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TORUK - The First Flight

TORUK - The First Flight, inspired by James Cameron's AVATAR, a live experience by Cirque du Soleil, envisions a world beyond imagination set thousands of years before the events depicted in the film. The word Toruk, in the Na'vi language, refers to the great leonopteryx, the mighty red and orange predator that rules the Pandoran sky. Central in Na'vi lore and culture, this fascinating creature is crucial to the Na'vi clans' sense of destiny and interconnectedness - and is about to be ridden for the very first time by a Na'vi.

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TORUK - The First Flight - Creators

  • Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon

    Show Writers and Directors, Multimedia Directors

    The duo formed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon masterfully integrates theatre, film, dance, poetry, visual arts, music and sound to create unique theatrical worlds. On the heels of his initial experiments with music and multimedia that have earned him international recognition, designer and performer Michel Lemieux teamed up with visual artist Victor Pilon during the early 1980s. Together, they formed Lemieux Pilon 4D Art, a creative company that designs unique shows in which the senses and emotions are heightened through the use of new technologies. La Belle et la Bête, NORMAN (a tribute to Canadian film-maker Norman McLaren), Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Anima (inspired by the words of anthropologist Desmond Morris), Orfeo (based on the myth of Orpheus), Pôle, Grand Hôtel des Étrangers, and Voix de passage are some of the works on which Lemieux and Pilon have built their stellar reputation. In collaboration with Montreal and Quebec opera companies, they created the opera Starmania. The duo also collaborates regularly on exhibitions, special events and permanent multimedia productions. They created Continuum, a production based on the music of Philip Glass, the first multimedia show presented at the Rio Tinto planetarium in Montreal. The creations of Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon have been acclaimed in Canada, the United States, Europe, Latin America, Australia, and Asia. TORUK – The First Flight marks their fourth collaboration on a Cirque du Soleil show, after DELIRIUM, Midnight Sun, which commemorated respectively the 20th and 25th anniversaries of Cirque du Soleil and the Montreal International Jazz Festival and Michael Jackson ONE.

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  • Carl Fillion

    Set and Props Designer

    Carl Fillion has a degree in set design from the Conservatoire d’art dramatique de Québec (1991), where he taught technical drawing from 1992 to 2002.

    Carl has worked with many prominent companies and directors around the world and has a long list of theatre, multimedia and opera credits to his name, including sets for La Celestina by Fernando de Rojas presented at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm in 1998, The Damnation of Faust at the Saito Kinan Festival in Japan (1999), The Burial at Thebes at the Abbey Theatre in Dublin (2004) and the opera Simon Boccanegra at the Gran Teatre del Liceu in Barcelona (2008).

    Carl’s long association with director Robert Lepage began in 1994 with the groundbreaking shows Les 7 branches de la rivière Ota and Elsenor, and he has continued on the collaboration to create set designs for some 20 theatre, circus and opera productions including the last opera Der Ring Des Nibelungen presented at the Metropolitan Opera in New York. TORUK – The First Flight is Carl Fillion’s second set design for a Cirque du Soleil production after TOTEM.

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  • Neilson Vignola

    Director of Creation

    Neilson Vignola has carved out an impressive career as a stage and production manager as well as an assistant stage director in theatre, opera and circus arts. He graduated from the National Theatre School of Canada in 1980 and began his professional career working in various capacities at many leading Quebec theatre companies, including the Théâtre du Nouveau Monde and the Compagnie Jean Duceppe.

    As the trusted collaborator of Robert Lepage, he assisted the stage director on several operas including The Damnation of Faust, (Japan 1999, Paris 2001, New York 2008 and 2009 and Quebec City 2012). This was followed by a production of 1984 (London 2005), The Rake’s Progress, (Brussels and Lyon 2007) and Wagner’s The Ring Cycle (New York 2010, 2011 and 2012). Throughout his career, Neilson has also worked on festivals, musicals, dance productions and tours. Between 1987 and 1997, La La La Human Step, Quebec singer Diane Dufresne, Le Théâtre Populaire du Québec, Le Festival International de Nouvelle Danse and other companies, engaged him as stage manager, production director, technical director or assistant stage director. Neilson joined Cirque du Soleil in 1998 first as technical director and then interim tour director of Saltimbanco. He later joined KÀ as director Robert Lepage’s assistant and production stage manager, and in 2005 he filled the same positions on DELIRIUM with Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon – which led to appointments as director of creation on ZAIA in 2007, followed by TOTEM and now TORUK – The First Flight.

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  • Kym Barrett

    Costume and makeup designer

    Award-winning costume designer Kym Barrett grew up in a nomadic environment on Christmas Island off the coast of Australia before moving to Sydney where she would eventually study design at the National Institute of Dramatic Art. Her creations on Romeo & Juliet (1996) garnered great attention.

