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Zumanity

Zumanity, the Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil, is a seductive twist on reality, making the provocative playful and the forbidden electrifying! Leave all inhibitions at the door and let loose as this adult-themed production takes you on a sexy thrill ride full of sensational acrobatics and naughty fun. Part burlesque and part cabaret, Zumanity is one full night you'll never forget! Zumanity was created for adults 18 and over. Only at New York-New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas.

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Resident show at New York-New York Hotel and Casino, Las Vegas, NV

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Zumanity - Creators

  • Guy Laliberté

    Founder and Creative Guide

    Guy Laliberté was born in Québec City in 1959. An accordionist, stilt-walker and fire-eater, he founded Quebec's first internationally-renowned circus with the support of a small group of accomplices. A bold visionary, Guy Laliberté recognized and cultivated the talents of the street performers from the Fête foraine de Baie-Saint-Paul and created Cirque du Soleil in 1984.

    Guy Laliberté was the first to orchestrate the marriage of cultures and artistic and acrobatic disciplines that is the hallmark of Cirque du Soleil. Since 1984, he has guided the creative team through the creation of every show and contributed to elevating the circus arts to the level of the great artistic disciplines.

    Cirque du Soleil has become an international organization, as much in terms of its makeup as in the scope of its activities and influence. Guy Laliberté now heads an organization with activities on five continents.

    In October 2007, Guy Laliberté entered into a second lifetime commitment by creating the ONE DROP Foundation to fight poverty around the world by providing sustainable access to safe water.  This new dream stems from the knowledge that the right to water is key to the survival of individuals and communities all over the world and from the values which have been at the heart of Cirque du Soleil since its inception:  the belief that life gives back what you have given and even the smallest gesture will make a difference.

    In September 2009, Guy Laliberté became the first Canadian private space explorer.  His mission was dedicated to raising awareness on water issues facing humankind on planet earth. Under the theme Moving Stars and Earth for Water, this first Poetic Social Mission in space aimed at touching people through an artistic approach: a special 120-minute webcast program featuring various artistic performances unfolding in 14 cities on five continents, including the International Space Station.

    Main Awards and Distinctions
    In 2012, Guy Laliberté was inducted into the American Gaming Association’s Gaming Hall of Fame. In 2011, he became one of the inductees of the Canadian Business Hall of Fame. Guy Laliberté was awarded his very own star on the legendary Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2010. In the same year, the Quebec government honoured Guy by promoting him from Chevalier (a distinction granted six years earlier) to Officier as a member of the Ordre de la Pléiade. Université Laval (Québec) awarded an honorary doctorate to Guy Laliberté in 2008. The year before, Guy Laliberté took the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year award for all three levels: Quebec, Canada and international. In 2004, he received the Order of Canada, the highest distinction in the country, from the Governor General of Canada.  The same year, he was recognized by Time Magazine as one of the 100 most influential people in the world. In 2003, he was honoured by the Condé Nast group as part of the Never Follow Program, a tribute to creators and innovators. In 2001, he was named a Great Montrealer by the Académie des Grands Montréalais. In 1997, Guy Laliberté received the Ordre National du Québec, the highest distinction awarded by the Government of Quebec.

    Other awards and distinctions

    2009
    Lifetime Achievement Award granted by the Canadian Marketing Association

    2002
    Induction to Canada’s Walk of Fame

    1998
    Visionary Award granted by the American Craft Museum (now the Museum of Arts and Design in New York)

    1996
    Vision nouvelle award received at the 43rd Gala du Commerce (Quebec)

    1988
    Personality of the Year, Gala Excellence La Presse (Quebec)

    1988
    Entrepreneur of the Year, Les Affaires magazine (Quebec)

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  • Dominic Champagne

    Writer and Director

    A multitalented and prolific playwright, director and Artistic Director of his own theatre company, Dominic Champagne has been a forceful presence on the Quebec cultural scene since graduating from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1987.

