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A Special Event for the Milan Expo 2015

On October 3, 2014, Expo 2015 selected the Cirque du Soleil Special Events team (45 DEGREES), to create an engaging and unique show concept to be presented during the Universal Expo taking place in Milan, Italy from May 1 to October 31, 2015. “The colorful artistic circus will employ their graceful, acrobatic dancers to delve into the deep and complex ties between food and human existence at the Expo’s request.”

The 2015 Universal Exposition’s theme “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life” embraces culture, tradition, technology, innovation, nutrition, food security, sustainable practices, and celebrating global cuisines. The Cirque du Soleil event production will celebrate these elements through the creation of a fascinating tale, interwoven with music and dance with the main inspiration stemming from the deep union between Food and Life. ALLAVITA! is the evocative title of this new exclusive production that will be presented during the Expo and will include the participation of over 50 Italian and international artists.

 
Premiere: May 3, 2015
Type: Outdoor Show
Finale: August 23, 2015
Status: Special Event
 

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    The title ALLAVITA! refers to the awareness of the winds that nourish us and the roots that bring our international family together. It is a call to feed our lives with pleasure, spice and passion.“We are proud of our choice of Cirque du Soleil to represent the universality of the public that will attend Expo Milano 2015. As one of the most renowned international companies of artistic performance, Cirque du Soleil constantly wishes to evoke the unreal, to invoke the senses and provoke the emotions in people from all over the world, using universal languages enjoyed by all,” said Giuseppe Sala, Commissioner of the Government of Italy for Expo Milano 2015 and CEO of Expo 2015 Company.

    “We are extremely excited to bring Cirque du Soleil’s creativity to this significant event for Italy and the world,” said Yasmine Khalil, President, Events and Special Projects for The Cirque du Soleil Group. “Allavita! will be a never-before-seen production that will reflect the Expo Milano 2015 theme in an innovative, entertaining and thought-provoking style.”Cirque du Soleil will collaborate with experts in Italy to create Allavita!, which will include Italian performers who will attend invited audition sessions in Milan. Specialty technical and logistical experts from Italy will be a crucial part of the show’s production team and local providers and suppliers will also assist in diverse areas. “The high-quality expertise available in Italy will be a great benefit to the Cirque du Soleil team,” added Khalil.

    Allavita! will allow audiences to “discover the winds that sustain us, and the roots that unite our international family.An invitation to nourish our lives with pleasure, enthusiasm and passion,” said Yasmine Khalil, event and special projects president for Cirque du Soleil.

    “Allavita! will be a never before seen production that will re-propose the Milan Expo 2015 theme in an innovative, entertaining and stimulating way”.


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    Acrobatics

      Combining theater, dance, clowning, and humor, Cirque du Soleil has created an exciting and compelling event, suitable for all ages. ALLAVITA! is keyed on the themes addressed by EXPO Milano 2015, featuring bread, farming, sustainability, and the passage of time, as well as human history and how it has been impacted by, and how it has impacted, the environment. Thus it all begins with the actors handing out seeds to the audience. Then the action moves back to the stage, where a young boy – Leonardo – is given a magic Spelt seed by his grandmother. An imaginary friend – Farro – appears to the boy, from inside the seed, and takes him on a magical journey filled with wonder, courage, and hope, where they encounter hour-glasses, farmers, foreign lands, and women who might be flowers, or vice-versa. All of this is played out on a stage that is ablaze with color, resonating with music and acrobats a-leaping, all designed to conjure the world’s myriad cultures. The show is structured in 14 scenes and blends the marvels of contemporary circus with theater, dance and clownery. All woven together and further energized by original music, astonishing costumes, astounding make-up and multimedia video and lighting effects.

    Costumes

      Another element that defines the characters in ALLAVITA!, in addition to the make-up explained to us by make-up designer Eve Monnier, is the costumes, whose colors, shapes and fabrics project the characters to the public, helping to characterize personalities and movements. We meet costume designer Marie ChantaleVaillancourt, who takes us inside the wardrobe department of ALLAVITA! Here – surrounded by costume designs, inspirational sketches, colors and fabrics – she tells us how she works and how costumes and accessories have lots of stories to tell.

      Clothes and accessories inspired by food and nature reflect the Theme of Expo Milano 2015.

      “I’ve been involved right from the beginning – explains Marie Chantale Vaillancourt – because we had to design costumes that would last all these performances and that would be safe for the performers, so I had to know what kinds of movements and acrobatics each character would be making. We had to think firstly about safety and elasticity, and only afterwards about shape and color. Each color is conceived for the tableaux which make up the show, and here food has been the dominant inspiration: for example, various costumes evoke the shapes and textures of certain vegetables”, she says, showing us her inspirational book and an example of a costume suggesting a red cabbage. As she leafs through her drawings she adds “For some of the hats I took ideas from corn and bread, for others – like these, with long blue tails – I evoked natural elements like water. There are roughly 124 complete costumes for this show, and more than 500 accessories, from shoes to hats. I’m so excited about our first night!”


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    What to do with a magic seed is the storyline of Allavita!, the exclusive show of Canada’s Cirque du Soleil created for Expo Milano 2015 to celebrate the nutrition for body and soul that nature offers to human beings.

    Inspired by the theme of the Italian world exposition “Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life,” the show debuted earlier this week. It will be held every night from Wednesday to Sunday until Aug. 30 in the open theater of the Expo’s site, northwest of Milan.

    Allavita! (To life!)is about a young boy, Leo, who receives the gift of a magic seed from his grandmother before she dies, and he does not know what to do with it.A puppet,Farro, will guide Leo into a fantastic world in the discovery of all what nature can offer in terms of nutrition, love and energy. In fact Allavita! is a call to be aware of the roots that bring human beings together and to feed the life with passion.

    “I wanted to create a show that is fantastic in the universe of Cirque du Soleil but also with a message,” Krista Monson, the writer and stage director for Allavita!, told Xinhua in an interview shortly after the show’s dress rehearsal held earlier this week.“We want 10,000 people to walk out every night with 10,000 different interpretations,” she stressed.

    “Some people may gain a profound sense as we are talking about the history of the civilization of food, while the imagination and stage technology coming together with human performance may have an impact on others. This was my goal, to create something that all ages and nationalities would appreciate from different levels,” Monson said.

    The cast is composed of nearly 50 artists from different countries.

    “I work here with Canadians, Italians, Russians, Americans, Australians, Japanese, Spanish, Cubans … and the sand painter was Chinese, she spent two weeks with us to create the illustrations for the show,” Giacomo Marcheschi, an Italian performer who plays the protagonist role of Leo, told Xinhua.

    “So it is a great challenge, but we are a beautiful group full of collaboration spirit and energy,” Marcheschi, 28, added.

    When you have a passion, you would dedicate all the time to it, which is the reason why, at the end of the day, the two-year hard work to prepare the show was only a pleasure, he pointed out.

    In fact an international flavor has always characterized the Cirque du Soleil in its constant evolution, Yasmine Khalil, the president of 45 Degrees, the event division of Cirque du Soleil, explained.


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