    This lead to a collaboration with sibling directors Lana and Andy Wachowski, starting with The Matrix (1999). Barrett's original and now iconic designs catapulted her to fame, with the sleek and sexy costumes from The Matrix Trilogy (2003) being imitated and absorbed into the global fashion trends of the day.

    Barrett has mastered a vast array of theater, TV and film genres including action, adventure, animation, circus, comedy, crime, fantasy, horror, mystery, opera, period (1800s-1980s), romance, science fiction, and thriller. She debuted at the Metropolitan Opera in New York in 2012 having designed the costumes for The Tempest directed by Robert Lepage.

    Her other film work includes Three Kings, Gothika, Monster-in-Law, Rumor Has It, Green Hornet, The Amazing Spiderman and The Nice Guys (2016). The movies Speed Racer, Cloud Atlas and Jupiter Ascending highlight Barrett's enduring association with the Wachowski siblings. TORUK – The First Flight is her second collaboration with Cirque du Soleil after TOTEM.

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  • Tuan Le and Tan Loc

    Choreographers

    The professional paths of long-time collaborators Tuan Le and Tan Loc crossed for the first time in 2005 when they created a production called LANGTOI (My Village), which they presented in Vietnam.

    Tuan Le directed the show while Tan Loc served as choreographer. After a successful initial run, they took the production on tour all over Europe in 2009. In 2012, they collaborated again on another successful production, AO Show, in Vietnam.

    Tuan Le grew up in a family of artists and became a juggler at a very young age. He learned the trade from his brother who had studied juggling in Russia. Tuan Le quickly won fame as a juggler in Vietnam.

    At 14, he moved to Germany and performed the art of juggling around the globe working for several cabaret shows (in Europe and the US) as well as for Cirque du Soleil. In 2010, he received the Award of Excellence at the International Jugglers’ Association recognizing the best the art form has to offer through a career of professional performance. Tan Loc graduated from the Fujisato Ballet School in Tokyo in 2002.

    Six years later he founded Arabesque, one of the most famous dance companies in Vietnam. Currently the show director and choreographer at Arabesque, Tan Loc is considered a big brother to many young dancers.

    He has been a choreographer, dancer and actor at the Ho Chi Minh City (HCMC) Puppet Theater in Vietnam, HCMC Symphony and Orchestra Theater, and 5B Drama Theater in HCMC. His credits as choreographer and director also include the show The Mist (Vietnam, 2011). Tan Loc founded the HCMC Dance Festival in 2013. TORUK – The First Flight marks the first participation of Tuan Le and Tan Loc as the choreographers of a Cirque du Soleil show.

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  • Bob & Bill

    Composers and Musical Directors

    Composers and arrangers Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard (aka Bob & Bill) are well known for their ability to blur the lines between genres and styles.

    In 2003, they composed the music for Splinter Cell (Pandora Tomorrow), a best-selling Ubisoft video game. They have also produced several albums, including Monica Freire’s Bahiatronica and Pink Floyd Redux, a collection of remixed songs from the British cult band, as well as the soundtrack album for the Cirque du Soleil show KOOZA.

    In 2004, Bob & Bill supplied the musical direction and arrangements for the Cirque du Soleil show Midnight Sun, as part of the 25th anniversary celebrations of the Montreal International Jazz Festival and the 20th anniversary of Cirque du Soleil.

    Three-time nominees for a Quebec music industry ADISQ award, the two sidekicks also created the music for several films and television series, and composed the music for director Robert Lepage’s production Pageant de Canotgraphie. In 2008, the duo launched their first album, Crime Report, a work combining electronic and organic sounds.

    Bob & Bill worked many times with Cirque du Soleil to create the musical arrangements for several special events. Since 2009, they also act as composers for Cirque du Soleil. They composed the music for TOTEM (2010), directed by Robert Lepage, Amaluna (2012), directed by Diane Paulus, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities (2014), directed by Michel Laprise, JOYÀ (2014), directed by Martin Genest and Allavita! (2015), directed by Krista Monson.

    Bob & Bill also wrote the music for the third and fifth chapters of Les Chemins Invisibles (2011 and 2013), a free outdoor show presented during the summer in Quebec City. TORUK – The First Flight is their eighth show as composers for Cirque du Soleil.

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  • Alain Lortie

    Lighting Designer

    Self-taught, and in a state of constant evolution on both the technical and the artistic fronts, Alain Lortie has worked in almost every field of show business, from artist manager to technical director, through operations, touring, and production management.

    In 1992, he decided to focus his work exclusively on lighting design. More than 30 years ago, he began working with multi-talented Quebec artists such as Michel Lemieux, Marie Chouinard and Édouard Lock, and has since collaborated on many shows in Quebec, Europe and Asia.

