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Displaying items by tag: Lesley Carter

IMG 9213The Venetian and The Palazzo, the world’s largest Five Diamond resorts, magically transformed into the most majestic winter surroundings Las Vegas has ever seen, creating Winter in Venice. An outdoor wonderland complete with a skating rink, charming string lights, brilliantly lit trees, holiday music, holiday treats, and displays set the scene. We were greeted by colorful characters wandering the property, spreading good cheer; we were dazzled by a spectacular light show performance; we were blessed with Santa's presence during the Santa Story Readings; we indulged in chocolate chips cookies and milk; we relaxed at the Canyon Ranch SpaClub; and we gazed into our future together while being serenaded by a gondolier. Winter in Venice made romance and our wildest imagination collide during our four night stay at the Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Located in the front of the resort, Doge's Palace offered plenty to see and experience. Surrounded by 30 larger-than-life snowflakes, ranging from 48 to 72 inches in diameter, more than 2,000 festooned lights hung over the majestic skating rink, and a 65-foot LED holiday tree, the area included entertainment like stilt walkers, puppets, jugglers, and real-life-human statues. Carolers and gondoliers singing holiday classics also set the tone and filled the air with joy.  We happily held hands as we strolled by awestruck children, smiling families, and enchanted couples.

Once the sun set, the Nightly Holiday Spectacular & Tree Lighting Ceremony began. Our attention was drawn to the Rialto Bridge as three tenors and a hip hop violin duo performed holiday hits and classics. When the music lulled, a stunning angel gracefully appeared from the Rialt0 Bridge and lit the 65-foot holiday tree across the way. It was as if Norman Rockwell created the scene as his holiday masterpiece.

An outdoor skating rink added even more holiday spirit to our vacation. Located above the hotel's outdoor Grand Canal, we, along with skaters of all ages, glided around the rink and enjoyed views of the canals as well as holiday displays. Watching my husband, who played ice-hockey fall to his butt, encouraged my childish laughter and playful nature. Although a toe-pick is a new concept to most male skaters, it was still uplifting to watch as he was the first skater to hit the rink, literally. With all the ambience of winter surrounding us, it was impossible not to feel like a child again.

IMG 9173Our gondola ride heightened the romance and magical wonder. No trip to Venice, or The Venetian, would be complete without a graceful and romantic glide down the Grand Canal in an authentic Venetian gondola. Floating beneath bridges, beside cafes, under balconies, and through the vibrant Venetian streetscape, our authentic, Italian, singing gondolier swept us down the Grand Canal for a ride like no other.

In addition to the festivities outside of the resort, The Waterfall, Atrium, & Gardens also featured hand-designed snowflakes suspended mid-air in the three-floor-high atrium. Ice branches and 20-foot frosted birch, pine, and glittering trees complemented the picturesque waterfall and crystal ice ponds as majestic hand-crafted white and pearl peacock statues overlooked guests. The winter gardens also featured red beaded ornaments, pinecones, and fresh poinsettias.

IMG 9183 1The holiday themed surroundings and activities extended into the Canyon Ranch SpaClub. They offered winter services such as Winter Solstice Massage, which comes with a Silent Night bath and nourishing oils, a deep-moisturizing Winter Solstice Cocoon full-body wrap to heal dry, cracked skin, and a Holiday Radiance Facial, which is sure to brighten the skin. I escaped to a place where stress melted away and nobody was in a hurry with a Holiday Radiance Facial. The treatment included cleansing, enzyme exfoliation, steam, toning, and a facial masque as well as golden mineral powder to subtly reveal my inner glow. Using the best of the Fleurs, June Jacobs, and Environ skin care lines, this facial invited my skin to the holiday season and brought a dewy radiance back to my face. Pregnancy glow has nothing on the Holiday Radiance Facial.

We were invited to enjoy Santa story readings, classic holiday movie screenings, a selection of holiday candies and desserts, and cookies and milk all offered in the 12,000-square-foot Prestige Lounge, exclusively during Winter in Venice. My child spirit couldn’t ask for anything more. We even returned to our room for a specialized, butler drawn, holiday bath along with Elf delivered milk and cookies; after all, there's nothing wrong with wanting specially delivered cookies for my pregnancy cravings.

