NEAR WEST SIDE — Cirque Du Soleil brings a little village of colors, faces and places of Mexico for "Luzia,"
under the big top at the United Center parking lot, 1901 W. Madison Street.
"Luzia, A Waking Dream of Mexico," takes the audience to an imaginary world without leaving their seat. From a beach to a movie set from the 1920s, to a smoky bar with dancers, "Luzia" travels through different scenery all while highlighting acrobatics.
"Luzia" is the first Cirque Du Soleil production to integrate water under the big top.
"I think we're definitely pushing forward the limits of what we can do under a tent," publicist Francis Jalbert said. The water "really makes us do acrobatics in a different way."
The production takes on a "contemporary feel" of Mexico, staged based off the director's feelings and emotions that invoked him while living in Mexico for 10 years.
The production team also includes Mexican set designer, Eugenio Caballero, who won an Oscar for Best Achievement in Art Direction for the 2007 film "Pan's Labyrinth."
"This is actually his first stage production he has created a set for," Jalbert said. "So all of the influences and the different textiles and techniques are really true to what he has lived in for all of his life."
With 44 performers from 19 different countries, some of the acts include a male contortionist and a Guinness World Record holder for fastest club juggling.
"Each of these people are unique at their specific discipline," Jalbert said.
Benjamin Courntenay, an aerial straps artist, plays Tlaloc, the God of Rain in "Luzia." Courntenay has been working with "Luzia" for the past two years, performing in 469 shows and counting. Performing in "Luzia" is his first time incorporating water in his performance.
"It was definitely challenging in the beginning, it makes your clothes really heavy, wet and slippery," Courntenay said. "But you learn to work with it and not against it."
The production includes original music composed specifically for the show with influences from Mexico, performed by six musicians and one singer.
"You can expect the brass, the trumpet, the trombone. We have a lot of percussions as well," Jalbert said. "It has a Latin feel."
"Luzia" is in town until Sept. 3, for tickets or more information visit the website.