There are many wonderful parts about writing the entertainment beat for a Central Florida newspaper, but one of the best parts is getting to experience something you’ve been writing previews about for months.

Cirque du Soleil first announced it was bringing its touring big top show LUZIA to Orlando in 2018. And when opening night made its way to Orlando, I got to see the show for myself.

LUZIA — A Waking Dream of Mexico brings you into a world somewhere between dream and reality. The show is set in 10 different scenes, all representing the Mexican culture and heritage, with backdrops and props to stretch the imagination.

The scenes take place from the extreme of the desert to the ocean. 

“What’s happening on stage is what creates the environment,” said Cirque du Soleil LUZIA Publicist Charlie Wagner. 

And she’s right. The show uses projection, lighting and even water elements to set the scene. 

I’ve been to a handful of Cirque du Soleil shows in the past, and one of the things I discussed with Wagner during a behind-the-scenes preview of LUZIA the day before opening night is the diversity throughout all of Cirque du Soleil’s projects. 

LUZIA is unlike any Cirque du Soleil show I’ve seen. It’s vibrant, colorful and truly fun. And it’s the first show to be themed to and celebrate a culture. 

While the show itself is amazing, what’s truly unbelievable is that this traveling show comes with its own venue. As a big top show, it roots back to the very beginning of Cirque du Soleil, by bringing its own venue everywhere it goes.

The big top shows began in 1984, and have featured 16 other productions. At 17, LUZIA is the first big top production to make its way to Orlando.

The big top and its community equates to about 2,000 tons of equipment, all traveling the country in 65 trailer trucks. This includes the 62-foot tall big top, its capacity of 2,600 seats, the entrance and VIP area, as well as the backstage areas (including the “artist tent,” which features a gym, lounge area, costuming, a laundry room and more). 

Everything takes eight days to build and two and a half days to break down, giving the artists a week off in between each show.

Laura Biondo is just one of the 46 traveling Cirque du Soleil artists and performers cast in LUZIA. An experienced soccer player, this is Biondo’s first time performing for Cirque du Soleil.

“In this show I am part of the football dance act, where we juggle with a soccer ball,” said Biondo, who was invited by Cirque du Soleil to be part of the show, after being spotted at a competition. “I knew this (skill) way before coming to the show. I played soccer my whole life, transitioned into soccer freestyle and now I’m here.”

You can see Biondo and the rest of the talented cast of Cirque du Soleil’s LUZIA right here in Central Florida, at the Florida Mall. 

LUZIA — A Waking Dream of Mexico is happening now through April 21. Tickets can be purchased online at www.cirquedusoleil.com/luzia. Free memberships are available through the Cirque Club — which offers benefits like advance tickets, special offers and exclusive behind-the-scenes information. 

For more information about Cirque du Soleil, its shows and the Cirque Club, visit www.cirquedusoleil.com