    In 1992, Champagne created waves among the public and his peers with his show Cabaret Neiges Noires, written in collaboration with his fellow artists at Théâtre il va sans dire. Inspired by Martin Luther King's famous "I Have a Dream" speech, the play was highly innovative in both its message and its medium. The script was at once cynical, poetic, dark and funny, while the festive and unrestrained staging brought together acting, song and music. Champagne's gamble paid off: he succeeded in taking a critical look at the era and in bringing new audiences into the theatre. The show has been performed more than 100 times since it was first created.

    Champagne adapted and directed Don Quichotte (Cervantes' Don Quixote) for a 1998 stage production that attracted record crowds to Montreal's Théâtre du Nouveau Monde, and in 2000 he set new attendance records with his staging of L'Odyssée (The Odyssey, by Homer). His other creations for the theatre include La Caverne, L'Asile, Lolita, La Cité Interdite and La Répétition.

    He has also worked in television as a writer for the series Les Grands Procès, and was involved in the creation and direction of many variety shows including Le Plaisir Croît Avec l'Usage, the opening ceremonies of the Jeux de la Francophonie, Tous Unis Contre le SIDA, Les Spectacles de la Fête Nationale and La Soirée des Masques.

    His more than 100 accomplishments for the stage, television and circus have earned him a host of awards and honors, including the Prix de la Critique for the text of La Répétition, two Gémeau awards for best direction for L'Odyssée and Don Quichotte, the Gémeau for best dramatic writing for Aurore and the Masque du Public for his adaptation of L'Odyssée.

    Champagne's work in theatre and television led to an invitation from Cirque du Soleil to direct Varekai in 2002. Champagne's next assignment for Cirque was to co-direct ZUMANITY with René Richard Cyr. Writing and directing LOVE has been both rewarding and enormously challenging for Champagne. "It was a privilege and a great honor to be asked to do this," he says.

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  • René Richard Cyr

    Writer and Director

    René Richard Cyr is one of the most versatile and prolific creators on the Quebec cultural scene. For 20 years, this acting graduate from Canada 's National Theatre School has pursued simultaneous careers as an actor, director, writer and producer in theatre, television, film and music. He has participated in over one hundred productions—both on stage and behind the scenes—with notable success in all fields.

    This is Cyr's first creative alliance with Cirque du Soleil, where he is working in tandem with long-time collaborator Dominic Champagne on the writing and directing of Zumanity. In the past, the two have repeatedly teamed up to design the huge outdoor event celebrating La Fête Nationale, Quebec 's national holiday. They are also credited with the creation and artistic direction of Le plaisir croît avec l'usage, a TV program broadcast on Télé-Québec and hosted by Cyr. The program has won two Gémeaux (an award for excellence in Canadian French-language television production) for best variety show. The ongoing success of this dynamic duo stems from a natural affinity between two good friends—who also happen to be creative masters.

    A man of many talents, Cyr is as eclectic as he is productive. As a theatre director, he frequently spotlights new works while staging memorable versions of well-known classics. He has also (among other things) directed numerous comedies, variety shows and theatre galas, and has even lent his lustre to musical theatre.

    "I've put rock 'n ' roll into my theatre productions and theatre into my rock shows. But one recurring theme marks my artistic choices: the desire to give a voice to new talent," says the director. Since 1998, Cyr has been artistic director and managing co-director of Montreal 's Théâtre d'Aujourd'hui, an institution committed to producing Quebec drama.

    The variety of awards showered upon this virtuoso testifies to the quality of his work in diverse cultural milieus. In 1985, 1986 and 1991, Cyr was honoured by the Quebec music industry association (ADISQ) for three different shows—one of them a Céline Dion production which netted him the "Director of the Year" award. In the 1990s, he twice won the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde's best direction award, while two more prizes (one awarded in Quebec , the other in Italy ) recognized his excellent acting in Michel Tremblay's Hosanna. The Quebec arm of the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television also nominated Cyr for a Gémeau in two different categories: best direction on a short film debut, and best host of a televised series.

