Seventy At the Circus

Peter and I hadn’t been to the circus in ages. We figured we were just too old for juggling and clowns. But recently we got an offer where we couldn’t say no.

Our 3 young grandchildren were going to gather at our house. Our plan was to send them to the circus with their parents while we stayed behind at home to cook dinner and have a nap. But the parents had other ideas. It seems that They wanted to be the ones to stay home, (at our house) cook dinner and have a party! Well this was not just any circus; this was Cirque du Soleil. Peter had seen signs that it was performing in our neighbourhood about a kilometer from our home. It was time for us to join the kids and get educated about this troupe.

Agnes quickly googled the show, Kooza, and her attention was drawn to some contortionists and a couple of men in a large hamster wheel. Gavin wanted to know what snacks were available. Ben was skeptical: “I don’t want to see any more elephants!” Bit we promised him there would Not be elephants as he climbed into the van to join his cousins.

The show, on Lakeshore Road, is performed inside a big tent, with a smaller tent acting as an entranceway and mammoth snack bar. The kids stopped dead…Peter had to use his best bargaining skills to assure them we would return for snacks at intermission. Once seated, we discovered that the pre-show had already started. Goofy clown-like performers were interacting with the audience, enticing them onstage to hold ropes or perform other non-essential jobs, while the clowns “borrowed” their wallets or purses. Our kids were torn: did they want the thrill of being chosen to go onstage, or the safety of their seats with us?

Soon the lights went down and the show began with special effects: lights turned on with a magic wand, billowing curtains emerging from the shadows to reveal a 2-storey bandstand, and a big red box appearing with a body inside. The kids were stunned into silence.

As followers of Cirque du Soleil know, the acts were breathtaking. Three women in tight body suits twisted their bodies into contortions that Our bodies at 70 can’t even remember doing at age 3. A skimpily-clad woman executed incredible twists and turns around a scarf, high up in the air, and another delivered top-notch routines with several hula hoops at a time. The first half ended with four tight-rope walkers precariously bouncing along with several props, and then biking across the very high wire.

Then came another feat of agility – the race to the snack bar! Peter and I could hardly keep up with the kids as they ran towards their favourite treats: popcorn and drinks for 2 and ice cream for the third. They also mentioned hot dogs, but we convinced them that dinner was waiting at home, as we secretly crossed our fingers that the parent partiers had remembered to put the food in the oven.

The second act featured more show-stopping routines. An acrobat climbed atop one chair after another, rising several stories above the stage as he piled them up and up. Then he seemed to defy gravity as he balance on the top chair with only one hand, the rest of his body pointing skyward. It was gut-wrenching to watch.

The finale, the piece de resistance, was the hamster wheel, suddenly morphing into the WHEEL OF DEATH. A massive set of spinning beams with wheels at either end began rotating faster and faster as two acrobats ran counterclockwise, first inside the wheels and then on the outside; occasionally jumping, sometimes appearing to lose their balance, as the wheels sped up. The audience screamed in fear…and delight.

Then it was over.

At first there was stunned silence as everyone absorbed what we had just witnessed. Then wild applause and cheering. And finally heading home. The kids filled the silence of the van with their plans to climb on chairs piled high in their kitchens, and ride bikes outside on their clotheslines. Peter and I smiled to ourselves, realizing that nobody is too old for the circus.


Cirque du Soleil is performing Kooza in Toronto until June 18.

7 thoughts on “Seventy At the Circus

  1. We also went to see Kooza, our sixth time attending Cirque du Soleil. Except, we had no young fry to join us. Pure adult entertainment! Thanks for sharing your experience.


  2. Fabulous for you and yours! Cirque de Soleil is one of Canada’s Wonders. I saw Allegria live and was blown away by the creativity. And I saw another one on IMAX.


  3. Glad that you enjoyed it and thanks for the reminder to buy tickets. We’ve been Cirque fans for years but don’t always get there. We decided to get tickets for our anniversary for the 7:30 show. I hope that my worse half can stay awake!!


  4. Gavin wants you to know that he really enjoyed the circus. He really loved the hamster wheel, watching acrobats jump.



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