It takes a village to raise a tent for Cirque du Soleil

By Steve Hyde


Steel cables, fire-resistant vinyl, 80 workers and lots of muscle raised the 52-foot “Grand Chapiteau,” the signature yellow and blue tent that will house Kooza, this season’s Cirque du Soleil show running Feb. 25-March 28 at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. The major team effort to erect the tent in the fairgrounds’ parking lot is referred to as “The Push,” and is a sure-tale sign the circus is in town.

Kooza promises to captivate all ages with fourth-generation tightrope walkers, mystical costumes and gravity-defying acrobats and the “art of clowning.” Cirque du Soleil’s shows have become a local tradition with Kooza touring San Diego, in its 18- city stop.

According to press materials advancing the show, Kooza tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world.

Kooza is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions — acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful melange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.

The Innocent’s journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster, the Pickpocket, and the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.

Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, Kooza explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power. The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.

For tickets

  • $40 to $250;

student, military and senior discounts at