Derrived from the Spanish word for “joy”, Alegria was first presented by Cirque du Soleil in 1994. Taken individually, the various circus stunts that are performed like trapeze, contortion, hand-balancing and fire-knife dancing are undoubtedly spectacular. But what distinguishes Cirque du Soleil from other stage shows is that the stunts are all interwoven to create an elaborate (and exotic) narrative.

In Alegria, the over-arching themes are youth and power, with some of the performers representing the old guard who struggle to retain their positions of privilege and authority in the face of relentless pressure from energetic  youth who are driven to succeed them.

Fleshing out the narrative arc are ornate costumes, sets and props, along with a new-age musical score by Rene Dupere that blends French, African and Mediterranean influences.

Alegria opens tonight at Brandt Centre, and runs July 27-Aug. 1. Tix range from $56-$108. For more info, call 1-800-970-7328. And to give you a taste of what’s in store if you do decide to attend, here’s a link to the trailer for the show..