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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




Set & Stage


When Saltimbanco was created, it was estimated that migration to cities would continue to rise. This is the premise on which Saltimbanco is based. Cities are networks of inter-relationships, but they are also networks of paradoxes; the set design of Saltimbanco reflects the contradictions of the city where the powerful and the dispossessed live side by side. Anything is possible here and so the set is an urban space stripped to its most essential elements.

For Michel Crête, the production rests on the notion of "urbanity". When Franco Dragone put forward this concept as a potential theme for the production, the set designer shouldered the task of illustrating a city poles apart from the dark imagry of film productions such as Mad Max or Blade Runner. "This oppressive vision of the city of tomorrow strenghtened our will to create an urban environment where acrobats can manoeuver in liminosity and lightness."

However, Michel Crête had to explore various leads to create this impression of an etheral and luminous city. Purely by chance, he stumbled on a book on the evolution of materials in industrialized society. "The intellectual approach necessary to building a molecule or bulding the Pyramids is exactly the same," he explains. "Unquestionably, composite materials have led me into a fascinating world we must master if we wish to construct the cities of tomorrow."

The set design proposals were the center of a debate among the designers ent on the theme of "urbanity". Composite materials were the answer to their requirements, offering incredible resistance and uncommon charge capacities. The scale models themselves illustrated stunning properties and it was at this time that Michel Crête met with two engineers, one a leading expert in the field of composite materials, the other a specialist in the use of high-tech materials.

  The stage itself is 34 meters (110 feet) long by 20 meters (65 feet) wide, and 60 liters of paint were used to cover the performance space. The aerial acrobatic grid, which is 9 meters (30 feet) long, and is suspended 14 meters (45 feet) above the stage. It's main purpose is to hold the trapeze and bungee rigs, but it also holds the rigging and all the lighting elements. There is more than 183 meters (600 feet) of trussing to comfortably and safely suspend the rig.
"We decided on the third proposal presented by the engineers - one that was totally new to the engineers themselves." The basis of Michele Crête's design, a rosace that seems to crown the set, is a prototype composed of six superimposed rings. Light filters through as it would through the branches of a tree or through a stained glass window. Saltimbanco uses different coloured gels, the lighting gives a cinematic effect by bringing characters in and out of focus depending on their position on the the stage and on the colour of their costumes. The lighting is also used to create spaces by focusing on particular areas while leaving the rest of the stage in obscurity. The stage or performance area is outlined, thanks to the rosace, a pattern that in turn offered Michele Crête an infinite number of possibilities.

Cirque Corner