Her hair has secret powers.

Like a figure from some fairy tale, Argentinian aerialist Josefina Oriozabala descends from the ceiling of Cirque du Soleil's big top at a parking lot near the Mall of America secured not by a harness or straps but by a rope attached to her hair bun. She's like a Rapunzel of sorts, harnessing the strength in her hair as she does a balletic sky dance. When she spins into a blur, the crowd goes wild both for the beauty of the act and the questions it raises.

Like, how can she be held up like that by nothing but her hair? Are her scalp and follicles that strong? Does it hurt? Far from showing signs of strain or grimaces of pain, Oriozabala has a pleasant rictus throughout the act.

Her bit is the penultimate one in "Bazzar," Cirque du Soleil's latest show to come to Minnesota. The performance is striking but not new — Chinese aerialists have been doing similar work for more than a century.

In the decades that the Montreal-based company has pitched its own tents or brought its productions to area indoor arenas, its works have always had dreamy elements, with a hodgepodge of story lines, images and ideas that defy waking logic.

Some shows like "Amaluna," Diane Paulus' riff on Shakespeare's "The Tempest," exist entirely in a fantastic realm. Others, like "Ovo" or "Toruk," bear threads of elegance, whimsy and magic to go with visceral thrills that have become the hallmark of the company.

"Bazzar" is perhaps the most straightforward, even pedestrian, of the productions that Cirque has mounted recently in Minnesota. It's performed, as usual, by a mini-United Nations of acrobats who've bested their peers in talent contests in Asia and the Americas.

Performers include Rajesh Mudki and Kalpesh Jadhav, former competitors in the Indian sport of mallakhamb. The gymnastic sport features a wooden pillar as a focal point and athletes who slap their bodies against it as they show strength, balance and dexterity. Mudki and Jadhav are a seamless team in "Bazzar."

German acro-biker Florian Blümmel is impressive as he does a battery of tricks with his instrument, turning his two-wheeler into a unicycle that he rides backward and forward. And Brazilian strap artist Helder Vilela is a picture of grace and strength as he soars above the stage.

The "Bazzar" action is set in a mystical marketplace where the Maestro (Australian ham Steven Bishop) has had his hat stolen, perhaps by the Mini Maestro (Israeli juggler Sagi Bracha) or perhaps by the Floating Woman (Spanish aerialist Silvia Dopazo). He sets out to find it, encountering entertainers along the way.

Canadian couple Myriam Lessard and Mathieu Cloutier induce dizziness as they roller skate on a tiny round platform. Attached by a strap around Cloutier's neck and Lessard's head, they spin rapidly and achieve a kind of gravitational suspension.

He also spins her upside down so that her hair, like the tip of a brush, rapidly sweeps the floor. It's pretty, and pretty dangerous, as is true for many of the acts.

Cirque du Soleil always has live music in its shows, with singers often delivering in Esperanto and made-up languages. But "Bazzar" uses mostly English lyrics, and with soulful Slovakian singer Tamara Dikyova setting the show's mood, it sometimes feels like a concert interspersed with feats of dexterity and physical prowess.

It might not wow us in the same way as previous Cirque shows, but "Bazzar" still has its share of visceral thrills.


When: 7:30 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 3:30 & 7 p.m. Sat., 1 & 4:30 p.m. Sun. Ends June 16.

Where: Under the big top in the north parking lot at the Mall of America, Bloomington.

Tickets: $25-$159. cirquedusoleil.com.