Our little entourage was tired from a day of school, work and after-school activities, but with tickets to see the premiere of Cirque du Soleil’s “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico,” we dug deep to find our second wind and rushed to the grand chapiteau.
One of the parking lots at Dodger Stadium, where “Luzia” runs through Feb. 11, has been transformed into a garden of sorts – from Blue Heaven to a haven of magical realism. While our 10-year-old sons ran ahead of us, my friend Katrice and I stopped to take in the view. Our families had seen UniverSoul Circus together a couple years earlier and were nostalgic to be under a big top together again. The boys posed with the butterfly woman on stilts at the entrance and my son’s friend Omari, already a seasoned basketball player, jumped high in the air to give her a high-five. Our laughter spilled onto the cool night air.
As the announcer’s voice boomed over the loudspeaker for everyone to make their way into the big top, we stumbled into the tent, wondering what “Luzia” was all about. As it turns out, everything.
With a cast of 44 artists from 19 countries, “Luzia” is Cirque du Soleil’s 38th production since 1984. Seventeen creators work under the artistic guidance of Guy Laliberté and Jean-François Bouchard. Inspired by the richness of Mexican culture, each image – a key, rain, butterflies, animals and an illuminated disc that hangs as a backdrop throughout the show – is thick with symbolism. The performers — from the clown to the contortionist that fascinated us and made our bodies writhe in disbelief — weave together a surrealistic story of love and the natural world.
“Luzia” melds the sound of luz, which means light in Spanish, and lluvia, which means rain. In our group, only Omari speaks a little Spanish, but we were all transfixed by this Mexican story. When the curtain of “rain” showered down in the middle of the stage, we gasped. The Cyr Wheel artists spinning under that rain kept our breath suspended, as did the aerialist who twirled through the water as easily as wind.
“Luzia” uplifts Mother Nature as something to be revered and celebrated. That is the dream. May we all be transformed by art that fills us with a sense of hope for the future while inspiring us to do our part in making the dream a reality.
Do not fret if you miss “Luzia” before its final show on Feb. 11 in L.A. It travels next to nearby Costa Mesa, where it will run Feb. 21 – March 18. For more information, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com.