    More recently, his accomplished directing of the play The Man of La Mancha, by Dale Wasserman, Joe Darion, and Mitch Leigh, earned him two prestigious awards from the public and his peers at the 2003 Gala of the Académie québécoise du théâtre.

    René Richard Cyr was born in Montreal in 1958.

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  • Andrew Watson

    Director of Creation

    After ten years of working on stage as an acrobat, Andrew Watson now works behind the scenes, as Director of Creation for Cirque du Soleil's new production, Zumanity. Previously, he played this role with Varekai, which premiered in the spring of 2002. This show marked a pivotal moment in the artistic career of a man who is no stranger to risk.

    In 1984, the year Cirque du Soleil was founded, he enrolled as a general artist in the Gerry Cottle Circus in London. He was 24 at the time and didn't have the gymnastic training of most acrobats. But that didn't stop him: he became a trapeze artist. In 1986, his duo performance at the Festival du Cirque de Demain, in Paris, earned him job offers from several well-known European circuses. He went on tour with the German circus troupe Roncalli, attracted by its blend of theatre and traditional circus elements.

    His Cirque de Demain performance was also noticed by Guy Caron, at the time artistic director of a youthful Cirque du Soleil. In 1987, drawn by Cirque's creativity and audacity, Andrew Watson joined the team of We Reinvent the Circus, the show that was to be the Quebec circus troupe's first major North American tour. Throughout his career as a Cirque du Soleil acrobat, Andrew Watson won several honours and awards, including the Clown d'argent at the Festival International du Cirque de Monte-Carlo, in 1990. He left the ring in 1990, and subsequently held the positions of director of casting and artist training, artistic coordinator and artistic director. From 1994 to 1999, he was involved mainly in the shows Saltimbanco, Alegría and Quidam.

    In 1999, he decided to go back to London to live and work. Joining the New Millennium Experience Company, he designed the aerial acts and trained the acrobatic artists for the New Millennium Dome Central Show, presented in London as part of the year-2000 festivities. In 2001, he came back to Montreal with his family in order to oversee the creation of Varekai.

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  • Thierry Mugler

    Creator and Costume Designer

    Thierry Mugler is a French artist who is very well-reputed in the world of fashion and haute couture. He was a professional dancer starting at age 14 at the Opéra du Rhin, and the surpassing of the body and the love of performance are recurring themes in all his work: an accent is placed on the shoulders, women's bodies are flattered, and men's bodies are regarded with the same rigour.

    If clothing has been an integral part of Thierry Mugler's life, it was to take it to the next level: over almost thirty years, this born director has created a hundred or so spectacular shows attended by up to 13,000 people, including events at the Zénith, the Budo Kan and the Cirque d'Hiver. The international success of Thierry Mugler perfumes, launched in 1992, serves only to confirm his incredible talent.

    Thierry Mugler is also the author of short films, advertising films, photos and music videos. Thierry Mugler's collaboration with the Cirque du Soleil team for Zumanity caused a sensation in the worlds of fashion and show business!

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  • Stéphane Roy

    Set Designer

    Stéphane Roy has worked as both a set designer and artistic director on over 100 productions in Montreal and abroad among which L’Odyssée, directed by Quebec playwright Dominic Champagne, at the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde (2002), and Les Âmes mortes, directed by Gilles Maheu, at Carbone 14 in Montreal (1996). Since 1990 he has designed sets for dance productions by such internationally-acclaimed dance troupes as La La La Human Steps and O Vertigo.While primarily active in theatre and dance, he has also worked in film, television, advertising and variety shows. Since 2011, Stéphane has been one of three artists in residence appointed by the Montreal Nature Museums group to create organic links between the city’s four natural science museums. He also designed The Warrior Emperor and China’s Terra Cotta Army exhibition at the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts in 2011. His achievements have earned him many awards and honors, including being named Revelation of the Year, All Categories Combined, by the Association Québécoise des Critiques de Théâtre in 1989. In 1992, the same association honored him with the award for best set design. His talent has also been recognized by the Conseil des Arts de la Communauté Urbaine de Montréal, the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television and the Académie Québécoise du Théâtre. For Cirque du Soleil, Stéphane designed the set for Dralion, Varekai, Zumanity, KOOZA, Zarkana and KURIOS – Cabinet of curiosities.

