Cirque du Soleil review: Luzia a spellbinding love letter to Mexico

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Cirque du Soleil contortionist Aleksei Goloborodko has extremely flexible work arrangements. “The secret to my flexibility is consistency,” the Russian performer told the Herald Sun. “There’s an expression — ‘use it or lose it’, and it applies to my discipline 100 per cent.”

Goloborodko is one of many highlights in Cirque du Soleil’s new show, Luzia, which had its Australian premiere at Flemington Racecourse on Wednesday.

Set in an ‘imaginary Mexico,’ Luzia is a delightful journey through culture and nature, showcasing Cirque’s famous acrobatic performers, including hoop divers, jugglers, trapeze artists, aerialists, breakdancers and footy.

“It’s a love letter to the Mexican culture,” Luzia’s artistic director Grace Valez says.

In a Cirque first, Luzia also incorporates rain.

To achieve a tropical downpour during the show, a ‘rain curtain’ in the ceiling of Cirque du Soleil’s Big Top sends 100,000 litres of water to the stage below.

The water is captured in tanks under the stage, then filtered, heated, and pumped back up to the ceiling to continue the rain cycle.

It marks a truly beautiful moment in the show as cyr wheel and trapeze artists flex their skill and athleticism in a tropical downpour.

Cyr wheel performer Sarah Togni, says: “The rain is beautiful. It’s warm, so we feel refreshed. After all the cardio and sweating, we get a little shower on stage.

“But the image the rain creates, with the lights and everything, it’s so beautiful.”

The Luzia travelling roadshow consists of 124 people, including 47 performers. There are 26 nationalities in the show.

Other standouts in the Luzia show included performers dressed as hummingbirds jumping and flipping through hoops — all while on a stage-length treadmill — and the lightning-quick moves of juggler Cyril Pytlak.

Jerome Sordillon was spellbinding as he ascended from a pool, spinning and twisting on aerial straps, with the water spray creating its own work of art.

Clown figure Eric Koller was the perfect ringmaster, and guide of the Luzia story, especially a segment where he used only a whistle to boss around a hapless stranger in the front row. On opening night, his ‘victim’ was singer Kate Ceberano.

Elsewhere, Luzia was a vibrant and colourful homage to magical Mexico. The sets and music are joyous and celebratory.

Cirque du Soleil's big top takes shape

“The audience went crazy. It’s pure joy to perform for such people,” contortionist Goloborodko said.

“Sometimes, crowds are more calm, more classy. Here, in Melbourne, they exploded with applause.”

Cirque du Soleil’s Luzia deserves every ovation.

It plays in Melbourne until May 26 before showing in Adelaide from June 9 to July 7, Perth from July 25 to August 25, Brisbane from September 25 to November 3 and Sydney from November 24 to January 27.

Tickets: cirquedusoleil.com/luzia

Originally published as Cirque du Soleil review: Luzia a spellbinding “love letter to Mexican culture”

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