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Cirque du Soleil Set to Sparkle in the Mexican Riviera

by Margaret Nichols
EDGE Media Network Contributor
Thursday May 22, 2014

World-renowned entertainment group Cirque du Soleil, in partnership with luxury resort developer Grupo Vidanta, has unveiled plans for its newest and perhaps most distinctive spectacle, JOYÀ, set to open November 8 in the Riviera Maya.

The excitement was palpable as details were revealed earlier this month, showcasing the unique design properties, concept and vision behind the project, which has been five years in the making and hopes to attract nearly 5,000 guests per week.

"We believe the entertainment offerings for our region's guests and visitors should rival any in the world," said Grupo Vidanta founder Daniel Chávez Morán. "Through our partnership with Cirque du Soleil we will deliver an entertainment experience beyond what currently exists in Mexico or the world in the Vidanta Theater in Riviera Maya. This entirely new category of entertainment will be an experience one must see, hear and taste. We are extremely proud to bring this dream to life."

An Immersive Spectacle Awaits

JOYÀ combines culinary and performing arts in an intimate theater setting to engage the audience’s five senses.

"This is a new experience in the Cirque du Soleil concept," said Morán. A first, they will be featuring a new "creative collision of cuisine and immersive performances." Award-winning Culinary Designer Alexis Bostelmann of Grupo Vidanta, has custom designed a menu, pairing and integrating with the story to offer a multisensory, immersive experience, unlike anything in the world.

Drawing on Mexico’s history and heritage, JOYÀ tells the story of an alchemist and his granddaughter embarking on a transformative quest to uncover the secrets of life. Through their wonderfully disorienting journey they will discover a hidden gem in the mangrove, passing along the poetry of love and life to future generations.

The creative team’s intention is to present JOYÀ as an uplifting show, suitable for families. The name is rooted in the Spanish "joya" meaning jewel or pearl, and alludes to a person or event of great value. Through the performance, the alchemist and his granddaughter, a five-year-old girl, will discover joy and wisdom by sharing an extraordinary experience in an unlikely place.

Daniel Lamarre, President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil explained the necessary components in deciding to create a new project. "We have to be sure first and foremost we have a creative challenge. If there is no creative challenge, we won’t do it. What we are talking about is a first for Cirque du Soleil - it will be totally integrated - the first time we will have a home in the middle of the forest... Our second criteria is, can we work with a partner?... We need passion, we need emotion."

Embracing Local Culture for a Global Audience

This passion and emotion was evident in the quiet, strong enthusiasm of Daniel Chávez Morán. Although the announcement took place on the stunning grounds of the Grand Mayan Resort, Morán was quite clear the theater was not built to funnel people to the resort, which is already at capacity the majority of the year. Instead, it looks to be a new experience for both visitors as well as locals, incorporating themes of authentic Mexican culture and heritage while dazzling with the innovation and drama for which Cirque du Soleil is well renowned. A heart-centered intention of service was evident as the inspired creators spoke of JOYÀ. The team was clear on wanting to bring a global brand and exclusive experience to the Riviera Maya for all to enjoy.

Arturo Hernandez, chief architect for Grupo Vidanta is behind the 600-seat theater, specifically designed as a permanent residence for JOYÀ. "The 13,000-square-meter exterior environment evokes a grand cenote, over 130 meters in diameter, setting the mood for attendees as they make their way to the theater for the dinner and spectacle."

The theater itself is fluid in form, integrating the surrounding natural environment into the design and the experience. Its palapa roof evokes a great flower or palm frond, with the lush jungle penetrating the theater’s interior space.

Using all natural organic materials and rooted in inspiration of traditional Maya architecture, Daniel Chavez described the project as "imminently green." Lamarre added, "The theater will melt into nature." Hernandez designed the theater to deliver a level of intimacy between audience and performance never before seen in a Cirque du Soleil show.

Along with Stage Director Martin Genest, JOYÀ will bring together a team of 15 creators and 24 artists in a performance that will captivate audiences of all ages. If previous history is any indication of demand for Cirque’s innovative artistry, best to secure tickets now. What better excuse for a Mexican vacation?

Performances begin November 8 with an official opening scheduled for November 21, 2014. Tickets are currently on sale through 2015.

Go to to order.
Or call 1-844-247-7837 (U.S. & Canada) or 1-800-247-7837 (Mexico)

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