I only have vague memories of visiting the circus as a child, and I’m not sure if those are real or imagined. I’ve longed to watch a circus show for some time now, so when planning this Disney World vacation, Todd and I decided to purchase tickets to Cirque Du Soleil: La Nouba. The largest theatrical producer in the world, Cirque du Soleil is a Canadian entertainment company that combines global circus styles and continual live music to create jaw-dropping performances. La Nouba is the company’s show in residence at Disney World, running 90 minutes without an intermission in a custom-built theater since 1998. The ticket hints at the show’s grace and eccentricity, and the seat plan below demonstrates the layout of the theater. We sat in section 103, Row D; I think any seat would have offered a good view, but we did have to crane our necks a little bit for the aerial performances.
La Nouba derives from the French phrase “faire la nouba,” which means “to party” or “to live it up.” The show’s two main characters, humorous clowns named Pablo and Pablo, start their act before everyone has taken their seats, running around the theater and bashing people playfully on the head. The clowns returned to the stage between each act to provide some comic relief from the more serious performances. The show itself explores the clash of the circus world and the real world, and what happens when the two begin to merge. Fittingly for Disney World, it concerns opening one’s imagination and curiosity to the world of the bizarre. According to the official show description, “La Nouba is the story of all stories, the site of all mysteries, where dreams and nightmares sleep side by side. La Nouba is memory, individual and universal.”
I enjoyed each of the acts in turn, and it’s hard to say which left me more amazed. Each piece seemed to push the limits further than the one before, from the walkers on the high wire, to the cyclists who seemed as though they would fly off the stage, to the trampoline performers who ran up the sides of a building on the set. The aerial ballet featured dancers who held onto red curtains of silk with only while hand while twisting and twirling through the air. My favorite act had to be the trapeze artists, who gracefully leaped from one swing to the other, holding on only with their arms, catching each other and then releasing each other in perfect synchronicity. It’s so hard to describe the magnificent performances of this show. Each act featured stunning, colorful costumes and talented performers, and I can only recommend seeing it for yourself. I even bought the DVD version of the performance once it ended so that I can watch the stunning feats again once I return home.