Grand visual surprises and breathtaking acrobatic performances steal the show as you take the kids on a trip to an imaginary Mexico—a sumptuous world suspended somewhere between dreams and reality—without ever leaving Chicago. Read on to hear about the latest from Cirque du Soleil that’ll leave you itching to visit our closest neighbor to the south.

A little bit about the show.
You’ll be on the edge of your seat as you pass smoothly between an old movie set to the ocean to a smoky dance hall or arid dessert. LUZIA brings to the stage multiple places, faces and sounds of both traditional and modern Mexico. And, a first for a touring Cirque production, this show enchants by incorporating rain into poetic acrobatic and artistic scenes that pay tribute to a rich, vibrant culture marked by breathtaking landscapes and architectural wonders.

Where does the name LUZIA come from?
There’s creative symbolism and hidden meaning everywhere you look in a Cirque show, and LUZIA is no exception. LUZIA is a combination of the words for light (luz) and rain (lluvia) in Spanish, two elements of nature that inspired the show’s creation.

More of the symbolism to look out for . . .
The show begins as you approach the gold and white big top, pitched in United Center’s parking lot. Now, here’s a little lesson in etymology you can share with the kiddos . . . it’s printed with patterns that evoke the association between Cirque du Soleil (the sun) and Mexico (the word originates from Mtztli, meaning ‘moon,’ and Xuctli, which means ‘middle’ and the suffix “co” referring to place, translated to mean ‘the middle of the moon’) and symbolizes the meeting of two celestial bodies: the sun and the moon. If you were to take a peek from above, it would reveal the path of the stars that spiral out from the center of the Big Top — the symbolic meeting point between earth and sky, sacred and human.

The show before the show.
This isn’t a show that’s held captive to a stage. You’ll be whisked away to an imaginary land as soon as you walk in the door and find yourself surrounded by Mexican dancers, musicians and skeletons with an unusual skill . . . stilt-walking. Throw down a little extra coin for the VIP ticket and you’ll have a special designated area (with food, drink and desserts) to spend time before the show and during admission.

How long is the performance?
LUZIA which is Cirque du Soleil’s 38th original production since 1984, runs two hours and five minutes, with a 25-minute intermission . . . plenty of time for a diaper change!  Because of the run-time, weekend matinee shows may be the best option for the littles.

Is LUZIA appropriate for tiny eyes and ears?
As is true for most Cirque du Soleil’s shows, LUZIA is meant to entertain the whole family. However, there are moments of loud noises and darkness that may frighten some, so just keep that in mind. Also important to note if you’re bringing along the littles, strollers are not allowed in the Big Top. Kids under the age of 2 enter for free, but must stay on a lap.

Is there food available?
There are concessions with plenty of circus-worthy treats to nosh at your seat on . . . popcorn, anyone? No outside food and beverages allowed, however.

Are there bathrooms?
Yep, they provide normal bathroom services with access to running water, so no port-o-potty diaper changes for you. Those who purchase the VIP ticket also have access to a private potty.

The fine print.
No photography of any kind is allowed, so leave the cameras at home and the iPhones in the holster.

Dates: July 21-September 3
Under the Grand Chapiteau at United Center
1901 W. Madison St.
Near West Side
Online: cirquedusoleil.com/luzia
Tickets: cirquedusoleil.com/usa/chicago/luzia/buy-tickets
Dates: July 21-September 3
Cost: $35 & up

Have you taken your kids to see a Cirque du Soleil show before? We’d love to hear about your experience in the Comments below!

— Maria Chambers

Photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil