Cirque Corner  

Bar

Cirque du Soleil [ You are here: Grand Chapiteau | Creations ]
 

Le Grand
Chapiteau


Creations


At a Glance

Introduction
Background
Craftmanship
Characters


 


DreamWeavers
Cirque's Costumes Exhibit


The Dream Weavers - Costumes by Cirque du Soleil


The Dream Weavers - Costumes by Cirque du Soleil exhibition looks at how characters are created through costume. Visitors are invited to explore the arts of millinery, dyeing, costume-making, lace-making and shoe-making and learn about the roles and experiences of Cirque's craftspeople through words and images.

This story of costumes is a journey revolving around three major themes-passion, complicity and excellence-exploring the emotions underlying the essence of the artistic quest as well as the expertise behind the finished costume.

Costume items, photographs and audio-visual documents add to the intimacy of the experience and invite visitors to step into the artisans' creative space. For a brief moment, mannequins become acrobats, stilt-walkers, dancers and performers, slipping into the role of one of 25 characters chosen to represent each of the 25 Cirque du Soleil shows-and to salute 25 years of a love for materials, shapes and colours that has coaxed so many creatures out of dreams and into life.

This exhibition is above all a tribute to the men and women who have fed the creative flame with their inventiveness, their expertise and their passion for the art of costume-making since the very beginning of Cirque du Soleil.

 
Premiere: May 26, 2010
Type: Exhibit | Costumes
Status: Unknown
 

{ Return to Top }

    The designer, the artisan and the artist all share a common dream: the show. As they work together, pooling their talents and expertise, the costume takes shape and the character emerges. Three key elements central to this process – passion, complicity and excellence — combine to make magic. These Dream Weavers have been at the heart of the Cirque du Soleil story right from the very beginning. Listen to the tales these costumes have to tell and share in the memories of those who created and produced them.

    Every costume is a crucible of dreams, passion, expertise and experience, allowing the person wearing it to sublimate his or her own personality and slip into a circus character. Using the keys to imagination and wonder that the costume holds, the character opens a door, allowing the audience to share in the amazement for a brief moment. In keeping with the very essence of Cirque du Soleil shows, tailored to appeal to all audiences, each costume is a minor miracle in itself, the fruit of daunting virtuosity.

    The work of Cirque du Soleil artisans ranges from one extreme to another, as they play with the staggeringly large and the incredibly small. It is both a physical and a mental challenge, similar in a way to the performances of the artists who risk their lives and bare their souls on stage, show after show.

    Unlike the costumes worn in the theatre or opera, Cirque du Soleil costumes are about much more than looks. They have to meet strict technical requirements, for the artists’ acrobatic numbers are extremely demanding. It is this desire to constantly push the boundaries that allows these artisans to continue innovating and exploring new artistic and technical horizons.

    Thousands of hours creeping or speeding by, and all those hearts and hands. All that work, all those shared efforts, all the artisans’ blood, sweat and tears come together under the spotlights. Thanks to this monumental teamwork, the magic kicks in, the character springs to life, and the audience is transported to another realm.

    The exhibit presents:

    • 25 complete costumes from Cirque du Soleil shows created between 1984 and 2009.
    • 30 different costume props (masks, shoes, hats, wigs, etc.).
    • 50 audio sound bites and video segments in which artisans talk about their passion for their trade, interview excerpts with costume designers reflecting on their experience and what inspires them, as well as video excerpts from Cirque du Soleil shows.

    Close-ups on costume making:

    • The Cirque monitors technical advances in batteries, adhesives, miniature lights and so on, constantly testing such products to determine how innovations will affect the weight, upkeep and lifetime of a costume.
    • The safety harnesses, belts and automated controls be incorporated into costumes. Artisans have plenty of scope for ingenuity!
    • Traditional skills in wig-, lace-,, corset-, and shoe-making may be disappearing elsewhere, but they are still very much in demand in this atelier where they continue to be passed along.
    • Artists’ wardrobes contain an average of three copies of a given costume. The Cirque du Soleil performs each of its shows 10 times a week.

{ Return to Top }

    The designer, the artisan and the artist all share a common dream: the show. As they work together, pooling their talents and expertise, the costume takes shape and the character emerges. Three key elements central to this process - passion, complicity and excellence - combine to make magic. Here the artisans share some of their experiences, their enthusiasm and their secrets, offering visitors confidences, anecdotes and memories, and guiding them as they explore how these "second skins" are fashioned to create a Cirque character.

    These Dream Weavers have been at the heart of the Cirque du Soleil story right from the very beginning. Now you are invited to fashion your own stories as you admire the different costumes. Follow your instincts, your curiosity and your heart, as you listen to the tales these costumes have to tell and share in the memories of those who created and produced them.


