Going Back to Its Roots: Cirque du Soleil’s Koozå


That is the word to describe Cirque du Soleil's Koozå.

As soon as I arrived at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds, I was filled with a sensory feast from Cirque du Soleil's Koozå.

Viewing Koozå on premiere night was especially spell-binding:

  • the sight of the majestic tents holding the flags of the host country, country of origin (Canada), provincial flag of Quebec, and 40th Anniversary of Cirque du Soleil,
  • the whimsical music of a small band of musicians (including my favorite instrument, the tuba!),
  • the wafting smells of popcorn and cotton candy which brought pleasant memories from past visits to fairs and circuses.

Perhaps most significant of the various feasts for the senses were the feelings evoked by my memories. The chill air of a spring evening raised goosebumps, as I remembered the sense of awe and fear (yes, fear!) of the wondrous spectacles that I would soon witness.

Celebrating Cirque du Soleil's 40th!

After being absent from San José for five years, the Cirque du Soleil's familiar tents are back in town.

I loved walking down the red carpet, pretending to be a movie star at a world film premiere!

I took advantage of the photo opportunity with the clowns and peacock-like stilt walkers near the entrance of the food and entertainment tent. The clowns, acting like circus barkers, immediately engaged me with their funny antics and jokes.

By returning to 2007's Koozå, Cirque du Soleil is returning to the very essence of its roots: the circus. Following the character, Innocent the Clown, audience members are immediately transported to a land much like Oz from the Wizard of Oz. Just like in the movie, the other major character, the Trickster, visually transforms the drab black and white Innocent into a much more colorful version of himself.

As Innocent wends his way through the world of Koozå, he is treated to awesome sights and sounds, in addition to death-defying stunts:

  • contortionists who bend and twist in ways that don't seem possible for vertebrates,
  • a juggler who uses a rope, rather than his hands to juggle pins,
  • acrobats and unicyclists whose leg strength seem to defy the very limits of human endurance,
  • second and third generation acrobats who traverse and leap over the twin wheels of death,
  • the chair and hoop manipulators who kept adding more props to their acts,
  • teeterboard acrobats and their incredible twists and leaps (even one on stilts,)
  • the amusing interlude of the Day of the Dead-like dancers, and
  • singers and musicians playing their hearts out on the Bataclan (I especially enjoyed the drum solo, as a marching band, aficionado!)

During stage breaks, the audience was engaged in the witty and energetic antics of the two clowns and their silly king. Especially memorable was the scene with the confetti cannons!

Eventually, Innocent is returned to his world, more knowledgeable and content with his existence.

After the show, my guide Julie Desmarais treated me to a backstage tour!

The Backstage Tour

My Koozå guide, Julie, met me after the show to lead me on a personal guided tour of the backstage.

Guiding me through the backstage area with its many props, Julie informed me that communication is key to a large stage production like this one. Every Koozå worker is electronically connected. A monitor in the backstage area shows what is happening onstage.

Here are just some of the things that I saw backstage:

  • a gym with weights and exercise equipment
  • costumes, including about a dozen industrial washing machines
  • make-up area

Amidst all of the after show backstage activity on premiere night, I noted the breadth of languages that were spoken. Julie informed me that there are thirty-four nationalities included in the show. I asked if there are language barriers, but she said that show workers pick up English and French on the job.

4,500 people work for Cirque du Soleil all over the world, with eleven concurrent shows.

Mentioning Ukrainian and Russian co-workers, Julie mentioned that just as she "has a family in Montreal," she also has a "second family" with the show workers. Joking around backstage and rushing around to help each other, it is easy to see how cohesive this second family truly is.

The Circus at the Library

If you are interested in attending an event like Koozå, the Library has some circus events during May and our Summer Learning Celebration:

  • Boswick the Clown at Mt. Pleasant, Saturday, May 4, 2024, 12:00pm–1:00pm
  • Summer Learning Kickoff with Slim Chance Circus at Biblioteca Latinoamericana, Friday, June 7, 2024, 4:00pm–4:45pm
  • Silly Circus Show with Bri Crabtree at:
    • Joyce Ellington, Thursday, June 13, 2024, 11:30am–12:30pm
    • Mt. Pleasant, Saturday, June 22, 2024, 11:00am–12:00pm
    • Tully, Saturday, June 22, 2024, 3:00pm–4:00pm

See Koozå at the Library!

Biblioteca Latinoamericana is proud and excited to be joined by performers from Cirque du Soleil's KOOZA!

Families are invited to join us for this truly unique experience where dazzling performers from Cirque du Soleil will join us for a special program, including a read aloud, selected by our librarian.

We'll also have some fun giveaways for all participants (while supplies last).

  • Date: Thursday, May 16
  • Time: 11:30 AM – 1 PM
  • Location: Biblioteca Latinoamericana Branch Library

Free and open to everyone!

Event Details

Get Free or Discounted Tickets to Koozå!

Get a Discount of 25% off for single tickets, and for groups of 10+. Please use the code SG20SJPL to receive the special offer.

Dream BIG and you could WIN tickets to Cirque du Soleil KOOZA!

UPDATE - Sunday, May 12, 2024: The contest has ended.

We partnered with our friends at Cirque du Soleil for a special and exclusive ticket giveaway! Two lucky winners won a family 4-pack to see KOOZA at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds on one of the following dates: May 15, 16, 17, 22, 23 or 24.


  1. Follow @sanjoselibrary and @cirquedusoleil on Facebook
  2. Visit any one of #SJPL's 25 locations, take a photo of yourself or family with a book that inspires you to dream BIG
  3. Post your photo in the comments and add hashtags #SJPL #KOOZA


  • Contest ended on Sunday, May 12, 2024.
  • SJPL staff voted and selected two lucky winners.
  • Winners were contacted via Facebook messenger on Monday, May 13.
  • Each winner received one family 4-pack of tickets.

More Books or Videos About Cirque du Soleil, Clowns, or Tricksters

Creative CourageClown Act OmnibusClowns for BeginnersSerious PlayDiscovering the Clown, Or, the Funny Book of Good ActingClowns & Tricksters