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Alegría

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Alegría

ABOUT THE SHOW

Beloved by fans around the world, Alegría is returning to the Big Top once more to share its timeless story of resilience and hope. The classic power struggle of old-meets-new has been reinterpreted through today’s lens. Carried by an intangible wind of change, an emerging movement strives to shake the established order, instilling hope and renewal to bring light and harmony to their world. With its joyful spirit, Alegría is a vital, energizing force driven by a thirst for a brighter world.

With its signature songs, acrobatics and memorable characters that have helped define the Cirque du Soleil aesthetic, Alegría is the reincarnation of a classic, reinterpreted for the age, and rekindled to inspire fans—old and new alike.

THE LEGACY OF THE ORIGINAL SHOW – A BRIEF GLIMPSE

One of Cirque du Soleil’s most iconic productions, Alegría not only helped define the company’s signature style, but also paved the way for its worldwide expansion. Under the Big Top or in its arena configuration, Alegría was presented in 255 cities and seen by more than 14 million spectators worldwide over the course of its 19-year run, until its farewell tour in 2013. The show’s theme song, which was nominated for a Grammy Award in 1995 and continues to be a fan favorite, is the most listened-to Cirque du Soleil song on YouTube.

In sync with the times – As the show continues to hold a special place in the hearts of Cirque du Soleil fans, Alegría is being brought back to life for audiences to discover or rediscover.

CASTING A NEW LIGHT ON A CLASSIC

Cirque du Soleil has revisited its legendary show through today’s lens—including new costumes and set design, a renewed acrobatic vocabulary, and new musical arrangements —to ensure it is as inspiring now as it was at the time of its creation in 1994. Fans will recognize in the revival Alegría’s emblematic elements, which were the building blocks for the reincarnation.

In sync with the times – As classics often do, the show explores themes that remain relevant despite the passage of time—the quest for power, the thirst for change, and the triumph of light over darkness.

Characters

Mr. Fleur

Following the mysterious disappearance of the king, Mr. Fleur pictures himself as the legitimate heir to the throne and clumsily tries to impose his authority. The old king’s fool, Mr. Fleur is a conceited, manipulative and unpredictable character forever caught in a tug-of-war between reason and unreason, between an overpowering urge to charm and a desire to control.

The Bronx

The Bronx spring forth from the street. Fiery and full of energy, they try vigorously to defy the established order. Together, they will shake the pillars of power, lighting the spark that will trigger changes in the very heart of the kingdom. The Bronx offer a glimmer of hope in a world of gloom.

The Nymphs

The Nymphs personify the purity of youth. Graceful and delicate, they navigate the space between heaven and earth. They symbolize the dual forces at play in Mr. Fleur’s mind—reason and unreason, but also empathy and apathy—which fuel his quest for power.

The Angels

With the distinctive golden star their wear on their solar plexus, the Angels embody the intangible wind of change, the inner transformations propelled by the desire for a better world. Imbued with humanity, these beings from the afterlife carry on their bodies the scars of their earthly life. With their mere presence, the Angels generate a celestial energy that lifts the soul.

The Aristocrats

Strange heirs to power in this dusty and timeless world, the Aristocrats seek to retain their privileges by siding with the Fool; they aim to maintain the status quo at all costs and so avoid being swept away by the winds of change. Their once splendid attire has become threadbare. On their faces, strangely distorted by the passage of time, one can see the fear of progress and the selfish desire for power.

The Clowns

At first Mr. Fleur’s allies, the Clowns also have fun at his expense. Brothers in humor, this pair of zany Aristocrats is at ease in this crazy environment and make light of any situation. Wielding the power of imagination and friendship, they both witness and comment the profound changes at play in their world.

The Singers

Opposite yet complementary forces, the Singers in Black and in White are paragons of resilience. The Singer in Black embodies commitment, tenacity and the indomitable power of hope. The Singer in White is naïve, yet wise in the face of adversity. Together, they become an unstoppable, inspirational force in this realm longing for light and hope.