We spent our last evening slowly sipping our hot chocolate from Cafe Presse while watching other grateful guests enjoying their cheerful, holiday experience outside the hotel. The holiday music, ample guests, skaters, and performers filled the surroundings and left us with feelings of joy and peace. There are not many things that bring out happiness in people more than holiday spirit, and that spirit was alive and well at The Palazzo and The Venetian.

IMG 9219The Palazzo and The Venetian offer 49 days of holiday festivities throughout both resorts. From November 21st, 2011 to January 8th, 2012, Winter in Venice is the ultimate destination for a holiday experience filled with joy and happiness for both children and the child inside of you.

Published in indulge
Tuesday, 01 November 2011

IRIS: the Sense of Wonder of Cinema

AerialStraps 034I sat… wide-eyed, mouth dropped, as I watched them gracefully do the impossible, their bodies fitting together like puzzle pieces. They glided through the air with an elegance and movement that I’d never experienced before. The Aerial Straps Duo opened Cirque du Soleil’s IRIS at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California with an atmosphere of light and shade as they soared, suspended from a single or double strap. They took off high above the stage and landed with grace and fluidity, delivering the performance of a lifetime. The show could have ended then and there and I would have felt that the tickets were well worth their price, but three more acts took my breath away, brought tears of enjoyment to my eyes, and made IRIS the most amazing production I’ve ever witnessed.

Through visual language, acrobatics, and choreography, all interwoven with the narrative of the show, IRIS brought the splendor and sense of wonder of cinema to the stage. From illustration to animation, black and?white to color, silent films to talkies, fixed shots to swooping camera movements, we witnessed the poetic construction of this art as it transcended reality. Featuring 72 performers, 200 costumes, 8,300 square feet of floor surface, 174 loudspeakers, 603 lighting features, 20 video projectors, and 166,000 watts of sound, IRIS joins the other Cirque du Soleil productions. IRIS is not a show; it is life, ever changing, ever growing before your eyes. It is a journey through the age of cinema.

AerialStraps 067IRIS brought us into the film world before the show even began. Performers intermingled with the crowd immediately creating the atmosphere of wonder and enjoyment. Visual delights and props filled the theatre. A vintage-looking camera, for example, kept with the unique interpretation of the world of cinema while the massive clown-like heads alongside the stage added to the Cirque du Soleil feel.

Contorsion 030 ImgThe Aerial Straps Duo was set to classical music that flowed with their artistic movements. As their performance ended, we were transferred to an animalistic environment where Shadows and Contortionists played out a story on prehistoric cave walls. Four contortionists adopted striking poses and undulated like dancing flames. The flexibility of their movements was amazing as they were transformed into living sculptures. I held my breath as their bodies became water, flowing gracefully around the stage. Who knew being “spineless” was so beautiful, elegant, and mesmerizing?

Costume designer, Philippe Guillotel used his passion for movies and the results of three years of research into the history of film to create the vibrant ensembles seen in IRIS. Guillotel collaborated with director Phillippe Decoufle and the performers themselves to ensure optimal functionality. With life-threatening performances and movements, costume design wasn’t just about appearance.

Kiriki MG 1The dazzling Kiriki number featured Icarian games. The principle of Icarian games, one of the oldest circus arts disciplines, calls for a porter lying on his back spinning an acrobat with his feet. In Kiriki, eight acrobats dressed as colorful bugs spun and tossed their counterparts across the stage and piled them into rainbow towers of human insects.

With movements that literally blurred the lines between reality and the impossible, Kiriki pushed the act far beyond its traditional boundaries. The story woven throughout IRIS is that of Buster, a down and out composer searching for true love. He lays eyes on Scarlett, the naive actress and in the end she performs a number infused with romanticism as she captures the already conquered heart of Buster. Her hand balancing act required mastery and control. I was spellbound as her beautifully sculpted body and moved with fantastic artistry.

I’m not a romantic at heart; my idea of a romantic weekend with my husband would be jumping out of a plane together, trying to master an extreme sport, or haphazardly going on an unplanned vacation with only a backpack, but when Scarlett and Buster finally kissed after her performance, I took a long breath and held back tears. She had evoked an emotion in me that left me speechless. Her elegantly stretched leg stood ceremoniously and her hand rested ever so gracefully as she tilted her hand and awaited her prize. Far more beautiful and lovely than any fairy-tale was IRIS by Cirque du Soleil.

Aerial Ball 005

©Lesley Carter

Published in indulge

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