Monthly Archives: April 2015

Cirque Du Soleil’s Kurios is a Wonder to Behold

11092563_10152720978576022_1473410352_nThe latest show in Cirque du Soleil’s travelling repertoire, Kurios, has a fun Steampunk and neo-Victorian feel which we found really intriguing.

As always, Kurios took place in Cirque du Soleil’s Grand Chapiteau, which has settled in Stampede Park over the last few years from its original home at Currie Barracks. There is tons of parking and it’s very centrally located; however, be careful if there’s something else going on in the Park on the same night! Leave yourself lots of time to find a spot if you’re driving down. Personally, we recommend taking the C-Train, which stops virtually right next to the Chapiteau.

There are no indoor bathrooms as such – only portable trailer-style toilets – so if you or your little ones are squeamish about that kind of thing, make sure you take a bathroom break elsewhere before you arrive. Wheelchair-accessible toilets are available, and the staff are very accommodating to those with mobility limitations – make sure to book your seats ahead of time, since there are a limited number of wheelchair-accessible seats. There are snacks and food available; expect to spend upwards of $20 for movie theatre-style fare.

A host of clowns, jugglers, and entertainers will greet you as you enter the Chapiteau area. Cirque du Soleil does an absolutely fabulous job of making you feel like you’re part of the show from the moment you arrive. Every detail is carefully chosen to help create atmosphere for the performance. Make sure you arrive early enough to enjoy the ambience!

The show itself is two hours and ten minutes long, with a brief intermission. Seating is stadium-style and wraps around the stage. There really aren’t any bad seats in the house, even for smaller children – a lot of the action takes place in the air above the stage and the rows are at a good angle, so it shouldn’t spoil the show if someone tall happens to sit in front of you. Still, you might want to bring a small portable booster seat or cushion along.

Most shows start at 8:00 PM, but there’s a 4:30 PM show on Fridays and Saturdays. On Sundays, you can see the show at 1:30 PM or 5:00 PM. Kurios is here until May 24th.

Kurios is absolutely phenomenal. It walks a fine line between absolutely wondrous and completely bizarre, with imaginative and magical scenes which can only exist in a Cirque du Soleil performance. There is simply no other show on Earth like it. Performers move around the stage and fly through the air in ways that seem to defy gravity and physics; the music, costumes and sets are fantastical and immersive. We have seen both Corteo and Amaluna during their runs in Calgary, and Kurios is by far our favourite of the three – we would happily go to see it again before it leaves at the end of May!

Our age recommendation for this show is 8+. If your child can sit happily through a full-length movie without the need to get up and walk around, then Kurios should be fine. Some of the content is bizarre (but not really disturbing) and some of the stunts are suspenseful. There are some flashing lights and fog used, and the Chapiteau is very dark at times.

Our Rating: *****

Kid-Approved Speech Games & Activities

by Keri Vandongen R.SLP, S-LP(c), photo: 

mom and son talk and play face to face“Wow, Neel! You’re a superstar for how fast you learned this new sound skill. Quick, let’s race to the sticker box!”

Neel was a “dream student” to practice with during our therapy sessions. He enjoyed taking speech turns no matter what activity we did. He attended well, watched my mouth movements, and tried his best. While Neel and I were recovering from our intensive, action-filled session, his mom, Anya, shocked me by saying, “Neel loves coming to see you and to learn his speech words, but he doesn’t practice with any of us at home.”

I thought to myself, “What? Why wouldn’t Neel – who is so easygoing and eager to please others – not like practising speech with his parents and babysitter?”

It’s because he’s used to them, of course. (The parents and babysitter!) So, I asked Anya to use these 7 Kid Approved Speech Games & Activities at home with Neel while he says his speech targets:

1. Find cards or pictures that are placed inside coloured envelopes or mitts/gloves that are hidden in an area that Neel can move around.

2. Combine a fun sport game that Neel loves with speech practice, such as a ball or beanbag toss/shoot/roll, etc.

3. Engage in sensory play using water, shaving cream, play dough, slime, bubbles or whatever material Neel loves to play in.

4. Play a board game with Neel that involves the excitement of pulling a stick to spin toy tops, similar to “Spin to Win” or “Beyblades.”

5. Have Neel “feed” puppets, toys, boxes or containers with a slot or opening. Add chomping, munching and lip smacking sound effects while Neel “feeds” something.

6. Give Neel a container filled with rice, dried beans, seeds, confetti, etc. to dig through and find small objects, cards or laminated/sturdy pictures.

7. Go on a scavenger hunt with Neel that ends with the reward of Neel getting to find something inside an appealing “treasure box.”

Anya was as excited as Neel was to come to our next session. She exclaimed, “Neel was laughing and having so much fun that he forgot he didn’t like practicing his speech at home. He liked getting lots of verbal praise while he practised to help him feel even more successful.”

Neel’s favourite part was getting to choose what he and his practice partner got to do together. He also liked having choices for the practice place, time and including others. Neel even choose a “word of the week” that he was willing to practice and work on a few times each day.

I love it when we can beat the boring blahs!

A child’s most supportive resource for improving and carrying over their speech skills are their parents and caregivers. This means you!

Here’s your speech take-away…incorporate something special and fun to do or use so that speech practice becomes quality time spent together that’s enjoyable for both of you.

Collaborating Together for Kids’ Speech-Language Communication Success,
“Speech” Keri,