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  • Simon Carpentier

    Composer and Arranger

    Composer Simon Carpentier, best known for his film and TV scores, has previosuly worked on the Cirque du Soleil shows Zumanity and Wintuk. He took his first piano lessons at the age of seven and began his professional career in Quebec City, where his personal recording studio was next door to a rehearsal studio used by musicians working in all genres.

    Simon first made his mark writing music for commercials and picked up more than 20 Quebec and international awards between 1989 and 1997. In 1989, he received a Mobius Award, an international prize handed out in Chicago for the music used in cinema advertising.

    His name appears in the credits of a dozen or so films, including Ladies Room, starring John Malkovich, and he has worked on numerous TV shows for a variety of networks, including TV5. In 2000 he composed the score for the 72-episode teen drama series Big Wolf On Campus which has been broadcast in 150 countries.

    In 1999, Simon recorded Amerindian singer Genevieve McKenzie’s album Shanipiap at the Sept-Îles reserve in Quebec. And in 2004, his spellbinding music was a major factor in the success of Italian quick-change genius Arturo Brachetti’s one-man show. His artistic curiosity and versatility recently led him to reinterpret the music of S. Alfonso dei Liguori and combine it with the words of Claude Péloquin, one of Quebec’s greatest poets. He has also created a series of albums of music for babies that have sold in more than 30 countries.

    Simon Carpentier was born in 1965 in Quebec.

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  • Debra Brown

    Choreographer

    Debra Brown is world renowned for her unique choreographies blending acrobatics and dance. She joined Cirque du Soleil in 1987 as a choreographer for We Reinvent the Circus and went on to choreograph the shows Nouvelle Expérience, Saltimbanco, Alegría, Mystère, Quidam, “O”, La Nouba, Corteo, one act in Zumanity, ZED, Zarkana, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour and Amaluna. She has also worked with artists and groups from a wide variety of disciplines including the 1990 Festival Mondial du Cirque de Demain (Paris), the John Corigliano’s opera The Ghosts of Versailles, presented at the Metropolitan Opera in New York and Wagner’s Ring Cycle, put on by the Lyric Opera of Chicago. In 1994, Debra created and produced Apogée, a 50-minute trampoline-based ballet which premiered in Toronto and was also presented in both Los Angeles and San Francisco at “Passport ’96,” an AIDS benefit hosted by Elizabeth Taylor and Magic Johnson. In 1995, she worked with Luciano Pavarotti on the Metropolitan Opera’s production of La Fille du Régiment (The Daughter of the Regiment) in New York. Debra also choreographed Aerosmith’s Jaded video and energetic performance for the American Music Awards in 2001, as well as Madonna’s Drowned world tour. Debra has worked with major musical acts such as Shakira, Wyclef Jean, Céline Dion and Madonna. Her film work includes Catwoman, Van Helsing and Barney’s Great Adventure. She received the Innovative Choreography Award in honour of her exceptional contribution to choreography and dance at the 14th Bob Fosse Awards in Los Angeles in 1997. In 2002, she received an Emmy Award for her choreography of an act created by Cirque du Soleil for the Academy Awards.

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  • Marguerite Derricks

    Choreographer

    Three-time Emmy award-winner Marguerite Pomerhn Derricks is one of the most sought-after choreographers in the entertainment industry. Her work has been featured in countless films, television shows, commercials, music videos and stage productions.

    Marguerite began her dance training in Buffalo, New York at the age of five. When she was 16 she was awarded a scholarship from the New York City Ballet and went on to dance with the National Ballet of Canada and the Philadelphia Ballet.

    In 1983, she moved to Los Angeles to work as a lead dancer on the TV series Fame and soon afterward became assistant choreographer to Debbie Allen and Otis Sallid.

