Cirque du Soleil’s Iconic Show Comes to Town

Alegría Immerses Audience in Colorful Fantasy World of Power and Change

Article by Erica Hernandez

Photography by Marie-Andrée Lemire | Cirque du Soleil

Originally published in Cypress Lifestyle

World-renowned Cirque du Soleil will soon bring its gravity-defying acrobatics, stunning theatrical sets, and riveting musical scores to the Cypress area with a come-back show of its popular production, Alegría.

The show opens Feb. 29 under the iconic Cirque du Soleil Big Top at Sam Houston Race Park and runs until April 12. A modern remake of its 1994 show, Alegría has been shown in 250 cities and been seen by more than 14 million viewers during its 19-year run. Alegría has since been updated with daring acrobatic routines, elaborate new costumes, and music. The show depicts the quest for power, the shaking up of established order and how an emerging movement can inspire hope and change.

The show immerses its audience in a fantasy world where a once-thriving kingdom is in decay. The country is led by the former king’s court jester alongside a horde of decrepit aristocrats who seek to retain their influence by siding with the manipulative, unpredictable fool. The jester, Mr. Fleur, fancies himself as the legitimate heir to the throne and carries around the old king’s royal scepter. The aristocrats are portrayed with warped faces and tattered clothing to illustrate their selfish fear of change. They attempt to flaunt their power with high-flying acrobatics and human-tower building.

Street folk, known as The Bronx, portray stark a contrast to these forces. Energetic and literally wielding fire, they represent change and hope in a gloomy kingdom. Their acts include fire dancers who lick and juggle flaming sticks, gymnasts performing synchronized trampoline routines and freefalling aerial routines executed 30 feet in the air. Other characters such as angels, clowns, nymphs, and singers help The Bronx fully tell their story.

Alegría is Cirque du Soleil’s 44th original production since its founding in 1984. Tickets are available now starting at $44. 


Acrobatic Performances + A Look Behind the Scenes

CROSSED WHEEL A Bronx performs an act with a globe-like apparatus. The two intersecting wheels represent change is brewing in the kingdom. Using his own force to roll forward and backward, the artist becomes a human gyroscope as he performs fluid acrobatics inside and around. 

HULA HOOPS A Bronx mesmerizes the kingdom with her talent. Using all her limbs, the artist dazzles with her ability to spin and twirl a multitude of hoops.

SYNCHRONIZED TRAPEZE DUO Perched on side-by-side swinging trapezes, two artists perform intricate spins and breathtaking maneuvers in perfect sync.

FIRE KNIFE DANCE An artist demonstrates complete mastery of his craft. He doesn’t juggle with fire - he is fire. He eats, breathes, and touches the flames, while his sticks become virtual extensions of his body. 

COSTUMES It took more than 20,000 hours of work to put together the costumes of the show. Artisans in the costume workshop spent 300 hours making Mr. Fleur’s costume alone, which contains 16 feet of electrical wire. 

MAKE-UP Designers spent nearly 500 hours developing the make-up concepts and more than a thousand hours teaching the artists how to apply it to their own faces. Approximately 1,800 items are used in applying make-up: 1,500 brushes, 1 mile of foil paper, 12 gallons of coconut oil and 35 pounds of glitter. 

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