DARING, dramatic, DEATH-DEFYING, decadent, DAZZLING and dead sexy….
From a group of 20 street performers at its beginnings in 1984, Cirque du Soleil is now a major Québec-based studio with close to 4,000 employees, including 1,300 artists from more than 50 different countries.
Cirque du Soleil has brought wonder and delight to more than 160 million spectators in more than 400 cities in over 60 countries on 6 continents.
That’s a whole lot of wow !
I remember seeing my first Cirque du Soleil in Sydney over 10 years ago and it is still one of those experiences that becomes part of the vivid tapestry of your life’s memories.
And for the 8th time – the blue and yellow big top is back in Brisbane, Australia on NOV 24 with the critically acclaimed KOOZA – written and directed by David Shiner – a sparkling, colourful, adrenalin jam-packed homage to the traditions of circus.
Cut to the chase .. you know you want to ..
November 24 through to January 8.
The international cast of 50 acrobats, musicians, singers and actors present heart-stopping feats and laugh-out-loud antics to a live soundtrack fusion of jazz, funk and Bollywood beats and let’s not forget the incredible costumes.
STEELEMyStyle had the amazing opportunity to speak to Head of Costume for KOOZA – Jason Brass about the costumes, designed by Marie-Chantelle Vaillancourt that were inspired by Klimt, Mad Max, Baron Munchhausen, the Day of the Dead, military fashion, rock and roll and 1920s cotton club glamour !
STEELEMyStyle: Can you tell me a little bit about how the costume process?
Jason Brass: Well the whole look of KOOZA was created by writer director David Shiner and designer Marie-Chantelle Vaillancourt in 2003, then all their renderings and drawings were sent to the costume shop at the studio to source fabrics. It’s not a short process, because the textile department source high quality fabrics that are tested for faults and wear and tear, then they are all hand dyed in-house and then the details are added by the lacemakers, seamstresses etc – then the samples are tested and then fitted.
STEELEMyStyle: Can you bamboozle me with some statistics on costumes in the show ?
Jason Brass: Sure – there are 175 costumes and 160 hats and close to 1,200 costume items that we carry on tour and 3,500 for each show in total. We also hand- dye each garment which comes to us white and on average lasts about 15 mths.
STEELEMyStyle: So how do you go about fittings – they must be pretty detailed ?
Jason Brass: Oh yes – we take 300 measurements on the body for each performer. Now with technology we can do an entire 3D scan of their bodies too which is great, whereas before we used to have to put each artist under plaster.
STEELEMyStyle: Wow – so technology is really a key part of the process now ?
Jason Brass: Absolutely to custom make hats, precise measurements are taken of every artists head by a portable scanner and we know that at the studio they have the accurate information and so we can get a new piece made and sent to us in 48 hrs whereas in the old days delivery of new pieces might take months.
STEELEMyStyle: What is the key role for you as Head of Costume of KOOZA ?
Jason Brass: No matter where we are in the world, I focus on maintaining the artistic vision of Marie-Chantelle Vaillancourt for every single performance.
STEELEMyStyle: What are the sorts of challenges you face with KOOZA ?
Jason Brass: With every show, different style of acrobat or new act there are new and unique challenges. It’s all about learning the needs of the act , understanding the movement of the body and making sure the garment works as well as look stunning.
STEELEMyStyle: Is there anything specific that stands out in KOOZA that you always stand back and admire ?
Jason Brass: I am in awe of the regal hire wire acrobats the red blood velvet bolero coats with the trim still take my breath away !
STEELEMyStyle: So what is the on the ground team getting all this perfect every performance – you must have a huge team ?
Jason Brass: There is myself and 2 assistants that travel with the show. One focusses on shoes and craft – shoes are so important for acrobats and the other focusses on sewing alterations and hats. Then we have 4 local staff we hire – 2 we train as dressers who also do the laundry and then we have 1 person on ironing and steaming – that is 6hrs a day – and then 1 person doing repairs.
STEELEmyStyle: Is there anything about touring in Australia and Brisbane that you enjoy ?
Jason Brass: Well on a practical level it is really easy because we can read the ingredients on the bottle – in Japan it was tricky because we needed a translator to make sure the cleaning powder we were using was not going to bleach out all the hand dyed costumes. And as a road cyclist I am love getting out into the bush and see Australia and I am looking forward to coming to Brisbane.
November 24 through to January 8.
What the critics are saying !
“… a thrilling spectacle jam-packed with white-knuckle acrobatic moments.”
Los Angeles Times
“What is special about this new production is that Cirque introduces some carefully choreographed chaos and old-fashioned sideshow spark… the real pleasures are the genuinely funny clowns.”
The New York Times
“… my heart stopped, I held my breath and even stifled a gasp.”
The Daily Mail, UK
“KOOZA is about celebrating the raw power of extreme acrobatics and eternal appeal of the clown. And it does both with breathtaking beauty and humour… it’s simply a jaw-dropping night out.”
The Daily Telegraph
“Spell-binding feats have you gasping… remarkable acrobatic and other physical skills wrapped up in a slick, lavish staging… the performers are exceptional”.
The Sunday Telegraph
“KOOZA delivers in all areas…never fails to elicit gasps from the audience… packs a thrill of danger… the final scene is as touching as anything I’ve seen from this company.”
Sydney Morning Herald
“tribute to the golden days of circus…joyous to behold… human beings doing bizarre things for the enjoyment of others and getting a huge kick out of it.”
November 24 through to January 8.
Ticket for the Brisbane season of KOOZA are at www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza or by phone on toll free 1800 036 685.
Dates: 24 November 2016 to 8 January 2017 (55 performances)
Venue: Skygate Brisbane Airport (near DFO)
Ticketing: www.cirquedusoleil.com/kooza or by phone 1800 036 685.
Stay connected with KOOZA on Twitter: @Cirque #KOOZA
Follow KOOZA and Cirque du Soleil on:
Photos: Matt Beard Costumes: Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt ©2012 Cirque du Soleil
GUY LALIBERTE, DAVID SHINER, SERGE ROY, STEPHANE ROY, JEAN-FRANCOIS COTE, CLARENCE FORD, MARIE-CHANTALE VAILLANCOURT, MARTIN LABRECQUE, JONATHAN DEANS, LEON ROTHENBERG, FLORENCE CORNET, ANDRE SIMARD, DANNY ZEN, ROGE FRANCOEUR, BENOIT MATHIEU