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Costumes & Characters
    "One of the things we wanted to do with Dralion is to have people rediscover the power and importance of the four elements. We take them for granted in our daily lives. Values have been displaced. Maybe one of the goals of Dralion is to help re-establish a connection with the elements." - François Barbeau, Costume Designer

The primary source of inspiration for the costumes of Dralion come from China, India and Africa. The palette favors vibrant, solid colors - far from pastels - while the shapes are guided by the artists' movements and choreography. Working closely with the Director and drawing his inspiration from the mythical fantasy world of Dralion, François Barbeau set out to create costumes that reflect the distinctive features of the four elements and the families of associated charters. "Basically, the costumes are simple, and the accent is very much on color," says Barbeau, who won an Emmy for his "Dralion" designs. "The colors are very, very powerful — there are no pastels. When we deal with the element of water it is all green, because looking down at China from the airplane I saw many green lakes below, like pieces of jade." Fire is red, of course. The earth is represented with browns and ochre and reddish browns, and the air is blue. It's very basic, but quite sophisticated."

One challenge for Barbeau was making the shimmering, "sculptural" costumes durable enough to hold up well on tour: "The fabric is dyed in spectacular ways, but each piece is designed to last," he states. He adds that typically a performer will wear five different costumes in the show, and must make presto offstage changes so the visual spell is never broken for audiences.

  The male singer's headdress is inspired by one discovered in China. To create the texture on the front of the costume, little plastic soldiers were glued on and then molded into different shapes.
Over 5,000 metres of fabric were used in creating the costumes. The fabrics come from regions around the globe, including China, the United States, Italy, France, England and Quebec. Natural and synthetic fabrics such as silk, lycra, velvet, leather and cotton blend together harmoniously in Dralion’s costumes. Marrying a wide variety of fabrics helps ensure that the artists' specific costume needs can be met. Materials that might be considered somewhat unusual were used in accessories and to add finishing touches to costumes: horse hair, raffia, metal, window screen, emu feathers, crystal, styrofoam, plastic, fun fur, springs and even an array of hardware.


The Elements
    As the wheel of time turns, the universe, like the acrobat, searches for a perfect balance among the elements. Air, water, fire and earth assume human form and evolve into worlds defined by their own vivid colours.

    Azala is the Element of Air. She is the keeper of the sun and the guardian of immortality, watching over the heavens to protect all those who take to the skies. Azala is identified by the color of the skies -- Blue.

    Oceane is the Element of Water. With her exotic dance, she has the power to control all the waters of the world. You can itentify Oceane by the color of the waters -- Aqua Green.

    Gaya is the Element of Earth. She is warm, comforting and rhythmic. Her tribal dance echos the pulse of human life. Gaya is identified by the soils of Earth -- Brown.

    Yao is the element of Fire. He is a warrior and a shaman; the fiery demon's guide. Yao can be itentified by the color of flame -- Red.

Little Budda
    The Little Buddha is the chosen child. Although it possesses special powers that will allow it to eventually become an Âme-Force, it dreams of being just a regular child.
    The voices of Dralion sing an invented language to which only Cirque du Soleil holds the key. Their mysterious accents echo down through time: L’Âme-Force symbolises ultimate harmony between the four elements.
    Clowning in Dralion has been taken on by two distinct duo acts simultaneously - one using Michael Dallaire's co-designed segments for the show, and another using their own outside material. This has created a unique comedic experience for Dralion.

    The First Clowns

    Michael Dallaire may designed the clown acts for Dralion's premiere run, but Philippe Delaitre (Popo), Robert Jetté, Ben-Amar Djalal, and Aline Muhein did not last long in their roles and were replaced - at the latest - by the beginning of the Toronto run on July 29, 1999.

    Joe de Paul / "Giovanni"

    Each appearance of the diminutive Joe de Paul, aptly born on April Fool’s Day, was always eagerly welcomed with applause and cheers. His straight-faced double takes are priceless! Joe is squat and rubbery-limbed and loves to plop himself, babylike, into people's arms. In a comical display of polygamy, he repeatedly selects from the audience women who tower over him, draped veils on their heads and made each his bride - at least until show time. And during the show, when Joe runs afowl of a trio of Dralion's gods, he enlists the help of a reluctant audience member who's oder-eater's will... he hopes... offend them away. The duo's later spoof of the Aerial Pas de Deux artists is priceless. Not to mention the broom yielding Yao knock-off. While the role originated with Joe de Paul (1999-2001), the character has also been played by Blas Villalpando (2001) and Philippe Aymard (2001-2008, 2009-2010), amongst many others over the years. [A female version of Giovanni, nammed "Giovanna" was portrayed by Jessica Green in 2003.]

    Les Voila! (1999-2001)

    While Les Voila! were not the original comedic act for Dralion, the inimitable comic duo made up of Johnny Filion & Soizick Hébert have become the perennial favorites amongst fans. They get more laughs out of a bullhorn and a ukulele than should be allowed. Filion, with his too-short trousers, Coke-bottle thick spectacles and nervous Peter Lorre-like snorting laughter (think heavy breathing and/or snickering breathily) magnified by his ever-present megaphone, brings on belly laughs at every turn. And tall, reedy Soizick Hébert, with a wacky rotating topknot, is particularly droll as a cheerleader juggling weightless goassamer Day-Glo colored scarves - more challenging than it sounds - while accompanied and eventually distracted by Filion's frantic drum solo. Their duets are the comedic highlights of the show, especially when Filion starts strumming his contrabass like a guitar, then walks up one side of it and keeps playing without missing a beat. And when the duo show up one last time in a hilarious parody of the show's acrobatic excesses - from Hébert's lampoon of the vocalists to Filion's body-beautiful mockery of the juggler - it's a bright, light climax that defuses much of the pomposity of the ever-so-esoteric acts that have come before. The Cirque has a laugh with us at its own artistic pretensions.

    The Mad Italian Waiters

    John Gilkey was asked to replace Les Voila, who were leaving rather last minute, in January of 2001. He was interested only if he could create new numbers and work with a partner; Cirque agreed. John called up his friend Gonzalo Gonzalo Muñoz Ferrer in New York City and the two of them came up with a couple of new numbers within a week. After approval by Guy Carron, John and Gonzalo flew to Miami to be integrated into the show. They replaced two of Les Voila's acts with their new "Mad Italian Waiter" routines, and performed modified versions of the other two acts that were created by the original clown director. The acts that John and Gonzalo presented were, in his words, "out there" - and they really are.

    "Alberti" is a bald-headed man with a tuft of hair parted in as a comb-over. He is dressed in a suit and appears rotund (he has a belly). Attached to his left hand is a bowling ball, which he has a devil of a time trying to get off. His friend, "Vincenti" (Gonzalo) is a scruffy looking man with a suit that doesn't fit right, and hair sticking straight out in all directions from his head. One routine features one clown stapling clumps of hair (retrieved from various parts of his anatomy) to the other’s head. In another, the clown is repeatedly hit in the face by his protruding belly. The exaggerated motions he goes through (and replays in slow-motion) were enough to bring the house down. But the act turns from laughter to confusion when he "dies" from this apparent attack and his partner fusses over him. Eventually his stomach begins to glow and he "rises from the dead". At this point he began to ascend into the sky (via the rotating ring that is a prominant feature of the set). John Gilkey only performed for about six months before being replaced with Colin Gee, and both rolls have been filled by a variety of others over the years.

{The Elements}




{Little Budda}


{Johnny & Soizick}

{Johnny & Soizick}

{Johnny & Soizick}

{Joe de Paul}




{The Italian Waiters}

{The Italian Waiters}

{The Italian Waiters}

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