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By Paul Kurtz

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a clash of civilizations today at the Franklin Institute as a pair of performers from Cirque Du Soleil visited the museum’s “Circus: Science Under the Big Top” exhibit.

With “Science under the Big Top” well under way, and Cirque Du Soliel’s new show, “Varekai,” coming in September, it made perfect promotional sense for these two entertainment entities to get together.

Cirque sent two acrobats to the museum to give a brief but death-defying demonstration, and to explain how their show differs from the traditional circus.

“Cirque goes into everything about the human body and what the human body is capable of doing,” says Cirque spokeswoman Vanessa Napoli.  “But it’s also about the acting part, and bringing the audience through a story.”

Napoli says their unconventional take on the circus would not exist without the original.

“Cirque du Soleil started off with a bunch of street performers who wanted to put a twist on traditional circus, who wanted to do something different.  And so it sprang from that.  Without this, we wouldn’t be here today,” she said.


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