surinenglish

Excitement as the Cirque du Soleil comes to town

Acrobats during the opening night show.
Acrobats during the opening night show. / Ñito Salas
  • Adrenaline and laughs are core to the new show, Kooza, which will be in Malaga for the next month

  • Performers announced the circus's arrival in Malaga with a tour of the city's attractions in their colourful costumes

"How fun! Look at that man dressed in a suit of armour!" says a grandfather to his grandson as they pass through Muelle Uno, Malaga's marina development.

The man is actually a wearing wire mesh which protects him a little as he twists and turns in the air night after night while hundreds of people watch with bated breath below. He is one of the performers in Kooza, the show which heralds the Cirque du Soleil's return to Malaga, from 13 September to 13 October.

While the blue and yellow big top tent - the company's original - was being set up on the fairground, the characters from this world of fantasy toured Malaga at the end of last week to announce that the Cirque du Soleil is in town.

They form part of the circus's 20th show, a production which revives the essence of the original circus: adrenaline and laughs.

With a simple, yet effective set design, the 'chest' of Kooza (as it means in Sanskrit) opens with impressive circus acts, with the clown enjoying an important role. This comes as no surprise, as Kooza was originally written and directed by actor and clown David Shiner in 2007.

Now the Canadian company has raised the level of danger, with astonishing acts at great heights which keep the audience on tenterhooks until the very end.

Caution

"You are always fearful and cautious because it is very dangerous, but when the curtains open you have to concentrate. You have too look after one another for eight minutes, and, during that time, there is no longer any fear. There is a lot of adrenaline," said Ángelo Rodríguez, who has spent 16 years up on the Wheel of Death, one of the most hair-raising acts. While the Wheel of Death rotates several metres above the ground, the Colombians Ángelo and Ronald Solis run and almost fly from one part to another, as the audience watch on, astonished, from below.

The circus performers pose in front of the city's Roman theatre and Alcazaba.

The circus performers pose in front of the city's Roman theatre and Alcazaba. / Pedro J. Quero

They are playing with fire. In fact, a few years ago, Ronald suffered a fracture after he fell from a height of nine metres - without a harness of any kind; and he split open his lip when he hit the wheel during the premiere of the Spanish tour in Valencia, all because of an error of judgement. He finished the act without anybody realising what had happened.

They talked to SUR while dressed in their devil costumes next to the Pompidou cube, where they were met by the mayor of Malaga, Francisco de la Torre, and the councillor for Culture, Noelia Losada, before starting the tourist route through the city.

Also present was Miguel Berlanga, who plays the clown in Kooza, and is one of the three Spanish performers in the show, alongside acrobats Vicente and Roberto Quirós.

Born in Valladolid, Berlanga has spent three years touring the world with Cirque du Soleil. "Montreal, Santiago de Chile, Australia, Singapore, China, Seoul, New Zealand ... and now at home," he said.

Berlanga is responsible for the laughs of the audience in a show in which the clowns take on a significant role, introducing the rest of the performers. "We are doing what we enjoy. The reaction and applause of the public is so fantastic. It's what gives me life," Berlanga added.

Talita de Lima, a Brazilian acrobat who performs in the Teeterboard act, agrees. "Each time I go to Brazil on holiday for two months, I just can't wait to return and take part in a show. It's a way of life," she said, explaining that every single day is dedicated to training so that she can one day "reach perfection".

Dressed and made up in full costume, the performers crossed the Parque de Málaga, making their way from the Pompidou to the Picasso birth house. As they posed next to the famous statue of Picasso in Plaza de la Merced, they were recognised by passers-by from the posters, leaving Malaga with no doubt that the circus has come to town.