Zaia was a resident Cirque du Soliel production created and directed by Gilles Maheu. Zaia was Cirque du Soleil's first resident show in Asia. Zaia is about a young girl who dreams of becoming an astronaut and going into space. Zaia premiered on August 28, 2008, and closed on February 19, 2012.
The name "zaia" comes from the Greek word meaning "life". Zaia also derives from the Greek primordial deity "Gaia", the personification of Earth.
On November 12, 2009, Zaia celebrated it's 500 performance.
On March 20, 2011, Zaia celebrated it's 1000 performance.
Set & Technical Information
The Zaia Theater and set were designed by Guillaume Lord and built by Aedas Ltd. HKS and Auerbach Pollack Friedlander Consultants. Acoustics for the Zaia Theater were built by Shen Milsom & Wilke. The size of the theater is 33,000 sq ft. and can seat up to 1,800 audience members.
The theater contains a proscenium arch cut with "gill-shaped" walls. The ceiling contains a complex oval track with multiple overhead tracking acrobatic trolleys and a large 7.5 meters mechanized video sphere that runs on three different axes and contains 6 different projectors inside the sphere.  The stage contains a large circular stage lift in the middle of the stage and two turntables on each side of the stage. The backdrop of the stage measures 36-by-21 meters.
The sound system for Zaia contains 18 sub-bassed sources, 55 surround speakers, point-source speakers on the grid, 9 speakers located in the backdrop.
- Zaia: A young girl who wants to become an astronaut and explore the deep mysteries of the universe.
- Romeo: Fascinated by Zaia, Romeo meets her at the beginning of her journey. Throughout the show, Romeo seeks out Zaia until they reunite during the Aerial Straps Duo act.
- The Parents: Zaia's parents who perform during the Aerial Bamboo act.
- The Handyman: A Charlie Chaplin type character, The Handyman performs during the Rola Bola Act.
- The Sage: A keeper of knowledge and watcher of Zaia, the Sage sings throughout the show.
- The Clowns: Companions to Zaia on her adventure through space.
- Adam & Eve: Representative of the first mythical love. They perform during the hand to hand act.
- The Humans: Representatives of the last people on of Earth. They perform during the X-board and powertrack act.
- The Aristos: From a different era, The Aristos represent the high society.
- The Weather Vanes: A group of performers representing the points of a compass. The perform during the Chinese Poles on Rolling Globes Act.
- The Primatives: The representation of the first civilization who discovered fire. They perform during the fire act.
- The Fossils: The frozen performers in the ice blocks during the hand to hand act.
Costume designer Dominique Lemieux took inspiration from self-made clothing from younger generations when designing the costumes for Zaia. Some of the costumes are made from recycled toys and objects. For the clown outfits, Lemieux drew inspiration from 18th century explorers and used patches of fabric with patina.
- Opening: The clowns fly in from the audience as Zaia sees them from a telescope. The clowns discover a stage lever and keep pulling it. As they keep pulling the lever, different things activate including fireworks, an egg dropping from the sky, a hot air balloon rising and eventually the start of the show.
- Charivari: As the hot air balloon rises, the cast performs many different acts that are shown throughout the show on top of a cityscape.
- Interlude - Ascend: The hot air balloon descends to the stage. Zaia climbs upon a swing attached to the balloon and flies away.
- Aerial Hammock: A aerialist performs on an aerial hammock.
- Roller Skating: A couple performs roller skating tricks on a small circular stage.
- Lion Dance: An acrobatic performance of three sets of Lion Dancers on rolling globes
- Zaia (Interlude): The cast calls out for Zaia as the hot air balloon descends to the stage. Two astronauts on bicycles fly across the stage.
- Balloon Ride (Interlude): Zaia and a clown fly over the audience with the hot air balloon.
- Juggling: A group of jugglers bounces glow-in-the-dark balls, juggling clubs, and rings.
- Breakdancing: A performer breakdances before the flying trapeze act.
- Flying Trapeze: A group of artists swings between two sets of flying trapeze. There is only one pedestal board for this act instead of two on opposite sides of the trapeze.
- Ice Blocks & Lanterns (Interlude): Performers with lanterns while performers frozen in ice blocks fly over the audience.
- Adam & Eve ( Hand To Hand ): The performers Adam and Eve perform a hand to hand routine on an iceberg.
- Map ( Interlude ): The character Romeo confronts the clowns.
- Aerial Straps / Aerial Hoops: A performer performs on aerial straps as Zaia and two performers are on aerial hoops.
- Fire Knife Dance: Four Fire Knife Dancers perform with Fire Knives.
- Dragon (Interlude): Zaia flies across the stage above the light-up sphere on top of a Chinese dragon.
- Juba Dance & Cajón Box: A performer hambones on stage while a drummer plays on a Cajón Box.
- X-Board and Powertrack: A group of performers perform on an x shaped powertrack along with a x shaped teeterboard.
- Finale: Zaia opens the clowns egg to reveal a heart-shaped balloon in it. The cast take their final bow.
The music of Zaia was composed by Violaine Corradi, and performed by two singers (Chicago Rose, Maria Andersson) and seven musicians (Conrad Askland, Steven Bach, Darrin Johnson, Olivier Milchberg, Eduard Harutyunyan, Jay Elfenbein, followed by Gabrielle Cloutier, Miako Klein, George Manz, Maria Elena Medina, Justin Wilman). A studio album of the music used in Zaia was released on May 26, 2009.
For more information on the songs featured in Zaia, please visit Zaia (Soundtrack).
Behind The Scenes
- A show that is out of this world: Art. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://www.chinadaily.com.cn/life/2011-09/20/content_13741547.htm.
- ZAIA Show characters, clowns & acrobats: Cirque du Soleil ZAIA. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20110404134912/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/zaia/show/characters.aspx.
- About ZAIA: ZAIA: Zaia: Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved from http://web.archive.org/web/20110401232817/http://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/shows/zaia/show/intro.aspx.
- Askland, Conrad (2009, November 12). ZAIA Celebrates 500 Shows. Retrieved from http://conradaskland.com/blog/zaia-celebrates-500-shows/.
- Askland, C. (2011, March 21). ZAIA Celebrates 1,000th Show. Retrieved from http://conradaskland.com/blog/zaia-celebrates-1000th-show/.
- The Venetian Macao, ZAIA™ for Cirque du Soleil. (n.d.). Retrieved from https://www.auerbachconsultants.com/projects/the-venetian-macao-zaia-for-cirque-du-soleil/.
- (2008). Zaia Official Souvenir Program
- Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 120–125.
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