Review: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Luzia’ (Jul 28 2016 – Oct 16 2016)

A WAKING DREAM OF MEXICO

LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul.

Freely inspired by Mexico, LUZIA is a poetic and acrobatic ode to the rich, vibrant culture of a country whose wealth stems from an extraordinary mix of influences and creative collisions – a land that inspires awe with its breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders, buoyed by the indomitable spirit of its people.

The tableaux of LUZIA weave an intricate, contemporary mosaic that awakens your senses and transports you to a place suspended between dreams and reality.

LUZIA

The name LUZIA fuses the sound of “luz” (light in Spanish) and “lluvia” (rain), two elements at the core of the show’s creation.

AN IDEA OF MEXICO

There is not one, but many Mexicos – Mexico is an ever-evolving country as complex as it is diversified. It is the result of an extraordinary mix of influences from abroad over the course of many centuries.

Instead of representing Mexico in a realistic fashion, the creative team of LUZIA decided to create an evocation of this monumental country. They imagined a dream woven from memories, experiences and encounters, laden with inspirations deeply rooted in Mexican identity.

Even this invented Mexico is complex and multifaceted, hence the idea of a journey – in both the literal and figurative sense – through a series of fragments, all highly meaningful and evocative. “A fragment is like a pebble you slip in your pocket, keep close to your heart and safeguard like a cherished memory”, explains show director Daniel Finzi Pasca.

Water as a source of inspiration – Integrating the element of water to a Big Top show is a first at Cirque du Soleil. The idea of placing a water basin under the stage floor and creating a rain curtain paid huge dividends on the acrobatic front.

The element of water enabled the creators to take the Cyr Wheel out of its usual context. Two artists perform on the apparatus on water and in the rain, which is, at first glance, unthinkable. In order to solve the adhesion issue, a bicycle tire was mounted on the wheel rim. Great ideas look simple… after the fact.

Breaking down barriers – LUZIA explores the combination of hoop diving – a traditional circus discipline from China – and two giant treadmills to generate speed and expand the discipline’s acrobatic vocabulary. The two treadmills can operate in the same direction or in opposite directions. Sometimes artists use the treadmill as a launching pad to perform daring leaps through the hoops; when placed on the rolling treadmills the hoops suddenly become moving targets for the divers.

THE MAIN THEMES OF LUZIA

Through its set design, costumes, acrobatic performance and music, LUZIA explores various themes linked to the culture, history and mythology of Mexico, some of which may not seem connected at first glance. Thus, the show is based on themes such as speed, monumentality, rain in all its manifestations, surreal animal life, and a poetic vision of reality.

Monumentality – Visitors to Mexico may experience a certain light-headedness when faced with the staggering beauty of the country’s landscapes, forests and nature, but also with the richness of its culture and the splendor of its architectural wonders.

Speed – It is natural to associate Mexico with the idea of speed. One needs only call to mind the uncanny ability of certain people in Mexico, such as the Tarahumaras, who make seemingly superhuman efforts on a daily basis, deriving great strength from their deeply spiritual perspective of life.

Rain in all shapes and forms – In Mexico, there are as many types of rain as there are clouds that produce it – from the refreshing showers of Coyoacán, an iconic neighborhood at the heart of Mexico City, to the torrential rains that sweep across Baja California, to the plentiful autumn rains, as violent as they are sudden. In the diversified geography of Mexico, rain is part of the collective consciousness and has a narrative force all its own.

Surreal menagerie and poetic vision of reality – The fascination of the Mexican people for the animal world is as evident in the country’s traditions and mythology as it is in its traditional arts and crafts. This special connection with nature and animal life stems from a poetic – and even magical – vision of reality. This is apparent in the Mesoamerican concept of the nagual according to which the spirit of an animal lives in every human being from birth; this spirit protects and guides the individual throughout their life.

REVIEW:

Cirque Du Soleil’s “Luzia” (theatrical run July 28, 2016 – October 16, 2016) is a feast for the senses. Explosions of colour, acrobatic feats, glorious vocal arrangements and story lines emblematic of what can only best be found in traditional Mexican lore is yours for the taking in one sitting at “Luzia”.

As the imaginary ‘flight director’ states at the beginning of the night, “Hold On Tight”. It was indeed an accurate request.  “Luzia” draws you in to the climate, ambiance and history of Mexico.  We experience the theatrical fabric of the country, fiesta paper lanterns and green landscape on a grandiose circus stage under a blanketed white tent that is friendly, comforting and provides for a wonderful goodbye to the summer as we enter the autumn.

The motifs of rain and water throughout the performance was transformative, relaxing and offered a respite between scenes. In a sense, the water that fell from the roof of the tent acted as a make shift waterfall symbolic of those found in Mexico.  In one segment, the water produced images of dancing fish, blooming flowers and ornate Mexican motifs.  Truly mesmerizing!

The treadmill that sits on the “Luzia” stage is robust and ornate. The acrobatic artistes jump, leap and dance on the treadmill with ease.  A running fairy is chased by a metal horse to the amazement of the audience.  These scenes make Cirque Du Soleil great!  The fairy’s wings stretch out to reveal gorgeous butterfly wings within the first five minutes of the show.  A collective excited sigh was heard from the audience anticipating what more is to come.

Dancing sisters take on large hoola hoops and keep us entranced as an acrobat dances above them. Children laugh as the clown ushers the audience between scenes and gently teases members with his cheekiness.  A contortionist steals the show with skills reserved for solo moments meant only for a candle’s flame and an empty stage.

As the Day of the Dead (Día de Muertos) approaches it maybe worth checking out Luzia” before it closes on October 16, 2016.   “Luzia” is enticing and exciting for a family night out and yet sensuous and sophisticated for a date night with friends or loved ones.  You will truly feel awakened to all Mexico has to offer after taking in “Luzia”.

https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia

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