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Amanda Orozco, as Azala, performs an aerial pas de deux with Lorant Markocsany.

Courtesy of Cirque du Soleil

Floating on Air

Amanda Orozco returns home as a Cirque star. By Barry Glenn

There was never any doubt. As 12-year-old Amanda Orozco watched the acrobatic gymnasts of Cirque du Soleil’s La Nouba perform their fantastical feats a decade ago at Downtown Disney, she was awestruck. She wanted to be one of them.

“After the show, I made up my mind that this was what I was going to do with my life,’’ recalls Orozco, who grew up in west Orange County.

Today, at 22, Orozco is playing a leading role in Dralion, a touring Cirque show that is scheduled for eight performances this month at UCF Arena. The Ocoee High School graduate realized her dream through five years of competitive dancing, followed by three years at Canada’s national circus school in Montreal—which just happens to be across the street from Cirque du Soleil headquarters.

When she graduated in June 2010, there was no need for a tryout. The folks at Cirque knew talent when they saw it and hired Orozco immediately for Dralion, the company’s avant garde interpretation of Chinese acrobatic arts. In the show, Orozco plays Azala, the goddess of air, where she spends a lot of time demonstrating her skills with the silky “aerial tissue’’ so familiar to Cirque fans.

“I have no words’’ to describe the exhilarating feeling of coming back home to perform in front of family and friends, she says. But ask Orozco what it’s like to live her dream and she doesn’t hesitate:

“It’s like sometimes I have to pinch myself. I got everything I ever wished for. I got everything I wanted.’’

7:30 p.m. Sept. 21-24; 3:30 p.m. Sept. 23-24; 1 and 5 p.m. Sept. 25. $37-$102. UCF Arena. cirquedusoleil.com/dralion
 


 

Ice Time

September 21 If you’re craving the puck, you’re in luck. The National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning, who nearly went to the Stanley Cup finals last year, are playing an exhibition game here against the St. Louis Blues. 7 p.m. $10-$150. Amway Center. amwaycenter.com
 

 


 

Key Players

September 4-11 It’s a different kind of playoff pressure: The second Florida International Piano Competition will feature 22 pianists from around the world giving it their all in the preliminaries, with the three finalists playing concertos at the Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre as judges determine who walks away with the $20,000 first prize. Finals at 7:30 p.m. Sept. 10. $15-$35. Winners' Encore recital at 2 p.m. Sept. 11 at Trinity Preparatory School in Winter Park. $10-$35. Tickets also available to preliminaries Sept. 4-8. floridapiano.org


 


 

Dynamic Duo

September 18-19 Two heavy hitters of the music world will play O-town on consecutive nights. First up is Marc Anthony, the Latin balladeer and salsa superstar who’s in the middle of a nine-date American tour (and who, regrettably, has been in the news lately because he and his wife, Jennifer Lopez, split). The next evening, enduring singer-songwriter Elvis Costello is in town with his band, The Imposters, and is expected to bring along a giant roulette wheel that audience members can spin to determine which songs he will play. It’s not called the Spectacular Spinning Songbook Tour for nothing. Anthony: 8 p.m. Sept. 18, $65-$125. Amway Center. amwaycenter.com. Costello: 7:30 p.m. Sept. 19. $36-$75. Bob Carr Performing Arts Centre. orlandovenues.net





 

Quick Hits

September 14-October 9
Orlando Shakespeare Theater presents the Oscar Wilde satire The Importance of Being Earnest.

September 16-18
The experiences of women with breast cancer are told through the arts in The Pink Ribbon Project at Orlando Repertory Theatre.

September 30-November 13
Take a globetrotting culinary journey during the Epcot International Food & Wine Festival.

Through October 30
The works of Tony Robbin, instrumental in the Pattern and Decoration art movement, are on display at Orlando Museum of Art.

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