Seattle native Kelly McDonald performs in the Mexico-themed show, which also incorporates water. The shows take place from March 30-May 2 in Redmond’s Marymoor Park.
Cirque du Soleil is bringing its newest traveling show, “Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico,” to Seattle from March 30 to May 21. And Seattle-native Kelly McDonald is thrilled to be bringing the show near her hometown.
“I have been performing after my competitive career as a gymnast for about 10 years now, but never in Seattle, so I am excited to come back home and to show ‘Luzia’ and Cirque du Soleil to my hometown and to all the people that helped me to get to where I am now,” said McDonald said, who competed on the University of Washington’s gymnastics team.
After retiring from gymnastics in 2006 and moving to Spain for a year, McDonald began her performance career at a resident show in Las Vegas where she learned acrobatic and performance skills different from her gymnastics background. (Athletics is more rigid, she said.)
Cirque du Soleil: ‘Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico’
March 30-May 21, Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway N.E., Redmond; $35-$290 (877-924-7783 or https://www.cirquedusoleil.com).
In 2015, she auditioned for “Luzia” as a way to get feedback on her skill level. She jumped at the opportunity when she was offered a contract. Seattle is the fifth spot on the show’s touring schedule. In her main act, “Adagio,” McDonald is used as a human jump rope.
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“I’m a flyer, and there’s three male performers so they get to throw me around. It’s a very poetic and emotional number where I am able to move through very technical skills, but in a smooth way that is different than sports or different acts you’ve seen before,” McDonald said.
In addition to her flying role in “Adagio,” she also performs in a group pole-dancing act and as an understudy for a solo trapeze routine.
“Luzia” is inspired by the culture, history and art of Mexico. The troupe is incorporating water into this show, which has posed a new set of challenges for performers, creators and technicians. Changes in weight, vision and grip had to be taken into consideration when incorporating the rain curtain. McDonald’s understudy trapeze role is performed in the water.
“The equipment feels different, and you can hear the audience react differently because of the sound of the water. The way the light hits the water, and the way they’ve done the lighting behind, you can see silhouettes that are in the rain that are unimaginable. So to feel that and to be able to be flying when you go through the rain is a great feeling,” McDonald said.
“Luzia” follows a traveler through a dreamlike world that resembles Mexico. Each act is an ode to a specific time or aspect of Mexican culture with strong themes of light, music and color running through the entire show. The set and costumes are designed to focus on one theme and assigned a specific color combination and Mexican symbols to tell a story within the bigger production. Some of these themes include, Mexican plants and wildlife, Mayan culture, football, lucha libre, Day of the Dead, peyote, speed juggling and fiestas.
“I think it takes you on a ride as the main character discovers his journey through our Mexico that ‘Luzia’ represents. So there’s funny parts, and there’s more emotional parts, and there’s parts that reach you in a way that you may not expect from Cirque du Soleil or acrobatics …,” McDonald said.