There is a big top tent set up next to Citi Field, all the way at the last stop on the 7 train in Queens. If you make it all the way out there, prepare to be mesmerized. Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico,” pulls out all the stops—including Mexican wrestlers, “papel picado” and monarch butterflies. Along the way, you’ll catch your breath with feats of great daring, surprise, and flexibility.
During the two-hour-plus show, audience members will travel “from an old movie set to the ocean to a smoky dance hall or an arid desert, Luzia cleverly brings to the stage multiple places, faces and sounds of Mexico taken from both tradition and modernity.” I’ve seen Cirque du Soleil twice before (most recently “Toruk”, which I reviewed for Brooklyn Based in 2016). This show completely outdoes the other performances. You’ll start with tricks on a treadmill where acrobats jump through high hoops as deftly as trained seals and fly through the air holding a string. The circular stage spins slowly, giving every seat a good view of the action. And there is no shortage of eye candy: the entire air space in the tent fills with color and flight, including a massive waterfall that is a technical masterpiece, at one point flooding with designs and adding dimension to the acts. Another highlight is a romantic date with an impossible highwire act; the rope walker impresses a woman with a drooping rope and serious agility. Fútbol fans are in luck when young soccer stars engage in some unbelievable dance moves with a soccer ball seemingly glued to their feet. How that boy does not drop the ball will remain one of life’s great mysteries.
This is all leading up to the second act where you will literally have to pick your jaw up off the floor. Animal puppetry abounds and armadillos, iguanas, snakes, narwhals, fish, and giant horses set the stage for magic. Appearances from moving singers or a full brass band keep your ears happy, while you clutch your neighbor’s leg and gasp at things you have never ever seen before. There’s the man in the Mexican wrestler mask swaying on a swing the height of a building, each time going higher and higher, building anticipation, until—like any parent’s worst nightmare, he flips over the swing. A beautiful dance by a man twisting on a rope with a realistically moving leopard. A juggler, accompanied by a tuba, who spins his pins so fast that they look like disks, and a contortionist who folds himself into beautiful shapes that don’t resemble a human at all. You won’t be able to take your eyes away for a second, except for when you squeeze them shut while you shriek. The final act is insane: acrobats jump from moving swings, twirling and whirling in the air, in highly synchronized timing, landing on another swing, trying not to plummet to their death. Your hands will be sweating, your heart will be racing, and, if you have kids, they will have a brand new career path.
In this day and age, when you can see the whole world in your Instagram feed, this show preserves the travel dream—when it is possible to leave your comfort zone, expand your horizons, and experience things you never knew existed.
Tickets for New York City performances of LUZIA start at $54 and are now available online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia. Kids under 2 are free but must stay on parent’s lap during show. LUZIA performs Tuesdays through Sundays. Citi Field and the LUZIA Big Top are easily accessible via the 7 train to Mets-Willets Point station, or by car.