La Nouba has thrilled fans at Disney Springs since 1998, and although the original show is a Cirque du Soleil classic, it hasn’t rested on its laurels. New acts have rotated in over the years, and the latest two, B-Boy and Aerial Bamboo, recently made their debut, joining the rola bola and clown acts that started about a year ago to add a new flair to the show.
I recently had the pleasure of seeing the new show; here are my impressions:
I’m a long-time Cirque du Soleil fan, so I went in expecting to be wowed by the new acts. I didn’t have to wait long to see them, as B-Boy and Aerial Bamboo are the first two acts after the Pablos clown act. Be sure you’re seated at least 15 minutes before your scheduled show time to see the Pablos antics, and beware the pinata stick!
When the theater goes dark before the official show start, the announcement might remind you of the old sound booths at Disney’s Hollywood Studios. That’s followed by a parade of performers, which then segues into the acts. If you arrive late, you’ll have to wait until the parade is over to get to your seat.
B-Boy (breakdancing): This is the first new act, and the talented dancers will dazzle you with smooth and nimble moves. The only problem with this act, and pretty much all the others, is that there’s so much going on that you’ll miss things off to the side if you concentrate on the main performers and visa versa (did you catch the fire breather?). La Nouba is worth seeing more than once just so you can concentrate on the main act the first time around and then watch the peripheral activity on your second viewing.
Aerial Bamboo: This is the second new act, and judging by the frequent audience applause, it’s a big winner with its mid-air spins as the performers hang from a pole-like apparatus high above the ground. Watch for other things going on by the back wall of the stage, too.
Diablos (spinning spools): This is a popular act that you may have seen elsewhere, as it’s a theme park staple. That doesn’t make it any less spellbinding when you see what those young girls can do with spinning spools on string. I also learned something new; one of the girls missed a catch, and the performers off to the side actually have spare spools to hand over so they barely miss a beat.
Bicycles: This has always been one of my favorite La Nouba acts. The bikes seem like part of the riders’ bodies. I can’t even imagine being able to go up and down stairs bouncing on a bike’s back tire. Although I generally recommend sitting at least midway back in the theater to catch all the action from a wide angle, you’ll get extra thrills with this act if you’re sitting in the front row. You might even get called upon to participate in a stunt…if so, stay very still!
Aerial Silk: This act starts off with the aerial cradle, which looks like a door with two performers inside who “hang around” from a dizzying height. Then the red silk banners come down, and the performers climb, drop, glide, and generally thrill the audience (ladies, there’s some eye candy for us here).
Rola Bola: Rola Bola is another act I’ve seen at theme parks, but I still hold my breath every time. It involves an acrobat who builds an increasingly shaky tower of free-moving cylinders and balances on top of them. The little girl sitting next to me told her mother, “I can’t look! Tell me when I’ve over!” Thankfully, the performer pulled it off without a hitch.
Trapeze Act: The name of this one is self-explanatory. Trapeze stunts are a circus staple, and Cirque pulls it off quite well. I enjoy seeing the performers “dismount” from the trapezes almost as much as I like the swinging stunts.
Trampoline and Power Track: This finale act is a Cirque staple and a good example of how La Nouba benefits from being in a permanent, purpose-built location at Disney Springs. Long before I moved the Florida, I saw all the Cirque traveling shows in Chicago. While they were always impressive, La Nouba has that extra edge because of elements like the trap doors and the power track where the performers bounce high and do amazing acrobatics.
The Pablos do little transitional scenes between the acts, and I promise you’ll laugh at their clowning around and even let out an “awwww!” or two. The cleaning lady also comes out and makes a discovery that leads her to a triumph at the end of the show.
The show runs 90 minutes, with no intermission, and it goes by in a flash because there’s literally something happening every minute. I was seated with young kids all around me, and every one of them was spellbound. I give the new acts a big thumbs up, and I enjoyed the original acts as much this time as I have in the past. I also love the fact that La Nouba features a live band and vocalists. It adds a touch of class you can’t quite achieve with pre-recorded tracks.
Check out the video accompanying this article for an interview with the two Pablos and one of the singers, as well as some rare behind-the-scenes footage, and subscribe to my Examiner column for more interviews coming soon.
La Nouba has shows at 6 and 9 p.m. every day except Sunday and Monday. There’s plenty of great dining at Disney Springs if you want to combine dinner or stop somewhere for snacks and drinks later. Jump to this article to read about four of my favorite places to do that, and go here for my top five La Nouba tips.