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Alex Woo worked his way from competitive kung fu to Cirque du Soleil

Alex Woo with his father and grandfather at Walt Disney World.
Alex Woo with his father and grandfather at Walt Disney World.

When he was 11, Massachusetts native Alex Woo traveled with his family to Las Vegas and went to Cirque du Soleil’s “KA.” He said he “fell in love” with the show and told his father as soon as it ended that he wanted to be just like the martial artists in “KA” when he grew up. Woo, 26, who lived in Winthrop until he was 5 and then moved to Natick, began studying martial arts as soon as he returned home and became a standout in the competitive kung fu tournament scene. In recent years, his focus has been on the performance aspect of martial arts, and in 2015, he auditioned for Cirque du Soleil. He did not make the cut, but after a few more years of hard work and dedication, he tried out again in 2018 and this time made it. Woo, who attended the University of Massachusetts Boston, and was working in security at Tufts Medical Center prior to being hired by Cirque du Soleil, is in the troupe’s new production of the ice extravaganza “AXEL,” which comes to the DCU Center in Worcester Dec. 5-8. “The show is awesome,” Woo said, adding that fans will love the high-energy performance that combines world-class ice skating and stunning acrobatics — all mixed with pyrotechnics and lasers. “I’m looking forward to my whole family coming, my friends, the people I’ve trained with [at kung fu], my old co-workers from the hospital. … It will be really cool.” We caught up with Woo, who lives in Boston when he’s not on tour, to talk about all things travel.

Favorite vacation destination?


My favorite vacation destination is Disney World. I first went there with my whole family when I was just an infant. Disney World became a huge part of my childhood, as I would go once or even twice a year with my family.

Favorite food or drink while vacationing?


Every time I’m on vacation, I always must scout out the best Asian food restaurants. I love trying out new places to eat, but for the most part, I’m on the hunt for the best sushi or best Korean barbecue restaurants in the area.

Where would you like to travel to but haven’t?

I would love to travel to Tokyo. Besides Montreal I haven’t traveled outside of the United States. Many of my friends say Tokyo is an amazing place for a vacation, so based off their recommendations — and what I have seen on travel TV shows — I’ll put Tokyo on the top of my bucket list.

One item you can’t leave home without when traveling?

My phone. Technology is one of the biggest things nowadays, especially if you need to get to places and contact people. In case of any emergencies, or if I need to get to places via Uber or Lyft, I need to use my phone.

Aisle or window?

This is a tough question for me. I love a window seat because I can see the sky — especially when I’m taking a red-eye flight and I can watch the sunrise. I find my mind drifting off in a poetic daydream when I see something beautiful like the sun rising. An aisle seat is ideal though if you need to use the washroom. When you’re sitting in a window seat, you have to worry about disturbing the people sitting next to you when getting up.


Favorite childhood travel memory?

My favorite childhood travel memory is when I was about 11, I went to Las Vegas with my family and we went to see Cirque Du Soleil’s show “KA” for the first time. I fell in love with this show as it beautifully combines martial arts and acrobatics in one amazing production. After watching the show, when my dad asked me what I thought about the show, I told him that that is what I want to do when I grow up — that I want to be like the martial artists in “KA” when I’m older.

Guilty pleasure when traveling?

My guilty pleasure when traveling is cheating on my diet. I love trying out new places to eat, and when I’m on vacation, I feel like I am able to eat whatever I’d like, even if it’s not the healthiest for me.

Best travel tip?

Always arrive early for everything — especially when taking a plane to your destination. The last thing you need is to be late and miss your flight, because that just leads to potential delays in your vacation. I always like to arrive at least an hour early before my flight so I have plenty of time to rest before the plane ride.