Too often on the weekends, Zags remain inside the Gonzaga bubble, failing to capitalize on the offerings of downtown.
While the Logan may contain wild nights that make for hilarious stories down the line, branching beyond frequently traveled roads can be a well-needed breath of fresh air. Spokane contains and attracts numerous positive surprises, like when Cirque Zuma Zuma performed on Friday at the Fox Theater.
Cirque Zuma Zuma encompasses aspects of African culture, with performers from more than five different countries. Those who have attended previous circus shows often describe it as an African-style Cirque du Soleil, however, this comparison fails to acknowledge the originality of Cirque Zuma Zuma. Admittedly the majority of the tricks are common to typical circus shows, but the manner in which Zuma Zuma presents them changes the game completely.
Every performer brought something new to the stage while still maintaining the same high energy of those prior to them. Shows composed of individual acts allow for audiences to easily scope out differences in passion and confidence.
The Zuma Zuma troupe moved around the stage with ease, interacting with each other and the audience. There was no time for wandering minds, as dips in professionalism never occurred.
Part of the high energy and vibrancy of Zuma Zuma resides within the costumes of the performers. Bright colors and complex patterns draw the eye directly to the performer. The outfits consisted partially of traditional African garments, bringing different pieces of the world to the Fox Theater.
It felt as though the audience had been invited into a family-friend’s home, creating a sense of familiarity and respect between both entities involved in the show.
Upon first glance, the simplistic backdrop seemed off-putting, given that the production quality of most stage shows exceeds expectations. Often, strained relationships among the performers are compensated for with bright lights and stellar art. Zuma Zuma had no need for ornate adornments and embellished backdrops. The talent alone carries the show.
The performers in the show exhibit a trust unmatched by other stage shows. They relied solely on their partners to keep them safe during complicated tricks. One specific act containing acrobats required one partner to balance in the air upside down by resting his head upon the other partner’s head. Essentially, the partner in the air placed his entire body weight into his partner’s head, trusting the strength and balance of his counterpart. A lapse in support or one misstep would easily send the partner plummeting toward the stage floor.
Athleticism is crucial to these acts. The Zuma Zuma troupe had to embody traits of both a cast and sports team. Captivating an audience while simultaneously running up and down a free-standing ladder demands skill.
Two hours passed in what felt like a matter of minutes. I found myself yearning to spend more time with Cirque Zuma Zuma, clinging to the feelings of exhilaration and awe. Although I can never claim to know African culture, I am grateful for the glimpse I received and would easily attend another night of thrills.
Nicole Glidden is the opinion editor. Follow her on Twitter: @NicoleGlidden16.