Cirque du Soleil’s Newly Designed
Big Top Show Has Arrived
Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, LUZIA: a waking dream of Mexico, has arrived to Houston with a newly designed white-and-gold Big Top at Sam Houston Race Park.
LUZIA is the first Cirque du Soleil show that will feature patterns that tie in with the theme of the show. The Big Top will seat more than 2,600 guests and the Mexican-themed patterns will showcase the meeting of two celestial bodies that are critical to the show: the sun and the moon.
As part circus, part adult theater, Cirque du Soleil is a whimsical experience, and LUZIA seems to be no exception. Recently, I was able to speak with Shelli Epstein, an acrobat and a leading character in the show. Epstein plays a running woman who wows the crowd with her butterfly wings, acrobatic skills and grace. Epstein discussed her role in the show and why people should see LUZIA.
JMG: How do you prepare for a big show like Cirque du Soleil?
Shelli Epstein: Actually before the show even started we had three months of training for specific disciplines, and the majority of us had a background in that discipline. However, sometimes Cirque may add their magic and you have to adapt and learn your discipline in an interesting scenario. But in relation to the show every day, I do a minimum of an hour of cardio and strength training and then before the show I have disciplines. We have the training session and then I do conditioning and stretching and preparation before the show.
Tell me more about your background. Were you a gymnast before Cirque?
I was a gymnast from the age of four. I was selected for the squad and I trained at a high level until I was 12-years-old. I then went back to more of a recreational level from 12 to 18 years old. When I turned 18, I left home and ran away with the circus, per se.
How would you describe the new show LUZIA?
Well LUZIA is the first show to have the magical water element. So that brings an extra pizzazz to the show. I’m biased, but this show is absolutely phenomenal. It’s vivid and vibrant in color. It’s a feel-good show and every time we go to a new city, I’m just so excited to perform for everyone because it’s really magical and special.
I can imagine. Every time I’ve been to a Cirque du Soleil show, the theatrics have been pretty incredible.
What have been some of best crowd reactions you’ve received in some of the cities you’ve gone to?
Well the fact that the theme of our show is Mexico, and that we’re now actually in Mexico, the premiere here was one of the most incredible feelings I’ve had as a performer. To perform for the Mexicans and for them to accept and embrace what we’re representing of them and their response is just unreal and that was really special. And the fact that we get to do that here is amazing.
What do you hope people take away from seeing the show?
I hope they take away a little bit of inspiration and that dreams are possible. When I was a kid around 12 or 13 years old, I said that’s what I wanted to do, and the fact that I get to do this as my job is a dream. And for anyone out there who wants to pursue it, it’s possible.
Is there one performance during the show that you would consider your favorite?
That’s a great question. There’s so many that I’m in love with. There’s one (scene) called Adagio. There’s a girl in a pink dress with three porters and she gets thrown around (in the air) that I really enjoy. We have this phenomenal contortionist. He will blow your mind.
LUZIA opens on Thursday, Jan.10, 2019, and runs through Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. For tickets and more information, visit Cirquedusoleil.com/luzia.
Sam Houston Race Park | 7575 North Sam Houston Pkwy W, Houston, TX 77064