Monday, December 3, 2012

Cirque Du Soleil Kooza


This past week I had my first Cirque Du Soleil experience and it was A-M-A-Z-I-N-G. Kooza is now in St. Petersburg, FL in the Tropicana Field on select nights through December 16th. I was lucky enough to be up front, in the center of the stage for the best performance I have EVER seen. I have been running around like a 6 year old little girl who just spotted a unicorn since I left Kooza. All of my friends have now heard about it and are buying tickets.
 
So, what is Cirque Du Soleil Kooza? I have asked friends in the past this same question and never really received a decent answer. I now know why. Kooza is unlike anything you have ever experienced before. I have been describing it as a combination of theater, the circus, a comedy and a concert. The official description is "KOOZA™ is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil ® that combines two circus traditions —acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor."

Let's talk costumes. There were so many amazing costumes featured in Kooza. There are more than 175 costumes and 160 hats in the show—1,080 items in all, including all the shoes, props, wigs and so on. That is a lot of costumes! My favorite by far was the "Trickster". His two costumes and makeup were unbelievable:

Jean-François Bérubé, Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

OSA Images, Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt © 2007 Cirque du Soleil Inc.

Every costume is made individually for the artist. The Kooza costumes are designed by Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt and she included some very cool features in some of them. 

• Marie-Chantale had percussion instruments made out of molded carbon for the Skeleton costume. They look and sound like bones when the performers hit them against each other to create a musical rhythm.
• The “Bad Dog” costume proved to be another huge challenge because the performer wearing it has to be able to move the dog’s ears, stick its tongue in and out, dribble and wag its tail.
• The “Rat Cape” is a costume that creates the illusion that rats are running down a performer’s body before disappearing into a trap. This would be relatively easy in a film, but it’s a lot more difficult to achieve live on stage. Following a long period of trial and error, the final Rat Cape costume is made up of 150 fake-fur rats with crystal eyes to catch the light. The running effect was inspired by the mechanism of vertical blinds and several of the rats are fitted with little wheels to make them seem even more alive.

All the costumes worked beautifully with the show and the set. Two of my other favorites were the above mentioned skeleton costumes and the costumes for the "Wheel of Death" performers (they were designed to make them look like birds with layered feathers on the legs).


The set itself was incredible. The "sails" (large pieces of flowing fabric) were lifted and it looked like a flower opening up as the Bataclan (a giant tower that hosted the band at the top) was brought forward. The effect was stunning. You can see the sails and the Bataclan in the back of this picture:


As far as actors and performers go, the "King" (sort of a clown-type character that is your host for the evening) had me laughing like crazy. I had no idea that Kooza would have so much audience participation. He also was full of very hilarious surprises. There is also a hairy large dog involved, but you will have to see the show to find out about that. It was nice because the clown/ king bits were mixed in with the more circus-like acrobatic performances. It kept you from getting bored throughout the show.
 
Performers include:
 
 Charivari (above picture):
The House Troupe burst into action at the top of the show. The act highlights include human pyramids, bodies flying through the air and a “crash bash”—a daring dive into a circle of fabric inspired by the “Nalukauq,” the traditional Inuit game of “Blanket Toss” and the landing mats used by firefighters.


Unicycle Duo:
A twist on the classic unicycle number introduces a passenger to the action. The two performers create a pas de deux in constant motion around the stage in a combination of balance, acrobatic control, physical strength, choreographic grace and a spirit of partnership.

Balancing On Chairs:
The equipment is as simple as it gets: eight chairs and a pedestal. But in this act, the artist uses them to create a 23-foot tower on which to perform a balancing act that displays the human body at the very peak of condition and muscular control.

Contortion:
Young performers work in harmony and unison to bring a new approach to the art of contortionism. What sets this number apart is the artists’ innovations in movements and positions, their speed, and the way they work as a team to create tableaux of sculptural beauty.

High Wire:
The twin high wires are suspended 15 and 25 feet above the stage, and the four tightrope walkers add their own tension to the 6,600-pound load on each rope. Their expert ability allows them to perform feats in the air that most of us would find difficult to do on the ground.

Hoops Manipulation:
A hoops act with such a high level of difficulty is a rare demonstration of skill, and the KOOZA artist is one of the best in the world. Combining fluidity of movement, physical contortion, exceptional balance and impressive dexterity, her performance is out of this world, whether she is spinning one, two, three, or even seven hoops simultaneously.

Teeterboard:
The Teeterboard flings artists into the air, where they execute quintuple twisting
somersaults—and that’s just the prelude for acrobats doing the same thing over 30 feet above the stage with double and single metal stilts strapped to their legs.

