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Cirque du Soliel’s “Kooza” Takes Stunts to a New Level


Cirque du Soliel’s “Kooza” opened this month at Bicentennial Park in downtown Miami. The familiar blue-and-yellow striped tents made their annual appearance on the shores of Biscayne Bay a couple of weeks ago, signaling to the residents of South Florida that the Cirque was once again in town. Cirque du Soliel seems to be one of the few events that is not a rap or Latin music concert that consistently sells out in this city. And one trip under the Grand Chapiteau leaves no question as to why.



“Kooza,” like most other Cirque du Soliel productions, is a collection of the world’s best acrobats and stunt artists performing unreal feats to upbeat music.  But what set “Kooza” apart were its stunts. Yes, Cirque Du Soliel always has people performing feats that you know you could never do. But the producers of “Kooza” seemed to have said “Let’s take all those things we’ve done before, and bring them to the next level.”


It begins with the contortionists, who take the usual body bending act and stack themselves on top of each other. Then move while doing it. The unicyclist and his female partner do the usual band of tossing unicycle stunts, then throw in spins around the cyclists head.  The chair stacker stacks chairs near to the ceiling, then does a hand stand on top of it. You get the idea.

The tightrope walkers were the best example of the stunt one-upmanship when they not only rode bikes across a tightrope, but then balanced another walker on a rope in between the bikes. Then he got on a chair. Then he stood on the chair.

The “Wheel of Death” was also something I’d never seen. It was basically a couple of guys dressed like Bane from the Batman movies in these hamster wheels. The wheels were on opposite sides of a pendulum, kind of like the galleon ships at the carnival. So the momentum of the wheels caused them to rotate on top of each other. Then one got out and started doing flips on top of his wheel while the pendulum swung. Just stuff you can’t imagine a human being having the ability to do.



But while the stunts at “Kooza” were far and away the most difficult and unfathomable I’d seen, the show also featured something else I hadn’t seen at the Cirque: Mistakes. More than one act failed on a stunt. The performers shrugged it off, attempted it again, and completed it every time. And with this kind of degree of difficulty, I wasn’t even surprised. Harder stunts would lend themselves to more errors.


The next-level stunts also made the rest of the show drag a little. The clowns – the first ones I’ve seen speak English at a Cirque show – had skits that were too long and not very funny. And the non-stunt performances were rather forgettable. “Kooza” seems to be a show that is all about stunts you’ve never seen. And whatever’s left seemed a little neglected. But while the sections between stunts are not very entertaining, the “wow” factor of the rest of the performance makes this year’s Cirque show a definite must-see.

Related Categories: Miami: Things to Do,

About the Author: Matt Meltzer is a featured columnist at Miami Beach 411.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer.

See more articles by Matt Meltzer

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