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Hoop Diving
Icarian Games
Flying Trapeze
Straps (Athertons)

Aerial Strap Solo
Aerial Lyra

Rotating Hoop
Juggling (Pins)
Duo Trapeze
Trapeze Duplex
Horizontal Juggle
Aerial Rings
Roller Skating
Jump Ropes
Juggling (Balls)
Aerial Silks
Rola Bola




Costumes & Characters

The process of designing and creating the costumes for JOYÀ was as dynamic and exciting as the show is to watch. James Lavoie (Costume Designer) spent six months researching, sketching, and collaborating with the rest of the creative team. He then worked at the Cirque du Soleil costume shop in Montreal for six weeks, exploring different techniques, designing custom fabric prints, and, of course, sewing and cutting. Then in Mexico, he spent two months with 10 Cirque du Soleil costume makers, as well as several local tailors, to create all of the costumes for the premiere. "Finally, after almost nine months of preparation, filled with many ups and downs, from the snow of Montreal to the beaches of Riviera Maya, we opened," he said. "I remember a mix of emotions, but mostly pride, wonder, and joy.” (Some of the masks worn by Zelig’s masters have over 10,000 beads and jewels, each one glued by hand. It took over five months to create them.)

The time dimension of the show is meant to feel like a familiar past, but it is a past that corresponds to our future. For costume designer James Lavoie, it was important to show an evolution from the past to the future as Zelig passes on his mission to his granddaughter.

Some of the rich, textured costumes of JOYÀ speak to our organic, essential relationship with the natural world to which we are deeply connected. They contain the idea of oneness between humans and nature. The best combinations of technology (such as laser cutting and printing) and hands-on, artisanal techniques (such as hand painting on textile fabric, sewing and lace) were sought out to support the artistic intention of the designs.

For JOYÀ, Nathalie Gagne (Makeup Designer) used a lot of a white in the makeup concepts. She wanted to bring out the purity and light in the story. The two main characters, Zelig and Joya, have albinism. This is their family link – they are beings of the light. The Masters, underneath their animal masks, wear white makeup with lines to represent their animal family. This was done in a simple and graphic manner like a child’s drawings, as if Joya had drawn them in her notebook. For some actors, she applied special Swarovski crystals to their faces to capture the light and enhance their look. "After more than six months of preparation, we saw all the elements come together on opening night – artists in makeup and costumes, the lighting, dancing, and performances. We all, with tears in our eyes, felt an incredible sense of satisfaction from all the hard work.”

When looking at the five Masters, one can wonder if these characters are animals in weird costumes or humans whose heads have been taken over by animals wearing beaded amulets straight out of the Mayan codices (bark cloth folding books from the Maya civilization). Whatever they may be, The Masters are an intrinsic part of the story. Often half-human, they are all part of Joyà's imagination, taking the role of aide or obstacle in Zelig's quest of knowledge transfer.


Zelig, the Grandfather
    He is an aging natualist - a mix of Don Quixote, Charles Darwin, Faust, Leonardo da Vinci and other gret men brough together into a lovable character. He runs the naturalium and has made it his life's mission to collect all the knowledge of the world. His costume refers to a past mixedm in with contemporary and even futurist elements. Lavoie imagined what Zelig would be writing and drawing in his book of knowledge. The prints on his rich, multi-layered costume are inspired by scientific and naturalist drawings of different periods, from pre-Victorian to contemporary. A closer look reveals faded images of plants taken from old botanical volumes.
Joyà, The Teenage Girl
    Joyà is an atypical teenage girl, accompanying her grandfather on many scientific endeavors to great delight, but with her grandfather's health not as good as it once was, he passes on his mission to collect all the world's knowlege to her.
The Master of Entomology
    An entomologist (the Coati) is a scientist who studies the classification, life cycle, distribution, physiology, behavior, ecology and population dynamics of insects. A friend to all, the Master of Entomology is always having fun. A faithful companion, he serves with joy and good humor. The prints on the Entomologist’s costume are inspired by old drawings of insects.
The Master of Time
    The Master of Time (the Rabbit) is Zelig's First Assistant. Always seen with a a pocket watch, he is punctual, defends the routine and the organization of the Naturalium. He isn’t exactly known for his sense of humor. His costume features a sundial and meridian images.
The Master of Botany
    The Master of Botany (the Cat) is the guarian of the botanical garden. With her watering can, she cares for the plants every day. She loves dancing and her zest for life is a welcome daily pleasure in the Naturalium.
The Master of Archives
    The Master of Archives (the Peacock) represents authority and discipline, and is a kind of librarian of the Naturalium. She is known to fan herself emphatically whenever she is frustrated. She assesses, collects, organizes, preserves, maintains control over, and curates the archives in Zelig's collection. She knows Joyà well having overseen her education. The pleating on the side of the Archivist’s dress evokes the edge of a book.
The Master of Alchemy
    The Alchemist (The Ram) is a chemical philospher asserting his powers in the preparation of vast elixirs and transmutation of base ores into valuable metals such as gold and silver. He represents strength and the value of hard work. His courage and determination are well appreciated by Zelig and his companions. The Alchemist's costume features invented alchemy symbols based on the Fibonacci spiral, which recalls the longhorn ram head he is wearing.
The Master Physicist
    The Master Physicist (the Iguana) is a mysterious member of the group. Versatile and talented, she can work with her colleagues across all disciplines.
The Master of Water
    To create the Master of Water character, the coral effect on the hand-balancing artist’s costume gives the impression that her body has gradually been taken over by sea whips and other types of coral. It is the result of a long and arduous process of hand sewing pieces of fabric to create textures that could well be found in the natural world.

{Zelig & Joya}


{The Masters}

{Zelig, Joya, and Masters}

{Master of Entomology}

{Master of Archives}

{Master of Botany}

{Master of Time}

{The Pirates}
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