    Television and Marguerite Derricks proved to be a good fit and it's a solid partnership that continues to grow. She received her first Emmy Award in 1997 for her work on 3rd Rock From the Sun and her outstanding choreography has been showcased on such shows as the MTV Movie Awards, the VH1 Vogue Fashion Awards, the 50th Primetime Emmy Awards, the 2003 NAACP Image Awards, Will & Grace and That 70's Show. She also created the choreography for 22 episodes of Cedric the Entertainer Presents.

    Music videos gave Marguerite a high-profile outlet in which to spread her creative wings. "I started working as a choreographer in the 1980s when music videos were taking off. I did about 100 videos. It was my training ground," she says of her work with such artists as Quincy Jones, Céline Dion, Taylor Dane, Little Richard, Tone Loc, Donna Summer, Barry White, Sheila E. and Deborah Harry.

    Marguerite's choreography for feature films includes all three Austin Powers movies with Mike Myers, Batman & Robin (starring George Clooney, Chris O'Donnell and Uma Thurman), Paul Verhoeven's Showgirls, 10 Things I Hate About You, Striptease, with Demi Moore, Ivan Reitman's Junior, and Never Been Kissed which starred Drew Barrymore.

    Her most recent film work is on display in American Wedding, Charlie's Angels II, 13 Going On 30, Starsky & Hutch, Daddy Day Care with Eddie Murphy, Looney Tunes Back in Action with Brendan Fraser and Cat in the Hat with Mike Myers.

    Marguerite says her work in film was a good preparation for the cabaret style of the Cirque du Soleil show ZUMANITY. "In film, I work as if I'm creating for the stage," she notes. "Directors tend to shoot my work in that Fred Astaire, head-to-toe style—and they do it all in one take instead of chopping it up."

    In addition to her three consecutive Emmy awards, Marguerite has received three MTV Movie awards and three American Choreography awards.

    Marguerite Pomerhn Derricks was born in Buffalo, New York.

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  • Luc Lafortune

    Lighting Designer

    In directing the lighting for the show KÀ, Luc Lafortune is contributing to his twelfth creation with Cirque du Soleil. He has been associated with Cirque du Soleil since its beginnings in 1984. That year, he was hired as a lighting technician backstage. The following year, he was at the lighting control booth for the young troupe's eight-month tour. In 1986, he became the lighting designer. Since then, his lighting creations have toured the world.

    At Cirque du Soleil, his creator's resumé includes the shows We Reinvent the Circus, Fascination, Nouvelle Expérience, Saltimbanco, Mystère, Alegría, Quidam, "O", La Nouba, Dralion, Varekai and Zumanity. He was also co-director of photography for the video recording of the show Quidam.

    In 2002, he worked with director Robert Lepage to design the lighting for British singer Peter Gabriel's world tour, Growing Up. Many other internationally successful artists and groups have called upon his talents. Since 1996, he has worked with, among others, No Doubt, The Eagles, Gipsy Kings and Swiss circus Salto Natale.

    Luc Lafortune studied theatre production at Concordia University in Montreal . He was originally interested in set design. "One day, during rehearsal, I discovered the ability of light to redefine a space, to make a strong contribution to the image and spirit of a show," he says. The experience inspired a passion that still permeates his work today.

    The excellence of his work has garnered him many awards. In 1992, his lighting design for the show Saltimbanco earned him a Drama-Logue Theater Award, given by critics from the California-based theatre magazine of that name. In 1994, he was chosen as designer of the year by the magazine Lighting Dimensions International (LDI). In 1997, the Martin Professionals show The Atomic Lounge, for which Luc Lafortune was artistic director, won the LDI for best light show. In 1998, he took an Entertainment Design Award for his lighting design for the show "O".

    Luc Lafortune is regularly invited as a speaker to share his knowledge and thoughts with students and professionals all over the world.