Solo Trapeze:
The trapeze is installed stage left to stage right—a Cirque-created innovation. But the act goes beyond the stage setting and the artist’s display of physical mastery. There is drama in her different personalities as she interacts with the Trickster, and that adds even more dynamic undertones to the visual thrills and delights.

Wheel of Death:
KOOZA’s 1,600-pound Wheel of Death rotates at heart-stopping speeds, powered only by the two artists who leap and counter-rotate in a death-defying display of fearless acrobatics and astonishing teamwork. Like the High Wire, the Wheel of Death is positioned diagonally, stage left to stage right, in order to break with the usual symmetry and bring the action as close as possible to the audience.

All of the acts were amazing. They did a lot of things that I would never even think were possible (and I have been to the circus a lot). They took what you would typically think of each act and brought it up a few notches. My favorite was definitely the Wheel of Death. The performers definitely had my heart pounding. They were leaping on and off and around the wheel like crazy. I also loved the Teeterboard and the High Wire act a lot. The High Wire performers even jumped over each other...in the air...on a wire. Wow. The Balancing on Chairs was also really neat. The performer literally stacked up the chairs and climbed on top of them one at a time until he was at the ceiling and it was leaning over. Then, he was doing different poses at the top. I really enjoyed all of the acts. There are some very talented people in this show. 

Last but not least, all of the music in Kooza is performed Live! The Music was gorgeous and flawless. It flowed perfectly with the acts and what they were doing. At different parts through the show you could see the musicians. There are six KOOZA musicians who play live music during
each performance: trumpet, trombone, bass, drums, percussion and keyboard. There are also two singers who sing live during each performance. The music of KOOZA is inspired by the sounds of western pop culture, from 1970s funk to full orchestral arrangements to Indian music.

Basically...this show rocks (metaphorically and literally). I still get excited thinking about it. I was a little worried that it would be too long, but when it ended I didn't want to leave. I'm tempted to visit again before they leave St. Petersburg; but I don't think my Husband would let me. Visit Kooza online for your tickets (on sale now!), to look at photos, watch videos and more. There are shows every Wed-Sun through December 16th. There was also an additional performance just added for 3:30 p.m on Thursday Dec. 13th! Make sure you do not miss this show.


Disclaimer: All pictures and details were provided by Cirque Du Soleil Kooza. I was provided with a pair of free tickets in exchange for this post. I was not compensated in any other way. All opinions are completely my own. Thanks Kooza!

51 comments:

runningbetty said...

My daughter enjoyed it so much, she left asking if she could go to clown school instead of college.

This is my 4th or 5th Cirque, and they don't usually have audience participation. This show had a much lighter, clownier feel to it than the others I had seen. The one in Orlando is very grey and industrial and intense. Brian likes that one even more.



Kat @ S and F said...

I still haven't seen a Circue show yet!

NenaS said...

This show looks amazing! I haven`t had the opportunity of seeing any of the Cirque du Soleil shows yet, but I hope to change that!

candigrl_cv said...

this is like wow i have always wanted to see this, just amazing and so glad you shared this with us ;)
Dorothy Boucher
@tisonlyme143

Stephanie Phelps said...

I have been wanting to see one of the shows forever and my husband was so not wanting to and kept asking what is and I could never give him a good description so when I saw your review I had him read it and now he would love to see it as well so thank you!

TreasureToday said...

I had my first Cirque Due Soleil experience two years ago. What a treat that was. Your review brought back some great memories and makes me want to go to another show.

darlene miller said...

i really want to see a cirque du soleil kooza someday.i have it in my to do list ,before i die. to me its a beautiful show,just watching preveiws is all ive done as of yet.

Terri Herman said...

Thanks for the review. My husband and I will check this out when they come nearby.

Holly Trudeau said...

I never know what to make of the Cirque shows lol, it's like an amazing acid trip! We saw Mystere in Vegas awhile ago & the acrobatics were just amazing but the fat man dressed as a baby was a great big "huh" ?I think you need to have a few glasses of wine beforehand then it'll all make sense ;) I recommend going to any of the show just for the pure "wow" factor, they'll do tricks and stunts you didn't think were humanly possible! Thanks for the review, hope to catch it if it ever comes be me :)

HarleyC said...

I would love to see this show! I hope it comes to my area!

Jennifer Jordan said...

I have been wanting to see this show!

Sherry Butcher said...

This is one of the best in the world. Would love to see it, but I
am living in NM. Thanks for Sharing.

Marissa Poon said...

Would love to see this myself. Hope they go to my area soon. :]

Shelley Paige said...

I happened to see a few of these characters in full gear just walking through my hometown downtown...Obiously, we took it as a photo op and that photo still hands on our wall!!

