Cirque du Soleil returns to Santa Monica
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Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Kooza’

Mike Tyus, portraying a trickster character, leads performers into the ring in Cirque du Soleil’s traveling production of “Kooza,” being presented through Nov. 29 under a big top adjacent to the Santa Monica Pier. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Hey, gravity: phhhfffft. High-wire performers seem to taunt the laws of physics. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Cirque’s multitude of shows in Las Vegas tend to play around with flashy toys, but in the traveling “Kooza,” the focus is on human dexterity. And/or balance, as seen in this high-wire act. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Performing a stunt like this is sort of like getting to Carnegie Hall. How? Practice, practice, practice. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
It’s called the Wheel of Death. Nuff said. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
A “Kooza” contortion act. Don’t try this at your morning yoga class. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
As per usual, Cirque du Soleil’s visuals employ pretty much every color in the paint box. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Among the characters scampering through the world of “Kooza” is a mad king played by Ron Campbell. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Stephan Landry portrays a young clown known as the Innocent, who sets the story in motion when he opens a mysterious package and its contents spring to life. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Even under normal conditions, a unicycle is difficult to master. Yuri Shavro is able to balance himself and Diana Aleshchenko. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Darya Vintilova keeps her eyes on the trapeze bar. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Zhang Gongli’s ta-da moment in a Chinese chair act. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Stephan Landry, portraying the Innocent, goes from bystander to acrobat. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
Mike Tyus’ trickster character, and all of the other wondrous inhabitants of “Kooza,” are at Santa Monica Pier through Nov. 29. After the holidays, the production moves to Irvine. (Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times)
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