Cirque Du Soleil Returns To San Jose

An acrobat poses during an act of Cirque de Soleil Luzia in downtown San jose
An acrobat poses during an act of Cirque de Soleil Luzia in downtown San Jose.

Cirque Du Soleil has made its return to San Jose with “Luzia.” With this new production Cirque uses Mexico as a backdrop for the same spectacular stunts and acts their fans have come to expect.

As usual, a clown acts as a guide through the show as his journey becomes the loose narrative tying all the acts together. Despite having some semblance of a storyline, this is a circus show through and through.

Much of the cast consists of acrobats of varying degrees and styles, but you’ll find many other circus staples as well.

Easily, the tensest moment of the show is when the contortionist twists and bends himself into unnatural looking positions.

This act is a perfect example of what sets Cirque apart from its other circus contemporaries. The contortionist found at Luzia is not the first of his kind, and one would think there are only so many new shapes someone can find to contort themselves.

Like much of the show, this act is more than the sum of its parts. Whether or not you have seen someone bend their legs back and fix their feet on either side of their head before, in the context of the show the act feels new and untried.

If there’s one complaint I can mount against this show, it’s the moments where I couldn’t decide where to look.

More than once throughout the show, there would be more than three acrobats performing separate acts on stage. They would end up performing just far enough away from each other that focusing on one meant missing the others. Inevitably, this would push my eye to whoever was doing the most potentially dangerous or impressive stunt.

The fact that I had to make that choice at all seems almost disrespectful to the individual acrobats performing acts they have spent months perfecting.
One of Cirque’s early claims to fame was the fact they were a decidedly circus environment without the presence of live animals. The same is true here, although animals are still present in the narrative tastefully represented by actors with props in costume.

A myriad of other props frequented the circular stage with each act, making it seem like an altogether different place in some cases. As the performers would work to replace each set piece with the next in between acts, clowns would appear again to keep the audience entertained.

Despite the fact they were clearly there to occupy the audience, the clowns never outstayed their welcome during any of their appearances, and always returned with a fresh piece of the story to push the show along.

What makes these shows worth the ticket price is the prowess of the performers, and Luzia is no different. Each acrobat stands as a fully realized example of the human form and its beauty.

You can go see Luzia in San Jose next to the Taylor Street Bridge until March 19 when they move to the next stop on their tour.