Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Cirque du Soleil Returns to Del Mar Through March 28

story and photos by LEO E. LAURENCE

Copyright © 2010 by Leo E. Laurence • All rights reserved

Part circus and part theatre, a smaller-then-usual version of Cirque du Soleil is appearing at the Del Mar fairgrounds. It’s called Kooza.

The Canadian cirque, founded in 1984 in Montreal, is a blend of circus arts and theatrical per-formance. No animals are used; only sheer human strength and energy.

Cirque came from the street. Mimes, jugglers and stilt-walkers in a Quebec village banded to-gether in 1982 to create Club des Talons Hauts (High Heels Club). The name was chosen because they mostly performed on stilts, and many still do.

Militaristic marches and fanfares of traditional circuses were replaced with sometimes haunting, sometimes ethereal, original musical scores. Cirque is intent on being different.

There is no one Cirque du Soleil, but 19 different companies worldwide. The Elvis Cirque is totally different, but only appears at the Aria in Center City in Las Vegas. The show that appeared a few years ago at Del Mar was bigger and grander than the smaller Kooza, appearing there through March 28.

Indeed, in the first hour of the current show there are only two really stunning acts: female contortionists who bend their bodies in circles … backwards; and an act by several performers bal-ancing on a bicycle on a single high-wire.

The circus also has a formidable security staff of hard-nosed tough guys who will physically evict anyone they deem to violate so-called house rules, which aren’t posted.

Cirque du Soleil now has permanent homes in Vegas (the Elvis show), Biloxi, Mississippi and at the Walt Disney World Resort, according to its Web site. It’s a multi-million dollar operation.

Contact reporter Leo E. Laurence at (619) 757-4909 or leopowerhere@msn.com

Photo captions:

A balancing act at Cirque du Soleil at the Del Mar fairgrounds. Photo by Leo E. Laurence © 2010

A high-wire act at Cirque du Soleil at the Del Mar fairgrounds. Photo by Leo E. Laurence © 2010