Sure, a name is but a name, but does Cirque Dreams sound as sweet as Cirque du Soleil? The renowned Montreal entertainment company tried suing the cadre of "cirque"-branded companies that emerged in the '90s, but to no avail. Now, we've got plenty to choose from, most of which offer similar alt circus-style shows that mix aerial arts, acrobatics, dance, costume, music and experimental theatrics. Among those is the Florida-based Cirque Dreams, which brings its seasonal spectacle Holidaze to Knight Theater.
Yes, you can expect to see humans dressed as come-to-life trees, ornaments, gingerbread men, toy soldiers, elves, candy canes and other flashy holiday treasures (or cheese), but the real awe comes from the stunts. Aerialists, acrobats, high-wire cyclists, jugglers and other performers in the group defy gravity with exhilarating skills - the kind that impress no matter what their troupe's called. $20. Dec. 21-22, 2 p.m. & 8 p.m.; Dec. 23, 1:30 p.m. & 7 p.m. Knight Theater, 430 S. Tryon St. 704-372-1000. www.blumenthalarts.org.