Stephanie Larison said...

Wow loving the makeup, they did a amazing job. It looks like a blast. Hopefully I will get to see this some day. Thanks for the great review!

Denise Taylor-Dennis said...

I've been to Cirque du Soleil two times it is truly amazing. I would love to go again some day.

LAMusing said...

I love love love Cirque - I've seen 4 of their shows over the years. The last one I saw was KA.

Holly Trudeau said...

Love Cirque shows! Saw Mystere & O in Vegas & they were both amazing! They are definitely trippy shows! The acrobatics are mind boggling, definitely must sees!

jenzen69 said...

wow amazing review. The rat cape sounds like something my boys would love. I wish I were close to where they performed

kathy smith said...

Wow! I would love to see one of these shows. Your review was great. Thanks for sharing your visit to the show.

Don said...

Great Post! I've always wanted to go to see them! I've only heard good things about the shows, I am planning to get a big group of friends and family to go see them sometime this year thanks for the detailed post!!

Karen Chayne Sanchez said...

Wow! they look so funtastic! My family and I did not experience watching a circus like this! I hope Cirque Due Soleil will also be performing here in our place.

bill elliott said...

My daughter loves clowns and will enjoy this post very much. I am going to print it and pass it on to her. Thank you.

Donald Poole said...

Wow! This show looks amazing. The costumes are incredible. I can't wait to see it.

randy fulgham said...

I AM WANTING TO GO SEE SOME OF THIS IF IT IS A CHANCE TO GO CLOSE TO TEXAS

doodlebug said...

I've seen Cirque de Soleil on tv but have never been fortunate enough to see it in person. I have heard it is amazing. Thank you for the wonderful review.

candigrl_cv said...

can you image having to do all the make up , wow that has to be a job in itself.. thanks for sharing @tisonlyme143

Julia Soriano said...

Thank you for all the detail. I'll tell my son who lives in St. Pete.

Lisa R said...

I heard this show was awesome i would love to see it

sibabe64 at ptd dot net

Sarah B said...

I have always wanted to see a Cirque show. The one time I had tickets, it was an outdoor theater, and it rained. The show was cancelled and not rescheduled. So bummed

Jessica Houston said...

I want to go!!!!! Need to start wining these $$$ giveaways so I can do things like this!!

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

sounds like such fun. ( :

Chelesa sims said...

i have never been to one of these shows but i have heard they are amusing

Kathy Idol said...

I have been wanting to see them so bad. Thanks for sharing this

desitheblonde said...

i would love to see this sound great

Jo Ann Moffatt said...

Thanks for your review of Cirque. I am a Canadian and am ashamed to say that I have never been to one of their performances. They recently laid off several performers and I hope that they will not fold before I get a chance to be amazed by them. I have watched them on TV but I would imagine seeing them live is much better.

Alliejean said...

I would love to see a Cirque show live someday!

Alisha R. said...

Cool costumes

Carla Bonesteel said...

I have been dying to see a Cirque performance for years! The tickets are so expensive, and the timing has never been right, but I am going to see them before I die...bucket list!

Bayle Stoneback said...

always wanted to go! awesome!

tstasko said...

This never comes to my area but I saw a Cirque show in Las Vegas. It truly is an experience. You did a good job describing something that is so difficult to describe

sheila ressel said...

I didn't get to see this one unfortunately but I have seen 3 of their other shows. I'm always amazed at the talent these performers have and really enjoy the shows along with the music.

Maddie Klingaman said...

Cirque comes to the NY area a couple times a year, but I find that the cost of the tickets is well beyond what we can afford. I've heard that going to FL to see the show and for tickets is MUCH less expensive.

Tania B said...

I still haven't seen a Cirque Du Soleil show yet. This sounds like a great show but I understand that most of the Cirque shows are amazing. Thanks for this!

Intimate Indonesia said...

The show is seems as a great attraction!

Peggy Greco said...

I haven't seen the show but have heard great things about it!

Maddie Klingaman said...

I so want to see Cirque in the worst way! I hope to someday!! Everytime I see it on telvision I get goosebumps and the beauty of it just makes me giggle and cry! It's spectacular!

Bonny Sallee said...

I have always wanted to see one of these shows! Maybe on my next trip to Vegas! Thanks for sharing!

Vostra (Anna Wang) said...

I've always wanted to go to Cirque du Soleil - I think that the acrobatics and the face makeup is AMAZING! <3

Theresa Wilson said...

Wow, this looks absolutely amazing. I have only been to a few local circus' in my area ever and they were not that great. This looks like it would blow me and my family away. Totally Blown away!

krystel warden said...

wow that sounds and looks like fun