Goshen Native Part Of Cirque Du Soleil At Webster, XL Center

The Hartford Courant

Cirque du Soleil is coming to Hartford and Bridegeport this week and next and is bringing with it a fantastical story, clowns, acrobats and lavish costumes. It's also bringing Damion Corideo, a Goshen native who has been performing as a percussionist for Cirque since 2010, but has never done a Cirque show in his home state.

"When the show is in Hartford, my whole family is going to come see it and me," Corideo said. "And I'm Italian so I have a big family."

Cirque's touring show "Varekai" will be in Bridgeport on Wednesday to Sunday, June 4 to 8, and in Hartford Wednesday to Sunday, June 11 to 15.

Corideo, who was born in Waterbury and graduated from Wamogo High School in 1998, has loved music all his life. His mother, Paula Galvin, is a teacher and singer and took him to many New York clubs.

"We'd go to The Blue Note and see really amazing concerts. When i was 5 I got to see Tito Puente. I saw Victor Borge, the symphony orchestra," he said.

He always was captivated by the percussionists. "My mom would take me to parades and I'd always wait for the drummers to come," he said. "I was drawn to the rhythm aspect of the music."

Corideo played drums in high school, majored in classical percussion performance at University of Hartford, then got a masters in multifocus percussion performance at Cal Arts in Los Angeles, where he began his career. Later, he relocated to New York and worked on cruise ships and in freelance gigs. In 2010, he started working with Cirque, on its short-lived Vaudeville-influenced show "Banana Shpeel." He began working on the touring show "Varekai" in 2011.

"The show ran for two years in South America, central America and Mexico. I've played in Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Peru, Colombia, Costa Rica and Mexico," he said. "Now it's U.S. and Canada."

Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman Vanessa Napoli said the word "Varekai" means "wherever" in the language of Gypsies. The show is based on the legend of Icarus, who in Greek mythology made himself wax wings, flew too close to the sun and then plummeted to his death when the wings melted.

"Dominic Champagne, who wrote Varekai, took Icarus and changed the ending," Napoli said. "He flies too close to the sun and the wings melt and he lands in an enchanted forest full of beautiful creatures. He undergoes a transformation, a rebirth. It's a metaphor for when you fall down and have to get back up."

"CIRQUE DU SOLEIL: VAREKAI" will be at Webster Bank Arena at Harbor Yard, 600 Main St. in Bridgeport, from Wednesday to Sunday, June 4 to 8. It then moves to XL Center, 1 Civic Center Plaza in Hartford, from Wednesday to Sunday, June 11 to 15. In both venues, the schedule is 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday, a 4 p.m. matinee on Saturday and a 1:30 p.m. matinee on Sunday. Tickets range from $35 to $150 in Bridgeport and $36 to $159 in Hartford, depending on day and seat. Details and tickets:

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