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Dralion was a touring production by the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil. It is Cirque du Soleil's 12th touring production and the first Cirque show not directed by Franco Dragone. It premiered on April 22, 1999 in Montreal, QC.

Dralion performed its final show at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska on January 18, 2015.

Production[]

Dralion fuses the 3,000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil. It draws inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. The show's name is a portmanteau of its two emblematic creatures: the dragon (east), and the lion (west).

In the show, the four elements that govern the natural order take on a human form. Thus embodied, each element is represented by its own evocative color: air is blue, water is green, fire is red, and earth is ochre. In the world of Dralion, cultures blend, man and nature are one, and balance is achieved. [1]

Set & Technical Information[]

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 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 through the world of Dralion. [2]

Costume Design[]

The primary sources of inspiration for the costumes of Dralion came from China, India, and Africa. The palette favors vibrant solid colors, while the shapes are guided by the artists' movements and choreography.

  • Over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) of fabric were used in creating the costumes. The fabrics came 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, faux fur, springs, and an array of hardware items.
  • To create the texture on the chest plates of the singers' costumes, bugs were glued on and then molded into different shapes. [3]

Characters[]

  • Azala (Air): Azala is the goddess of air. She is the guardian of the sun and immortality, floating above timeless space in hues of blue.
  • Gaya (Earth): Gaya is the goddes s of Earth. She possesses with in her human warmth (fire) and the cool, fresh vitality of life (water). She adorns herself in ochre.
  • Oceane (Water): Oceane is the goddess of water. As queen of movement she controls, through the art of dance, the movement of the oceans. Her universe is green.
  • Yao (Fire): The guide to the fiery demons; Yao commands the rhythm of the show. He symbolizes good and evil. He sees life in vivid red.
  • Kala: Kala is the heart of the wheel that represents time and the infinite cycle. He is the internal propulsion of the wheel that makes time evolve. It is the ongoing circle of life.
  • The Little Buddha: The Little Buddha is the chosen child. Although it possesses special powers that will allow it to eventually become an L'Âme-Force, it dreams of being just a regular child. [4]
  • The L'Âme-Force: The voices of Dralion sing an invented language to which only Cirque du Soleil holds the key. Their mysterious accents echo down through time: they symbolize ultimate harmony between the four elements. [5]

Acts[]

Final Acts:

  • Single Handbalancing: This act requires great strength and flexibility. Displaying impressive control, the artist balances on canes of various heights, slowly executing a series of astounding figures while maintaining a delicate equilibrium. [6]
  • Bamboo Poles: Six men balance long decorative poles symbolizing fire. A traditional act of the Chinese acrobatic arts, the performers keep the poles 'in flight' overhead while performing acrobatic feats on the ground. [7]
  • Juggling: With stylized choreography that makes the most of his incredible flexibility, the artist incorporates a fast-paced performance with hints of modern dance. His incredible precision and mastery of his art are evident as he juggles up to seven balls simultaneously. [8]
  • Trampoline: Defying the rules of gravity, fearless aerialists bounce off trampolines using the futuristic backdrop both as a diving board and landing pad. They cascade perilously through the air performing spectacular stunts at a dizzying pace. [9]
  • Dralions: A blend of traditional Chinese dragon and lion dances takes on new scope when reimagined by Cirque du Soleil. In a dynamic and energetic tumbling sequence, the artists perform acrobatic moves while balancing on large wooden balls as the Dralion characters surround them with a spirited dance. [10]
  • Diabolo: The diabolo, or Chinese yo-yo, is a children's game which involves holding two sticks linked by a string while sliding, juggling and tossing a wooden spool. With increasingly difficult maneuvers, the artists attempt to outdo each other in dexterity and ingenuity. [11]
  • Aerial Hoop (Hibana): An awe-inspiring creation of strength and agility, this exotic aerial ballet captures the passion and energy of its signature element, fire. Suspended from a hoop high above the stage, the artist presents an evocative choreography in which the hoop and body become one in a dance of acrobatic precision. [12]
  • Crossed Wheel: Kala is the heart of the wheel that represents time and the infinite cycle. He is the internal propulsion of the wheel that makes time evolve. It is the ongoing circle of life.
  • Aerial Pas De Deux: Pas de deux is a languorous aerial dance. A couple, intertwined, flies over the stage in a long band of blue cloth. Within the cloth, they perform various acrobatic figures that demand great feats of strength and flexibility. [13]
  • Hoop Diving: Derived from Chinese acrobatic tradition, the Hoop Diving act takes on a tribal flavor from the African-influenced music to which it is performed. Ten male artists dive and throw themselves like arrows through small wooden hoops. The hoops are stacked on top of each other; some are stationary while others rotate. [14]
  • Skipping Ropes: A children's game familiar to everyone, the skipping rope takes on a new dimension in Dralion with heightened level of acrobatic prowess. As the artists keep time with the long skipping ropes, they perform flips, make pyramids and even form a human column. [15]