    Alain’s unique, distinctive approach to color and his sensitivity led to an assignment as Artistic Director for the Fête de la Lumière at the Festival Montréal en Lumière (2001-2003). He has designed the lighting for several productions in Asia including Han Show in Whuan, China (2014) and Shanghai Circus World’s Era (2005) as well as many musicals including Mama Love Me Once Again (2011). He has worked with many of Quebec’s leading theatre directors, including Robert Lepage, François Girard and Dominic Champagne, as well as Quebec choreographer Louise Lecavalier (So Blue 2013).

    His credits also include the musicals Starmania directed by Lewis Furey (1993-1999), the hit musical Notre-Dame de Paris directed by Gilles Maheu (1998), Cavalia (2003), Odysseo (2012), as well as The Tempest (2005) and Beauty and the Beast (2011), both directed by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. Prior to TORUK – The First Flight, Alain created the lighting design for Midnight Sun, DELIRIUM and Zarkana.

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  • Jacques Boucher

    Sound Designer

    For over 25 years, Jacques Boucher has been creating sound environments for a number of productions from Quebec and beyond. He also worked as a sound technician for various Quebec artists, including Richard Séguin, Laurence Jalbert, Diane Dufresne and Bruno Pelletier. He went on to develop an expertise in sound design for musicals such as Dracula (2006) and large-scale events, including the mega-show 2000 voix chantent le monde, presented in Quebec City in 2000, featuring over 2,300 singers on stage. In 2008, Jacques was asked to handle the sound for almost every event presented as part of the celebrations for the 400th anniversary of Quebec City. As Sound Designer and Head of Sound, he designed sound for the Quebec Symphony Orchestra’s performance of the Symphony of a Thousand by Gustav Mahler, The Image Mill by Robert Lepage, for which he designed the impressive sound system spanning 1.2 km, and the show created specially for the event by Cirque du Soleil. Jacques also serves as Sound Designer and Head of Sound on various Cirque du Soleil special events. Following TOTEM, Amaluna, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, JOYÀ and TORUK – The First Flight, LUZIA is his sixth collaboration on a Cirque du Soleil show.

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  • Patrick Martel

    Puppet designer

    Set Designer, puppeteer and stage director Patrick Martel graduated in theatre at Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM) in 1993.

    A few years later, he completed his training alongside a Bunraku master at École supérieure des arts de la marionnette at Charleville Mézières in France. Since his degree at UQAM, Patrick has designed sets, costumes and puppets for several Quebec theatre companies including Théâtre Incliné, Moulin à Musique and company Vis Motrix.

    He collaborates as well with the Center for Puppetry Arts in Atlanta. Patrick also works as puppeteer on the international tours of Montreal Théâtre Sans Fil. For over 20 years, Patrick Martel has worked as designer, workshop director, puppeteer and stage director on a dozen productions for Théâtre de l’Avant-Pays (Montréal) including Mémoire de Lou and L’Armoire and À nous deux!.

    The latter earned him a special award from the Arlyn Award Society (Canada) at an international contest recognizing excellence in puppet design. He was both puppet technical designer and designer for the Nufonia Must Fall show, featuring Kid Koala, presented at Festival Luminato in Toronto in 2014.

    Patrick is involved in the puppet design of the Montreal project Cité mémoire, scheduled for 2016, imagined by Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon. In television, Patrick Martel’s puppets can be seen in various Quebec ads and TV shows. Since 2000, he teaches at École supérieure de théâtre at UQAM and has contributed to the creation of its graduate diploma in contemporary puppet theatre.

    Patrick also received a grant from Conseil des arts et des lettres du Québec for a research project on object, video and stage writing. TORUK – The First Flight marks his first collaboration as puppet designer for Cirque du Soleil.

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  • Germain Guillemot

    Acrobatic Performance Designer

    A graduate from Centre national des arts du cirque in Châlon, France, Germain Guillemot started his career with the French troupe Cirque Archaos and toured with the company for two years. With other circus fellows he created the French circus company Les Arts Sauts where he worked both as a creator and performer for 15 years. Germain joined Cirque du Soleil in 2007 as a coach for the flying trapeze act on ZED and then became Acrobatic Training Manager for Viva ELVIS. TORUK – The First Flight is Germain Guillemot’s fourth collaboration with Cirque du Soleil as Acrobatic Designer after Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, Michael Jackson ONE and KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities.

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  • Pierre Masse

    Rigging and acrobatic equipment designer

    Pierre Masse’s career spans just about every genre of the performing arts. He was involved in major productions with the Opéra de Montréal, the Grands Ballets Canadiens and Céline Dion as well as a production of Les Misérables.

    He has collaborated with Cirque du Soleil since 1996, and took part in the creation of Quidam, Varekai, Zumanity, KÀ and CRISS ANGEL Believe. TORUK – The First Flight is Pierre Masse’s fifth Cirque du Soleil show as Acrobatic Rigging and Equipment Designer following TOTEM, IRIS – A Journey Through the World of Cinema, Michael Jackson ONE and JOYÀ.

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