Amaluna depicts an immersive journey through thrilling entertainment.

Signature to Cirque du Soleil’s shows are visually and creatively impressive set design. Under the big top, Amaluna promises to deliver on those stylistic elements, featuring a 5,500 pound water bowl, and a massive peacock-themed canopy using more than a mile of branches. “Once you walk into the big top, you feel Amaluna island,” says Mami Ohki, show publicist. “We create an atmosphere.”

Amaluna also notably features a majority cast of females, including an all-female band – a first for Cirque du Soleil – that will be at times sharing the stage with the cast and accompanying the various performances. “We wanted to unleash the power in the raw state that artists and musicians bring to the stage,” explain Amaluna composers, Bob & Bill.

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Amongst the female-led cast is Torrance native, Amara Defilippo, who will perform as an Amazon on the uneven bars. Defilippo began performing in gymnastics when she was ten years old. After seeing Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai when she was 13, she knew she wanted to be a part of the Cirque magic and take her talents to the stage. After receiving a full scholarship to the University of Arkansas, Defilippo trained hard and eventually sent in a demo tape to Cirque du Soleil. Shortly after graduating, Defilippo was invited to join the cast of Amaluna, and has been with the show since its creation in 2011. “This is my dream job,” Defilippo says proudly. “I’m living my dream right now.”

After visiting 19 countries, Los Angeles will be Amaluna’s forty-third city, and for Defilippo, this tour stop is extra special. When asked about performing close to home, she says, “It means the world to me. All my friends and family are going to be [at the performances], and I can’t explain how excited I am, and excited to be home. I’m already getting butterflies thinking about it.” Her role within the girl power-fueled show is also meaningful as well, “It’s amazing to be a part of,” Defilippo says. “Our cast is about 70 percent women. It’s a huge honor to be a part of that and represent women from all over the world.”

Connecting with the audience is also integral to any Cirque du Soleil show. “The message in the end with be different for each audience,” says Ohki. “Amaluna’s story starts with Miranda’s coming of age on the female island, all the challenges throughout her journey, and eventually finding out what is love.” These themes are all intended to translate to a diverse audience. Ohki adds, “Trust, strength, and love are all key elements that are emotionally really easy to attach to.” Although the performance is on a massive scale, Cirque du Soleil entertains with soul and with purpose, making each viewer feel immersed in the unique and vibrant storytelling. “I remember walking into the big top for the first time,” says Defilippo, “I saw it and said, ‘I’m gonna perform in that?’ It looked so big. But when you walk in, it’s so intimate.”

For tickets and info, visit cirquedusoleil.com/amaluna.

photo of Caitlyn Piercy

Caitlyn Piercy

Associate Editor, San Pedro Today

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