Acts in Rotation:

  • Medusa: The artists execute graceful and lithe movements which emphasize their extreme flexibility and balance. Together, they create extraordinary and harmonious figures. [16]

Retired Acts:

  • Teeterboard: This act of strength and acrobatic prowess is traditionally performed by men. In Dralion, it is performed entirely by women. The principle of the teeterboard is simple: two artists propel a flyer into the air, where she performs twists and somersaults before landing on the shoulders of a porter. The landing can be perilous indeed, because at various times the flyer lands at the top of a three-, four- or five-person-high column. [17]
  • Duo Trapeze: Two couples perform breathtaking acrobatic feats in unison and in turn on a double trapeze, with the catchers swinging back and forth. Double Trapeze is a unique act where the limits of the possible are pushed to the extreme. [18]
  • Ballet on Lights: Presented for the first time in the world by Cirque du Soleil, this act is sure to amaze audiences. Seven young women, on points, perform a ballet on light bulbs. [19]
  • Foot Juggling: Skill and coordination are gracefully highlighted in this number in which a young girl balances and twirls Chinese umbrellas on the soles of her feet. [20]

Music[]

Composed by Violaine Corradi, Dralion's soundtrack is a fusion of sounds from East and West, acoustic and electric music infused with rhythmic and lyrical motifs. The influences range from Indian melodies to sounds from Andalusia, Africa, Central Europe and the West. The soundtrack album features Erik Karol, a counter-tenor whose exquisite voice and range allow him to move freely from one style to another.

Track Listing:

  1. Stella Errans
  2. Ombra
  3. Spiritual Spiral
  4. Miracula Æternitatis
  5. Bamboo
  6. Ballare
  7. Ravendhi
  8. Ninkou Latora
  9. Aborigines Jam
  10. Hinkò
  11. Kamandé [21]

References[]

  1. Retrieved from https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/45612912/press-kit-cirque-du-soleil Page 2
  2. Retrieved from https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/45612912/press-kit-cirque-du-soleil Page 7
  3. Retrieved from https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/45612912/press-kit-cirque-du-soleil Page 6
  4. Retrieved from https://www.yumpu.com/en/document/read/45612912/press-kit-cirque-du-soleil Page 5
  5. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/characters/vocals.aspx
  6. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062337/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/single-handbalancing.aspx
  7. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062546/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/bamboo-poles.aspx
  8. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062332/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/juggling.aspx
  9. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062606/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/trampoline.aspx
  10. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062321/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/dralions.aspx
  11. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062556/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com:80/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/diabolo-in-rotation.aspx
  12. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120621094036/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/aerial-hoop.aspx
  13. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20120929062316/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/aerial-pas-de-deux.aspx
  14. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/hoop-diving.aspx
  15. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/skipping-ropes.aspx
  16. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/medusa.aspx
  17. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/piste/index.html
  18. Retrieved from https://web.archive.org/web/20100819054649/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/double-trapeze.aspx
  19. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/ballet-on-lights.aspx
  20. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/show/acts/foot-juggling.aspx
  21. Retrieved from http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/dralion/extras/music.aspx
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