Acts

Acro Poles

The Aristocrats, eternal masters of the established order, try to stay close to power in order to maintain their status. They flaunt their talent, hoping to convince the new king that change is unwelcome in the Kingdom… at least as far as they’re concerned. – Artists deftly manipulate the “pillars of power”—the traditional symbols of their supremacy—in a high-flying act combining Russian bars and banquine. In this innovative act, artists balance and bounce on poles normally used for pole vaulting, which are held horizontally, enabling flyers to execute a stunning aerial ballet above the catchers’ heads.

Crossed Wheel

Shaking the foundations of the old order, a Bronx performs a number with a new-fangled apparatus—the first physical manifestation that powerful forces of change are brewing at the very heart of the kingdom. – Using his own impetus to roll forward and backward, an artist becomes a human gyroscope as he performs fluid acrobatics inside and around two intersecting wheels.

Synchronized Trapeze Duo

The Angels arrive like a gust of fresh air in this crazy kingdom. – Perched on side-by-side swinging trapezes, two artists perform intricate spins and breathtaking manoeuvres in perfect sync. This swinging trapeze duo features new acrobatic ideas, using vertical movements and variations in the swinging axis.

Fire Knife Dance

An enthralling light surges from the hands of a Bronx and comes alive in an energizing rebirth. – An artist demonstrates complete mastery of his craft. He doesn’t juggle with fire; he IS fire. He eats, breathes, and touches the flames, while his sticks become virtual extensions of his body.

Aerial Straps

On a blanket of snow, a Bronx and an Angel—a harbinger of change—intertwine in this troubling world led by the confused Mr. Fleur. – Symbolizing the connection between earth and sky, an exceptionally dynamic aerial straps duo flutters in the after-storm as the aerialists separate and reunite in an embrace high above the stage, their bodies forming striking geometric patterns.

Hula Hoops

Out of this emerging new world appears a Bronx—a paragon of pure beauty—who sets out to mesmerize the kingdom with her talent. – Using all her limbs, indeed her entire body, an artist dazzles with her ability to spin and twirl a multitude of hoops.

Powertrack

In a burst of energy, the emerging movement takes the kingdom by storm, creating a breaking point, both literal and symbolic: the stage breaks open with a deep rumble that symbolizes the shaking of the foundations of the stuffy aristocratic order. – A group of tumblers brimming with talent and torque demonstrate their prowess as they soar into the air while executing dynamic gymnastic and tumbling displays in unison and in counterpoint, reaching astounding heights and speeds on two elongated trampolines that criss-cross at the centre of the stage.

Hand to Hand

The Nymphs evoke the fragile balance between darkness and light. – Two female performers demonstrate great strength, balance and flexibility in this yin-and-yang hand-to-hand number in which the smaller of the two is flung into the air and does handstands on top of her partner’s upraised hands.

High Bars

The kingdom is rebuilt on new foundations as the two bearers of change—the Bronx and the Angels—come together as a brighter world emerges at last. – Three high bars set close to 10 meters above the stage become the aerial playground for daring flyers (the Angels) who soar to and from the arms of mighty catchers (the Bronx), suspended by their knees on a cradle swing. These complex linkages in the sky require flawless coordination, skill and timing. The breathtaking act culminates in an impressive leap into the net.

The Environment – Set Design, Props and Lighting

The Alegría set is an evocation of the architecture of power, both past and present. It is inspired by handcrafted artistry and goldsmithing on a grand scale within a contemporary environment.

The hierarchy of power – The stage is spread out on three levels.  The highest level is a portal between the closed world of the monarchy and the outside world. The middle level symbolizes the royal court, while the lower level represents the street where ordinary folk move about and where encounters between the old aristocracy and the people.

The passage of time – The first thing one notices upon entering the Big Top is the majestic Crown at the back of the stage with its organic curves and lighted branches. Lush vines have sprouted on and invaded the structure, as if nature had reclaimed its rights in this world adrift in time.

