I cannot believe I have yet to watch a “Cirque du Soleil” performance. I mean, I have been to Vegas a handful of times, where several hotels host nightly Cirque shows. And every year their white tents get erected by Main Street skytrain station. But I guess the thought of a steep ticket price has kept me away until now. But honestly it is fairly affordable as a little indulgence. You only need to purchase your ticket on the right day, for the right day. We choose a slower night and took advantage of their Black Friday sale, to only have to pay $89 per second row seat tickets. And in actuality you want to sit further from the stage to be able to take in more, and that lowers the price.
Tickets don’t come with any instructions, and for first timers, we did spend some time trying to find the entrance. Not to mention we were late, unsure whether the time listed was the start time, or the time which the doors opened for seating.We made our way past security and their commercial trailers, and wandered into the largest tent. Two entrances funnelled traffic left or right based on your purchased seats.
Inside, the foyer has several booths offering food and drink, and of course souvenir merchandise for purchase. The lot of it themed in Mexican patterns and motifs with rainbow paper garlands, cartoon luchadors, and photographs of lush greenery. All of which spoke to the theme of “LUZIA”.
As taken from their website, “LUZIA takes you to an imaginary Mexico, like in a waking dream, where light quenches the spirit and rain soothes the soul”. Inspired by Mexico, the show combines high flying and death-defying acrobatics with the vibrant culture of Mexico. For those interested, I highly recommend taking in the show before they take down the tents on December 29th. And right now for the holidays they are offering 25% off tickets, on select days.
We did arrive late, so had to wait for the first set to finish before being guided to our seats by the usher. With targeted flashlights he lit the walkway and ensured we were safe and sound in our centre, second row seats. And the help was necessary, the aisle in between each row is narrow. You cannot get in or out without those around you getting up and out of their seats. This was reason one for me not wanting to drink during the performance, having to leave mid way for the toilet. Reason two was the actual lengthy lines for said toilets. The washrooms weren’t porto-potties, but they were located out doors in the rain and cold. And for those who had to go, they spent the entire intermission in queue waiting their turn. I can see why the intermission was 30 minutes. And all this will be the reason why I would look into the VIP package next year. Those premium tickets come with access to a VIP lounge, and I assume an express toilet.
Now back to our seats. We thought we would have the best in the house, being unobstructed by a sea of heads. But in actuality you want a seat further away from the stage, to avoid having to crank your head back and up. I suggest the ones in section 200, row H. These offer the largest amount of leg room, as it is an actual walk way in front of you. Plus you are able to take in the entire expanse of the stage, to not have to keep looking left or right, in order to not miss anything in your peripheral. Whereas our front row seats were so tightly packed side by side, that there was no place to store our over sized jackets and purses. And my guest had her neighbour practically sitting on her lap.
As for the actual show. I will be briefly recap the scenes, but not to worry my words won’t spoil anything for you. There is nothing like seeing the following live. And without the ability to use my phone to capture it in photo or video, I was fully able to immerse myself in the performance.
The first act was a lively showcase of acrobats dressed as birds. They ran and flapped their feathers on moving conveyor belts, built in to the stage floor. Their set had them flying through the air, and leaping through varying sizes of hoops.
Next, we were introduced to the entire “LUZIA” assembly as they gathered on stage. Live singing, musical instruments, and prancing commenced. They all wore colourful costumes that looked as though they came from a time period once upon ago, far far away. Suspenders and bowler hats, Mary janes and apron dresses; dapper in linen and silk. A few were dressed as animals with shells and tails, fur and scales. All very elaborate.
Following this, everyone left the stage and a dancer was propelled into the air by her three 3 dance partners. They made tossing her, swinging her like jump rope, and passing her between one another look fluid.
After, two women came to the stage and did things with large metal hula hoops that I didn’t think was possible. All while an acrobat was lowered from the ceiling, twirling while balancing on a bar. Mid set rain fell from the ceiling (a motif that would reappear a few more times). The performers continue to spin and dance, embarrassing the falling water like you would a warm rainfall. Be warned, the front row does get a little sprinkling.
In between sets the water was cleared with mops and what looked like a decorative lawn mower being pushed over puddles. And instead of hiding the clean up, an entertainer was brought out to distract the audience from it. Like the rest of the show, no words were spoken. Communication was done using a whistle and hand gestures. And with an inflatable ball and crowd participation, he brought the tent to laughter.
The tight rope walker charmed on his slack rope. The premise was he was trying to impress a a girl, as he balanced on a wooden board and tube, stood on his hands, and flipped and flopped around with ease.
The soccer ball tricks were playfully done. Bouncing, balancing, and even breakdancing. One of the athletes was pregnant, and doing a fine job keeping up with her male counter part. Here, the water returned and the whole team took to it with joyous excitement.
To which, our humorous, whistle blowing entertainer came back with a comedy routine. It was based around him trying to capture water in his flask. Although he found himself unable to keep up with the playful stream of liquid.
Then our songstress came back. She sang a deeply moving melody in Spanish. And as she bellowed, the steady stream of falling water she stood beside, began falling in patterns. You were able to make our images of stars, hearts, birds, and fish. A visual treat for the eyes and the ears. Then to close out the first act, the entire cast came back out to help finish the song with gusto.
We spent the performance not drinking, so were able to use our 30 minutes exploring their souvenir shop. Butterfly wings, soccer balls, light up wands, and themed tees and hoodies. Most memorable was the bedazzled skull purse for over $300.
When time, we reassembled by the stage and were welcomed back to act 2 by 3 costumed cacti posing like tourists with flash photography. They led the way for a collection of DescriptionPapier-mâché trees that rotated around the stage. Their lack of green and wispy branches set up the dessert theme. Poles were next to join the scene with acrobats that climbed and twirled down them, jumping from one to another.
I was on the edge of my seat watching the masked luchador swinging at terrifying heights. He stood tall and flipped over the bar without flinching.
After, the show slowed down with a sensual performance utilizing a pool of water. The acrobat here was lowered from the ceiling on bungees. He utilized droplets of water in his performance by way of flicking himself and them though the air. A dynamic performance joined by three actors controlling a mechanical looking cheetah. Fully committed with the mannerisms you’d expect from a giant feline.
Next, we were serenaded with more live singing and percussion instruments, as a juggler took to the stage. He built our excitement up by juggling batons in ascending order. Starting with 3, he worked his way up to 7. I was impressed, having never seen more than 4 attempted at a time. And here he was doing 6 while running.
He amped the crowd up, only for the show to be slowed back down by the jaw dropping contortionist. This man spun and twisted his body in ways that made the audience gasp, yet stare in awe.
He was followed by more acrobats on swings. Their apparatus rotated on the stage swinging back and forth. Then one after another they all took a leap and spin of faith, landing two feet flat on the other side.
And then it ended just as it started, with everyone on stage, singing, making music, and dancing. Followed by each feature performer taking a bow.
Overall this was a great show, one I would recommend. Theatrics, edge of your seat entertainment, and a mix of stunts and humour all rolled into one fast paced show. There was plenty here, yet it left me wanting more; enough to make me want to watch all the other “Cirque” shows that will come to town, years after. Recapping it in words it sounds like a lot, but watching it in the moment it felt like it ended all too fast. My girl friend and I will definitely be making this an annual thing.
Plaza of Nations Marina – Lot #499
811 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6Z 2R6