ChiIL Mama/ChiIL Live Shows original live show shots-Dralion, Chicago 2012 (full set). Double click on the slide show to go to SmugMug and browse through the photos at your own rate.
We were so stoked to be invited to shoot the first act of Dralion LIVE, during their two weeks in the Chicago area. Cirque du Soleil's Dralion is THE must see this summer. What better way to celebrate 2012--The Year of the Dragon?
(*Via Cirque du Soleil Dralion's site)
The primary sources of inspiration for the costumes of Dralion come from China, India and Africa. The palette favors vibrant solid colors, while the shapes are guided by the artists’ movements and choreography.
Each of the four elements and its associated family are represented by their own unique color. Blue is identified with air, green symbolizes water, red is for fire, and ochre represents the earth.
- Over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) of fabric were used in creating the costumes;
- The fabrics come from regions around the globe, including China, the United States, Italy, France, England and Quebec;
- Materials that might be considered unusual were used in creating costumes and accessories: horse hair, raffia, metal, window screen, emu feathers, crystals, Styrofoam, plastic, bubble wrap, fun fur, springs and an array of hardware items
- To create the texture on the chest plate on the singer’s costume, bugs were glued on and then molded into different shapes;
- The artisans at the Cirque du Soleil costume workshop in Montreal worked for over three months fabricating the original costumes, hats, wigs and footwear required for Dralion. New costumes are continuously made.
- The majority of the Dralion costumes are custom-made for each artist, including shoes and head pieces.
- Dralion has close to 1500 costume pieces including shoes, hats and accessories.
- The Dralion wardrobe team includes 4 permanent touring staff and 3 local wardrobe employees in each city. The wardrobe team is responsible for maintaining and repairing all costumes.
- The Dralion tour travels with washers and dryers because most costume pieces are machine washable and then hung to dry.
- Over 300 pairs of shoes are cleaned and painted by hand every week
A mammoth structure creates the huge backdrop that dominates the stage. This metallic set piece is 60 feet wide and 26 feet tall and is suggestive of a futuristic Chinese temple or a giant plate of medieval armor.
The most imposing feature is the metallic wall which spans the full length of the stage. Covered with perforated aluminum tiles, the wall is strong and resilient while giving the impression of being light and flexible. The six giant claws attached to the structure allow artists to climb and suspend themselves from the wall.
Three concentric aluminum rings are suspended high above the stage. The first serves as a catwalk for performers and technicians. The second is used to support technical and acrobatic equipment, including the enormous lantern that descends at the end of the first half of the show. The third ring is used to move performers up, down and through the world of Dralion.
What is Dralion:
Fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil, Dralion draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show's name is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West.
In Dralion, the four elements that govern the natural order take on a human form. Thus embodied, each element is represented by its own evocative colour: air is blue; water is green; fire is red; earth is ochre. In the world of Dralion, cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved.
Dralion features 50 members in its performance troupe. Here are the major players
- Azala (air): The goddess of air who is dressed in blue, keeper of the sun and the guardian of immortality.
- Gaya (earth): The goddess of earth, dressed in ochre.
- Océane (water): The goddess of water, dressed in green.
- Yao (fire): The god of fire, dressed in red, who is both good and evil.
- L'Âme Force: The show's singers who symbolize harmony between the four elements.
- Kala: Represents the heart of the wheel of time, making time evolve.
- Little Buddha: The chosen child who possesses powers that will eventually allow him to become an Âme-Force, but dreams of being a regular child.
- Dralions: Dralions: Mythical creatures inspired by the imagery of the Chinese lion dance and dragon dance.
- Clowns: The clowns manage to push this otherwise harmonious universe slightly off-kilter.
The acts of Dralion combine unique western and eastern acrobatic skills.
- Single handbalancing: A single woman balances on one hand and accomplishes a variety of poses.
- Bamboo poles: Five acrobats twirl and throw 25-foot-long (7.6 m) bamboo poles while Yao waves a flag as the acrobats jump over it.
- Juggling: An artist performs juggling infused with breakdancing and acrobatics.
- Trampoline: A group of acrobats perform on trampolines using the set's futuristic backdrop both as a diving board and landing pad.
- Dralions: Three acrobats and three Dralions perform tumbling feats and Chinese lion dance-like dance.
- Medusa: A group of artists execute graceful and lithe movements, in the style of acrosport.
- Aerial hoop: A single artist performs choreography using a hoop suspended in mid-air.
- Spirits: Four couples perform a gravity-defying ballet.
- Aerial pas de deux: Azala and her male counterpart perform an aerial dance in silks.
- Hoop diving: Acrobats jump through a tower of hoops, which is sometimes spinning.
- Skipping ropes: A group of acrobats perform jump rope alone or together in pyramids and in towers.
WHAT THE MEDIA SAY ABOUT THE SHOW:
"I would recommend Dralion highly to those who can appreciate the artistry and acrobatic talent displayed in the show."
"Truly a wonderful experience."
"Cirque's unpretentious "Dralion" offers one visual gravity-defying stunner after another."
The Philadelphia Inquirer
Make some lasting family memories with this multicultural feast for the senses. Hurry and book your tickets today. Dralion is only in Chicago at The United Center through July 1! Click here for tickets and more.