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  • Jonathan Deans

    Sound Designer

    Jonathan Deans is one of the most sought-after live entertainment sound designers in the world. As a young man, he joined the Royal Shakespeare Company as an actor but had also a keen interest in sound and so began to blend with a theatrical context. Several years later, after a spell as a sound engineer in the music industry, notably at Morgan Studios where he brushed shoulders with artists such as Cat Stevens, Paul Simon and Rick Wakeman, he made his way back to the theatre via the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden, and later went on to mix the sound for the musical A Chorus Line. One success soon followed another, and he became the sound mixing engineer for dozens of London’s West End productions. Jonathan’s success as a mixing sound engineer led to him being hired as sound designer on the musical Marilyn. This was followed by work on other productions as Designer on Time, Les Misérables, Mutiny, Jean Seberg to mention a few. Over a decade later he relocated in America where he has designed systems and productions for theme parks, stadiums, arenas and Broadway productions including Ragtime, Fosse, King David, Damn Yankees, Taboo, Brooklyn, Lestat, Pirate Queen, Young Frankenstein, La Cage Aux Folles, Spiderman, and Priscilla Queen of the Desert. With Michael Jackson ONE Jonathan is creating the sound system and the audio environment of his 14th Cirque du Soleil show since Saltimbanco in 1992.

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  • Cahal McCrystal

    Clown Act Creator

    Since 1996, Cahal McCrystal has devoted himself full time to creating and directing shows for various European theatre companies. He's one of the few British directors to focus almost exclusively on clown comedies. The clown acts he has created for Zumanity mark his second association with Cirque du Soleil: in 2002, he was part of the creative team that worked on Varekai.

    Cahal's plays, written for major British theatre companies such as Spymonkey, Peepolykus, and The Boosh comedy duo, have touched audiences worldwide and kept them rolling in the aisles.

    In 2000, his play Stiff, staged for Spymonkey, won the Total Theatre Award at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival. It was also named best act at the U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado. The Mighty Boosh, launched at the 1998 Edinburgh Fringe Festival garnered the Perrier Award for Best New Comedy. Although critics have compared his characters to those of Mel Brooks, Monty Python and the Marx Brothers, Cahal's true goal is to create clowns with their own distinct personalities.

    "My job is to bring out the clown in actors and this clown emerges when you play up their personal foibles. This requires a great deal of humility and generosity on the part of the actors. But it's also highly gratifying. We admire people for their successes, but we love them for their weaknesses. That's why we adore clowns—they show us their very human and silly sides!"

    Before becoming a full-time director, this graduate of the Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama had a prolific 15-year acting career in theatre, film, television and radio. In the late '80s, Swiss writer, director and actor Philippe Byland invited Cahal to join his company. It was also in London that Cahal met his future mentor Philippe Gaulier, the dean of French theatre, who cast him in At the End of the Tunnel. One day, he would attend a show that truly blew him away—Cirque du Soleil's We Reinvent the Circus.

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  • Natacha Merritt

    Projection Designer

    The publication of Digital Diaries in 2000 marked the beginning of Natacha Merritt's spectacular rise in the world of photography. Her projections, both intimate and larger-than-life, represent her first contribution to the visual component of a Cirque du Soleil show. Working in an environment she spontaneously dubs a "creative paradise," she brings to Zumanity her unique perspective on the human body and its manifestations.

    Pursuing her childhood dream to become a lawyer, Natacha was studying law at the Sorbonne in Paris, when, after only three months, she abandoned her studies in favour of a new passion: erotic photography.

    Armed with a digital camera, Natacha has created a series of portraits and self-portraits documenting her sexual encounters—alone or with lovers—and has published her digital records on the Internet. The digital format allows her to immortalize her most personal moments and reveal her most intimate sexual self with refreshing ingenuousness. Her work received notice through her website and, in particular, attracted the attention of Taschen, publishers of Digital Diaries.

    Since the appearance of this landmark oeuvre, Natacha has devoted herself to digital video, leaving her unique signature on a number of ads as well as three documentaries for Warner Brothers. She is currently working on the screenplay for a feature-length film.

