Cirque du Soleil Meets Mexico

JOYA Theater in the Riviera Maya

 Courtesy Grupo Vidanta

By all accounts, Cirque du Soleil is enjoying an ongoing love affair with Mexico. In 2014, the groundbreaking Canadian circus company debuted JOYÀ, a permanent show housed in a custom-built theater in the Riviera Maya. This year they opened LUZIA, a touring production inspired by Mexico. And at present, the company is also in the design phase of a special park in the Riviera Nayarit which is scheduled to open in 2018. Read on for more details about the Cirque du Soleil's various tributes to Mexico.

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JOYÀ: Cirque du Soleil in the Riviera Maya

Cirque du Soleil's JOYA
Courtesy Grupo Vidanta

Cirque du Soleil's JOYÀ offers a unique sensory experience combining theatrics, acrobatics, music, food and drink, in an inspiring setting of a custom-designed and built theater. From the outside, the venue's architecture is inspired by the natural forms of its surroundings, evoking the idea of a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis. Inside, the 600-seat theater has a set designed to look like a naturalist's library. The show, inspired by Mexican culture, tells the story of a teenage girl who gets caught up in her eccentric grandfather´s search for the secrets of the jungle, leading her to embark on a journey into the heart of the Mexican rainforest.

The show features a gastronomic component with creative menu offerings that combine Mediterranean influences and Mexican ingredients and reflect the themes of the show. All aspects of the dining experience are artfully designed to merge with the rest of the experience, and everything is custom-designed, even to the place settings which were hand-created by artisans from Tlaquepaque, in the state of Jalisco.

JOYÀ is the result of a collaboration between Grupo Vidanta, a Mexico-based resort developer with the Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil and the theater is located on the grounds of Vidanta Riviera Maya, south of Cancun between Playa del Carmen and Puerto Morelos.

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LUZIA: Mexico-inspired Cirque du Soleil Show

Cirque du Soleil's Luzia
Courtesy Cirque du Soleil

Cirque du Soleil has also created an original touring production based on the culture of Mexico. Its 38th original production, LUZIA was presented for the first time under the circus's Big Top in the Montreal Old Port in April 2016 and will continue in Toronto in summer and fall 2016 before moving on to venues in the United States. The show's title is formed from a combination of the Spanish words luz (light) and lluvia (rain).

With a soundtrack and storyline inspired by Mexico, the set design takes spectators on a journey that encompasses all of Mexico's dualities, passing smoothly from an urban setting to the natural world, from the past to present, from tradition to modernity. With references to Day of the Dead, hummingbirds, the Tarahumara, cenotes, the rain gods, papel picado, and lucha libre, as well as the migration of the Monarch butterflies, the show evokes a wide variety of Mexican cultural elements to tell a unique story. The show's soundtrack is particularly noteworthy: composer Simon Carpentier wrote the score incorporating distinctive Latin American rhythms and sounds, including salsa, cumbia and huapango. 

The Cirque du Soleil's Luzia website invites the public to "discover LUZIA, where a waking dream transports you to an imaginary Mexico. Experience a wondrous world that inspires you to explore your senses, enveloped in light and nurtured by rain."

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Theme Park in Riviera Nayarit

Cirque du Soleil Theme Park in Riviera Nayarit
Courtesy Grupo Vidanta

Again in collaboration with Grupo Vidanta, Cirque du Soleil is in the process of designing yet another tribute to Mexico: a ground-breaking theme park in the Riviera Nayarit, on the Pacific coast just north of Puerto Vallarta. The park will doubtless offer a completely new and different experience to travelers, which will combine aspects of a water and nature park and will also feature a night-time show.

According to Grupo Vidanta: "Visitors will be immersed in a new and magical realm full of surreal structures, strange characters, spectacular rides, and unexpected experiences. The park will feature three in-park resort hotels, each themed, as well as a full Cirque du Soleil show and water park experience." The park will be located in Nuevo Vallarta, at Vidanta Nuevo Vallarta. Still in the design phase, the theme park is scheduled to open in 2018.

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