Cirque Corner  



[ You are here: Grand Chapiteau | Creations | Saltimbanco ]







Adagio Trio
Chinese Poles
Aerial Straps
Russian Swing
Solo Trapeze
Hand to Hand

Vertical Rope
Rat Act
Hoops (Lev)
Duo Trapeze
Double Wire
Artistic Bicycle




Costumes & Characters
    "I centered my research on light weight fabrics and materials. The creation team, as well as the cutters, the milliners and other wardrobe artists, came up with real innovations and, in the end, technical miracles, which I would not have been capable of producing three years ago." — Dominique Lemieux, Costume Designer

A kaleidoscopic journey into the heart of the city, Saltimbanco is inspired by the urban fabric of the metropolis and its colorful inhabitants. Decidedly baroque in its visual vocabulary, the show's eclectic cast of characters draws spectators into a fanciful, dreamlike world, an imaginary city where diversity is a cause for hope. The dynamism, diversity, and unbridled energy of the big city and its exuberant fauna are expressed in the colors of the costumes. The polar opposite of gloom and torpor, the brightness of the primary colors - colors that would make the worlds of fashion and design: magenta, cyan, yellow and green - evoke the liveliness and excitement of the metropolis...

If the designer attends the very first rehearsals, it is to study the artists, their physiological traits and characters they must eventually embody. Dominique Lemieux, like all the other designers, conducted research to the concept of urbanity: "Naked Man, Social Man, the seven deadly sins... it’s a baroque experience." Her reflections led her to underline one particular aspect of the urban environment: it is a place where differences between humans are multiplied. Lemieux began drawing the costumes in March of 1991, with only the agreed upon principal theme to go on. Only three of her original 100 sketches actually became costumes because individual performers are not selected until later in the design process.

Exercising contrast, a number of Dominique Lemieux's costumes are designed so that an artist may perform on two levels. The artist's appearance reflects the very identity of the character - but parts of the costume can be shed to reveal his or her wildest dreams through a new disguise. The perfect example of this is the harmless old lady who, under her austere costume, wear the elements of a dream - that of being a star she imagines wearing daring lingerie. "This costume under the costume is her secret fantasy; it allows us to see a second personality inside the character."

  Most artists have three to five costumes each which can include up to 12 individual pieces, including up to 250 pairs of custom-made shoes. And there are more than 80 different kinds of buttons that are used to maintain the costumes on-tour.
Most of the Saltimbanco costumes are primarily made from synthetic materials - i.e. Spandex or Lycra - but also from cotton and silk. The masks, however, were created from Pododiflex, a polyester resin base. The material becomes very flexible in hot water and shapes easily; when placed in cold water, it then becomes very hard. Once shaped, the masks are dipped in latex to make them smooth and then are painted. This material - normally used for making orthopedic prosthetics - is hypoallergenic, and permeable to air, making it a good, flexible material for masks. The eccentric and eclectic costumes of Saltimbanco have a luminous, almost otherworldly quality. If there is a leitmotiv running through the design, it would be the idea of radiance or luminosity.


The Baron
    The Baron is your ageless, timeless guide throughout the world of Saltimbanco. As an imposing figure in his black and white striped cape, long red gloves and top hat perched on a pile of serpentine hair, he beckons us with his gravelly voice, recounting fascinating tales of the past (Juzoom, joozoom!). What secrets lie beyond the Baron's sardonic grin?

    Before we can find out he has us locked in his hypnotic gaze! The Baron thinks he has power but really has no authority; at his most carefree, the Baron loves to party with the Baroques. And when he tears off his cape to reveal another side of his character - that of an erotic satyr on the prowl - he shows that he's only the king of fools!
Eddie (The Child)
    Within the embrace of his parents the child is safe. But the child must discover his own identity and explore the world beyond his parents' influence. (He is introduced during the Adagio Trio number at the beginning of the show). Throughout the show, the child transforms into a series of different characters exploring its identity and the world beyond parental influence, such as:

    Eddie (in his distinctive red cap, black bow tie, striped shorts and suspenders, Eddie finds adventure in his own imagination. Whatever he needs, he invents, such as a hilarious pantomime portion that involves an imaginary overflowing toilet and a stuck bathroom door); and Death (an ominous reminder of our own mortality, he challenges us to celebrate life, to experience the present as though we were taking our last breath.)

    The Child moves freely between our world and the world of Saltimbanco, but watch out; he loves to play and won't hesitate to get you in on the act!
The Sleeper/Dreamer
    The sleeper is a playful, enigmatic character who falls asleep the moment he appears. Has he conjured Saltimbanco from the depths of his imagination, or is he dreaming within the show?

    The Dreamer lives between reality and illusion. He is like a clown, satirizing and poking fun at the world around him. Dressed in a striped blue costume and with his long curly tail, the Dreamer is always ready for a nap. But since he is responsible for looking after The Child, he rarely gets the chance to doze off completely.
The Ringmaster
    In his yellow jumpsuit with his fanciful green vest and cape, the Ringmaster struts proudly around the world of Saltimbanco. The Ringmaster likes to be the centre of attention and often steals the show. With his winning smile and natural charm, he usually gets away with it. The Ringmaster likes to believe he has great powers and he carries a scepter to prove it. But as everybody within the world of Saltimbanco knows, it is the Baron who holds ultimate control even if he is without true power.
The Cavaliers
    The Cavaliers are the gentle protectors. They are calm and serene but could strike with great force if they needed to defend themselves or someone more vulnerable. The Cavaliers are elegantly dressed with the tips of their tall black and white hats pointing towards the future. With their lanterns, they light our path through the world of Saltimbanco..
La Belle
    The singer, she reflects all human emotion. She is the ever-present town crier who expresses the soul of Saltimbanco. Her language is universal and her song reflects the atmosphere around her. Her vocals are emotions — serenity and excitement, hope and joy, disappointment and melancholy.
The Worms
    The Worms, like all human beings, are born with nothing and are at the very base of society. All similar in appearance, yet different from one another, they must, with time, adapt themselves to their environment. Thus, as the world of Saltimbanco evolves, they embody various types of social characters, hoping on day to accede to the rank of Baroque, a cast of visionaries.

    There are two classes of Worms within the framework of Saltimbanco, those referred to as the Urban Worms (the Vers Masqués) - the faceless masses, those who follow the status quo, never to risk, to express, to gain; They are anonymous beings confined by their daily routine, incapable of accepting or affirming their individually - and the Multicolored worms (Vers Multicolores), the simplest of all, who follow their most primal urges and concerning themselves only with survival.
The Baroques
    Independent and courageous with a slight anarchist streak, the Baroques are true urbanites who know how to make the most of what the city has to offer; they are children of the street who live in the moment, sleeping under bridges to later emerge and celebrate life! Defiant, rebellious, explosive, they are enlightened beings whose free spirits run wild. Armed with a deeply perceptive vision of the world, the Baroques, throughout the fable, reveal the countless contradictions of our civilization where imagination has not yet taken power and reflect upon the extreme personalities of urban dwelling - both in their beauty and wretchedness. Their appearance on stage triggers an explosion of color - a shining symbol of the meeting of cultures in the big city.

{The Baron}

{The Baron}

{The Satyr}


{La Mort}

{The Child}

{The Dreamer}

{The Ringmaster}

{The Cavaliers}

{La Belle}

{La Belle}

{Urban Worms}

{Multicolored Worms}

{The Baroques}

Cirque Corner