Circus, Interrupted: Watching an Accident at Cirque du Soleil

Longreads

I’d been leaning forward in my seat, hands over my mouth, for the entire show. This was the premiere for Luzia, a Cirque du Soleil performance inspired by the culture, history, and nature of Mexico. The acrobats were dressed in white costumes decorated with pale turquoise and coral-colored flowers; the women in flared skirts, the men in long sleeves and full length trousers, a band of turquoise painted across their eyes. I followed the swings, back and forth, acrobat flying between them. There was an impossible flip down to the leading edge of the opposite swing. The music was loud, the lights bright on the center of the stage.

Then she fell. She went down like a plank, right on to her back. The acrobats gathered, then the stage crew, until she was surrounded by people dressed in black. At the back of the stage a woman dressed like a monarch…

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