Acrobats of Cirque-Tacular.

Despite a few years of French classes in middle and high school and what my teachers said was a good French accent, my grasp of the language is not especially formidable. My French is about on par with my Spanglish, which I learned from a few years in the restaurant industry here in the valley.

Mal as my French may be, however, even I know that the word “cirque” means “circus” in English. That’s part of why Circus Headwall is one of my favorite ski runs at Snowmass. It’s also why I got so excited when I read that the Acrobats of Cirque-Tacular were coming to the Wheeler Opera House tomorrow for two shows, at 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m.

I mean, who wouldn’t love something circus-tacular? Pas moi.

“This show will be fun for the whole family,” said Gena Buhler, executive director of the Wheeler. “Cirque shows have such a rich, long history in entertainment, so it’s a perfect fit to have them at the historic Wheeler, especially as we celebrate our 130th anniversary this year.”

Touted in a press release as “a heart-stopping, mind-boggling display of artistry and athleticism,” the Cirque-Tacular show is a like a circus tent, concert hall and Broadway stage all rolled into one and features “aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, fire artists, illusionists, singers, dancers and indescribable feats” that will “ignite your belief in human potential.”

I don’t know about yours, but my belief in human potential could certainly use some ignition right about now, so you can count me in.

Now, obviously, any time performers use the word “cirque” in their name, they’re going to draw comparisons to the much ballyhooed Cirque de Soleil, the French-Canadian outfit that seems to have something like 30 shows in Las Vegas casinos at any given time. The Acrobats of Cirque-Tacular have nothing to do with that. They’re part of New York City-based Cirque-Tacular Productions, but they’ve performed for millions around the world.

I’ve always wanted to see a true cirque-type show, but despite a handful of times through Las Vegas, I’ve never caught one. The closest I’ve come, in fact, was staying one time at Circus Circus hotel and casino, which, if you know Vegas, is not the sort of thing you’re supposed to admit. It’s the casino equivalent of a Motel 5, not even worthy of Motel 6 designation.

Naturally, I preferred to think of it as Cirque Cirque while I was there, which made it seem ever so much classier.

Todd Hartley is the special sections editor for Aspen Daily News. He can be reached at

Special Sections Editor