{ Return to Top }

    The work of Cirque du Soleil artisans ranges from one extreme to another, as they play with the staggeringly large and the incredibly small. It is both a physical and a mental challenge, similar in a way to the performances of the artists who risk their lives and bare their souls on stage, show after show.

    Unlike the costumes worn in the theatre or opera, Cirque du Soleil costumes are about much more than looks. They have to meet strict technical requirements, for the artists' acrobatic numbers are extremely demanding. It is this desire to constantly push the boundaries that allows these artisans to continue innovating and exploring new artistic and technical horizons.

    Here a glimpe at some of the costumes presented in the exhibition:

    The Baron | Saltimbanco (1992)

      "Stripes on a costume always look easy, but every time it's a real puzzle. To make sure the lines fall properly, you have to trace them directly onto the pattern. You also have to keep an eye out for any mismatched lines that might meet at the groin."

            - Hélène Allard, Textile Designer

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designers: Jean Bégin and Nathalie Gagné

    Firebird | Mystère (1993)

      "With the birds in Mystère, we started to show some skin. It was a much more exposed show than Nouvelle Expérience or Cirque Réinventé. The dancers were sexier. It was something new. Even during the fittings, the artists were uncomfortable."

            - Francine Desrosiers, Costume-Making Specialist

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designers: Angelo Barsetti, Nathalie Gagné and Richard Morin

    Old Birds | Alegría (1994)

      "Franco Dragone and I were thinking about the seven capital sins when we worked on the Old Birds. These characters all have great faults: they're fat and ugly and stuck up with what they've got and what they know, they're conceited and they show it."

            - Dominique Lemieux, Costume Designer

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    The Aviator | Quidam (1996)

      "When we were doing research for the Banquines and Égarés for Quidam, we went looking for all kinds of garments and props. And then we tried them out with the cutters and different departments. We dressed up for almost two or three days. Dominique Lemieux was part of this exercise to create the Banquines and then the Égarés. That was my first week with Cirque."

            - Guy Brassard, Costume Assistant

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Synchronized Swimming | «O» (1998)

      "Originally the Nage bleue costumes were really beautiful, but after two weeks they were completely destroyed, that 's 16 girls having two costumes, one for first show, one for second, so 32 costumes after two weeks were dead. The colour had bleached out, the fabric basically had perished."

            - Julie Roddham, Head of Wardrobe

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Ermite & Water Meteor | Varekai (2002)

      "You have to check with the physiotherapists and find out just how much weight you can add without interfering with an artist's performance, and make sure he doesn't end up with ergonomic problems."

            - Peter McNaughton, Senior Cutter

      • Costume designer: Eiko Ishioka
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Optical Salsa | Zumanity (2003)

      "For Zumanity, it was haute couture except that it was also an erotic show. We had to work with bras, or someone who was performing in just a g-string. We worked with all sorts of new materials: latex, vinyl, we patinated vinyl."

            - Guy Brassard, Costume Assistant

      • Costume designer: Thierry Mugler
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    White Clown | Corteo (2005)

      "There was all kinds of work with pleats, what they call smocking, on our pierrots - we used that a lot for the costumes in Corteo."

            - Dominique Lemieux, Costume Designer

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Singer | DELIRIUM (2006)

      "It was made out of organza, and all the little twinkling lights were fibre optics interlaced into the dress. When she moved, it created this liquid, aerial effect."

            - Michel Robidas, Designer

      • Costume designer: Michel Robidas
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Mole | CRISS ANGEL Believe (2008)

      "The concept for this evolved a lot. It started out as a cockroach, then a rat, and finally a mole. The idea was that it should be repulsive, something you didn't want to touch. It was prickly and noisy, you really didn't want to get close to it."

            - Peter McNaughton, Senior Cutter

      • Costume designer: Meredith Caron
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Dance Waver | ZAIA (2008)

      "In my visual research I was inspired by the inhabitants of the world's great cities. Modern metropolises are characterized by ethnic diversity - a diversity that young people today just naturally embrace - and that has given birth to a new culture that can be seen in the way people dress. The costumes in ZAIA are a tribute to this eclecticism and this fusion of genres."

            - Dominique Lemieux, Costume Designer

      • Costume designer: Dominique Lemieux
      • Makeup designer: Nathalie Gagné

    Criquet | OVO (2009)

      "We pushed this technique even further, by printing on coloured materials, sublimation and eroding the fabric not only to stiffen it, but also to give it a metallic sheen"

            - Liz Vandal, Costume Designer

      • Costume designer: Liz Vandal
      • Makeup designer: Julie Bégin

     
Cirque Corner