KOOZA DAZZLED AT CIRCUIT OF THE AMERICAS IN AUSTIN
by Jerri Starbuck
The mission of Cirque du Soleil is to invoke the imagination, provoke the senses and evoke the emotions of people around the world. KOOZA (means ‘circus in a box’) is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil combining two circus traditions – acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The international cast features 48 world-class acrobats, musicians, singers, and dancers from 20 different nationalities.
The music is worldly and felt multi-genre and hard to pinpoint. Cirque says the music is inspired by western pop culture and traditional Indian music. It’s a unique set. The band sits on a very elevated stage with transparent screens- there’s a band leader, Carl, who ensures the music doesn’t miss a beat in connecting with the performers on stage. Six musicians play live music during the show: trumpet, trombone, bass, drums, percussion, saxophone, electric guitar, and keyboard. There are two singers in full gorgeous, blingy costumes that add a unique element to this circus! They stayed in the groove with all the dancers. My favorite singer’s costume was the rhinestone bling skeleton dress costume-loved it.
The Circus tent, the Big Top or the “Grand Chapiteau” looks massive but when you step inside the tent, through your curtain, it feels intimate and instantly reminds you of your childhood, going to the circus with your family. During the pre-show a clown sat down in an empty seat next to me with a big spotlight on us! “ Ah geesh” I thought. But he mostly wanted to throw popcorn on the ladies sitting in front of us.The show opens (and closes) with a boy in his striped pajamas with his kite. Several times throughout the show, a large floppy-eared family dog (a man in large dog costume) pops up on stage and at one point pees on an audience member for fun! This delighted the kids in the audience immensely. The first few acts were some of the most memorable including the Chinese Acrobat Trio- it’s truly amazing how they can twist and morph their bodies and stay balanced. The trapeze girl in stunning glittery red costume. The bicycle-tightrope act- no nets until the very end for big bike flips, double rope with balance rod, no safety-they risk their lives for our pleasure and entertainment. The cowboy sitting next to me in a Texas drawl says “NO! HELL NO!” Hilarious (but hush next time). Yao Deng Bo balances 8 wooden chairs more than 23 feet high and does a perfect handstand on top of it all.
“One of the absolute best shows that I have ever seen! It takes so much dedication for these performers and they simply took my breath away! You all have such a gift and I loved that you shared it with me. Moving and inspiring.”- a fan
Throughout the show there’s magic and chaos in the crowd as the cast and clowns run up and down the aisles chasing each other with lots of slapstick humor. You never know what’s going to happen next. The cast clearly has a blast. A very popular piece of the show, not my personal favorite, was a Halloween-New Orleans themed act with dancers and acrobats wearing glowing skeleton costumes and other spookiness on stage. Like circuses you remember, a popular thing to do is pull innocent audience members onstage only to humiliate themselves. My favorite was Chris. Chris was so darn cute, willing and didn’t seem bothered by the silliness he had to partake in. Overall it was a spectacular, entertaining show, full of surprises for all ages.The KOOZA Tour heads next to Vancouver and then overseas for the 2016 Tour. For more information, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com/KOOZA and enjoy!