Just five days after Montreal, Canada-based Cirque du Soleil struck its trademark blue-and-yellow tent in north Raleigh, NC, to move Dralion to its next engagement, Pompano Beach, Florida-based Cirque, Inc. will open Neil Goldberg’s Cirque — Dream It Live in nearby Chapel Hill. The final performance of the 2002-2003 Carolina Union Performing Arts Series, Cirque — Dream It Live will play April 10 and 11 at the Dean E. Smith Center on the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill campus.

“Confusion over the two shows is understandable,” writes Carolina Union marketing manager Jennifer W. Smith in the show’s news release. “After all, the term cirque [pronounced “sirk”] is synonymous with the more famous of the two shows. They are both created in the tradition of the European art form developed by Jules Verne in the late 1800s. They both feature some of the world’s most prestigious and elaborate entertainment of modern times. They both seem like a great evening out on the town. So what’s the difference?

Cirque — Dream It Live is the brainchild of Cirque, Inc.’s Neil Goldberg,” Smith explains. “Cirque, Inc. is the only American company of its kind producing this style of performance artistry for public theater. Although influenced by many European elements, Cirque — Dream It Live has been Americanized with its own Broadway theatrical flair. Another main difference is that Cirque — Dream It Live tells a story with developed characters, elaborate sets, and a storyline. Interwoven into that is an aerial ballet over the audience, an interactive music symphony, and a visual landscape of unbelievable splendor.”

Smith adds, “Inventive acrobats on four-legged stilts, choreographed contortionists, jugglers manipulating like machines, and incomparable feats of strength are presented with style and sophistication. The show includes a kaleidoscope of mesmerizing lights, spectacular costumes, and original musical scores.

“Through the genius of their finely tuned bodies, the cast, known as Imaginaires, brings new meaning to flexibility and endurance,” claims Jennifer Smith. “They are made up of the world’s most talented and unique artists-the finest acrobats, gymnasts, singers, and dancers. Cirque — Dream It Live in Chapel Hill will leave performers and patrons alike flying high.”

The Carolina Union Performing Arts Series presents Neil Goldberg’s Cirque — Dream It Live Thursday-Friday, April 10-11, at 8 p.m. in the Dean Smith Center at the UNC-Chapel Hill. $35 ($20 students and $15 children under 16). 919/834-4000 or 919/962-2296. http://carolinaunion.unc.edu/happening/performing.html or http://www.cirqueproductions.com/ [inactive 2/04].