    Natacha Merritt was born in San Francisco in 1977.

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  • Nathalie Gagné

    Makeup Designer

    Nathalie Gagné was one of the first graduates of the Montreal branch of the famed Paris-based makeup school École Christian Chauveau. Before joining Cirque du Soleil, Nathalie worked in theatre, film and television. She has twice been nominated for a Gémeau award for best makeup, all categories combined. The honor is conferred by the Academy of Canadian Cinema and Television. Since 1995 Nathalie has crafted more than 1,000 separate makeup designs for 16 Cirque du Soleil shows. In 2010, Nathalie designed the makeup for the play Il Campiello by Carlo Goldoni, directed by Serge Denoncourt, and for the 3D movie Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away produced by James Cameron and directed by Andrew Adamson in 2012.

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  • Jaque Paquin

    Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer

    There’s no formal training for a profession like Jaque Paquin’s. “To do it, you have to do it,” he says. Jaque studied art history (specializing in film) and electronics in school, and began his career in the arts working as a lighting technician at the age of 14. The following year, he opened a disco.

    He went on to work as a stage technician in theatre, a set painter in film, a grip in television and, finally, as a carpenter, team leader and project head in a set construction workshop for theatre and variety shows. "I've worked in nearly all of the trades plied by the people who build and operate my equipment," he says. “So I make an effort to facilitate the work of the technicians and the artists.”

    Jaque joined Cirque du Soleil in 1990 as head of the construction workshop, where he created aerial environments for such shows as Saltimbanco, Dralion, Varekai, Zumanity, KÀ and “O”. From 1991 to 1996, he was Technical Director for the North American tour of Saltimbanco, and he was the show’s Technical Director when it toured Europe and Japan. In 1995 and 1996, he was director of all installations for the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal and the FrancoFolies de Montréal.

    His imagination, artistic flair, and technical skill conjured up the fantastic boat in "O" – a piece of acrobatic equipment that brings together three techniques never before combined in the history of circus arts: the parallel bars, the Korean cradle and the flying trapeze.

    Whether working on the rigging for a show or as head of research and development for Cirque du Soleil's acrobatic equipment, Jaque is constantly on the lookout for ways to give a new look to a wide variety of circus arts. However, he says, “There’s never any compromise for safety. If an artistic vision can be achieved only by lowering the safety standards, then that element of the show will be dropped.”

    For CRISS ANGEL Believe™, Jaque Paquin has designed the equipment used in the illusions as well as the rigging for all of the scenic equipment (sound, lighting and set decorations). "We’ve developed unprecedented techniques, especially for the magic numbers," he says. “I like to say that this show contains some of my best inventions that I will never be able to talk about."

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  • Normand Blais

    Prop Designer

    Over the past 15 years, Normand Blais has carved out a niche for himself in the Quebec theatre world by inventing and gaining recognition for a new role on creative teams—that of prop designer. He is also the first to hold this position at Cirque du Soleil.

    On Zumanity, Normand is in charge of designing hand props for the artists, in addition to furniture and objects for the stage created by set designer Stéphane Roy.

    Normand has participated in the production of over one hundred plays since completing his studies in Theatre Production at Cégep de St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, in 1987. From the outset, he made a veritable speciality out of his ability to unearth objects resonant with meaning, as well as his legendary attention to detail. In Montreal, Normand is "prop designer in residence" for contemporary theatre troupe La Compagnie Jean Duceppe, but that doesn't prevent him from sharing his talents with most of the city's other theatre companies.

    Many renowned Quebecois directors have called on Normand to help breathe life into productions that include both classics and original works. His ingenious and pertinent finds contributed to the success of the musical The Man of La Mancha, directed by René Richard Cyr, which in 2002 was awarded the Prix du public and the Prix de la meilleure production en région by the Académie québécoise du théâtre. In the same year, Normand also designed props for Italian quick-change artist Arturo Brachetti, internationally acclaimed by critics and the public alike.

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