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Queens Chronicle

Cirque du Soleil is flying high again in Flushing

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Posted: Thursday, May 30, 2019 10:30 am

The circus is back in town!

And it’s not just any circus; it’s Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based troupe that was founded in 1984 and has since delivered no fewer than 38 original productions including “Luzia — A Waking Dream of Mexico,” which premiered in 2016 and is being performed through June 9 under the Big Top next to Citi Field.

The show’s title is a combination of two Spanish words: luz (meaning “light”) and lluvia (meaning “rain”), two important elements of this presentation, which runs two hours and 15 minutes, including a prolonged intermission.

Not as lavish or as creative as might have been expected, the show is, nonetheless, a feast for the eyes and ears. It opens with a freefalling parachutist, who plunges audiences into a dream-like journey through various settings including the ocean, the desert and a jungle. Giant treadmills allow for interesting stage movements.

The requisite acrobat, trapeze artist, tightrope walker, juggler, and contortionist acts are all included here, and all are delivered expertly by a large and energetic cast, but very few offer anything that hasn’t been seen before.

What sets this circus apart from others is the unexpected juxtaposition of seemingly disparate elements. The juggler, for instance, performs in front of a marimba band, and an aerialist emerges from a pool of water to interact with a larger-than-life jaguar puppet, one of several animated animals that lend an exotic touch to the show.

And, this time around, there’s rain, lots and lots of rain, which is at first an astounding and unexpected sight but after a while, like several of the acts, becomes repetitious, as if the show’s creators ran out of inventive uses for it.

Following each shower, the stage must be dried, resulting in several “filler” acts. Several performances simply go on far too long, including one involving the impressive manipulation of a soccer-sized ball, and an interactive beach ball match between performer and audience.

Throughout the show, there’s a powerful connection to nature. In addition to the rain, there are nods to animals (including an armadillo and a stunningly conceived silver horse) and even plant life. Much of this is symbolic, in keeping with the Mexican theme.

As for that theme, it’s often easily overlooked, though it is more strongly evident in the second half of the show. The cultural significance of much of the proceedings is likely to escape most spectators.

Music is an integral part of this troupe’s repertoire, and in this outing it adds immeasurably to the overall feel, with a lively score, filled with the sounds of Mexico, that leans heavily on flamenco and cumbia beats. The brief vocal interludes blend hints of opera with the Latin vibe.

One of the most memorable performances comes from a contortionist who transforms his body into positions that are absolutely mind-boggling. And the grand finale, which unites all the characters we have met throughout the journey, is festive, indeed.

The costumes are colorful and widely varied, though perhaps not as lavish as in previous productions by this company.

Paid parking is available on-site, but anyone not using the lot should be prepared for a long walk. Golf carts are available for anyone in need.

‘Luzia — A Waking Dream of Mexico’
When: Through Sun., June 9
Where: Outside Citi Field, 123-01 Roosevelt Ave., Flushing
Tickets: $54 adults. cirquedusoleil.com

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