A plethora of metaphors – The Alegría set is chock-full of symbols and metaphors. The giant Crown curtain is the emblem of royal power on which appears an ever-watchful salamander, the symbol of the French Renaissance as well as the inspiration behind the set of the original version of Alegría. Twisted and deformed, the old king’s sinister Throne has lost a lot of its polish—and even some parts—over time.

The royal Sceptre, which Mr. Fleur clutches firmly in his hands as if someone could snatch it away at any moment, represents the handover of power from the old aristocratic order to the people. It is like a “stolen jewel” in this unruly monarchy. Apart from its symbolic significance, the Sceptre has multiple uses including as a lighting fixture, a music box, a clown prop, and Mr. Fleur’s “third leg.”

From darkness to light – Lighting is all about contrast, and this is especially true of Alegría, which is based on the idea of duality and the counterpoint between light and shadow. The lighting goes from more traditional to more contemporary, with the use of mobile mirrors located on the elevated part of the stage. A series of suspended lamps above the stage serve both as chandeliers inside the royal castle and acrobatic apparatus for the artists.

The LED lights placed on the tip of several of the Crown’s 64 branches, combined with other lighting fixtures attached to the structure, give the impression that light emanates from the Crown itself in this dark world where miracles are about to materialize.

Costumes – Alegría Behind the “Seams”

All that glitters is not gold – The Alegría costume design evokes a once glorious kingdom now in decay. In this dusty, stuffy kingdom in dire need of hope and renewal, the costumes of the old Aristocrats have progressively become tattered, ragged and frayed. The colours and motifs, once bright and radiant, have faded over time. The fabric of the artists’ clothes and their bodies have cuts and scratches that mark the passage of time. These marks and textures were digitally printed on the fabric, and these features also found their way into the make-up design.

Emphasizing the human element – For both the costumes and the make-up, the approach was to highlight the human dimension of the characters by showing the artists’ shapes, facial features and hair—in a word, their humanity.

A buffoon in a fool’s world – The lead character, Mr. Fleur, is inspired by the fool in the royal court. Thus the artist’s body movements are exaggerated, as is his elongated black brimmed hat and overly bushy eyebrows.

Hope comes from within – The lace that covers the crinoline of the White Singer’s skirt is time-worn and threadbare. This character is an artist bursting with talent who comes from the street, like a golden-voiced Edith Piaf emerging from the bowels of the city after overcoming the vicissitudes of a tough life. She continues to sing of hope amidst the darkness and the gloom. The Singer in Black, more tenacious than her counterpart, is clad in a modernistic, angular dress to match her resolve.

The wonderfully odd effects of aging – The Aristocrats symbolize all of those who resist change and cling to their old values. The older members of this decrepit aristocracy sport extravagant hats and hide behind their jumbled, flamboyant costumes that have seen better days. The powder on their faces has caked and flaked over time. In this kingdom caught between reason and unreason, some of the Aristocrat’s faces are ornamented with old jewels, a testament to their status. One of the Aristocrats wears personalized monocles in the form of a silicone-based prosthesis while others have overly long noses and oversized, removable eyes.

The scars of experience – The Angels are extensions of humans in the afterlife. They are humans with a past, a history, a lifetime worth of experience. They bear the scars of their life on Earth, and their costumes are threadbare, with a patina effect created using textile printing techniques. Their costumes acquire luminous, golden hues as light slowly brightens up their world.

The Music of Alegría

Songs for the times – The musical score of Alegría has been passed through the prism of today’s aesthetic and features totally new arrangements. The score mixes electronic and rock sounds with acoustic and orchestral elements, including brass, strings and accordion sounds, all in sync with the narrative of the show. The sounds associated with the Angels and Nymphs have more poetic undertones while the music connected to the lively Bronx—namely in the Crossed Wheel, Fire Knife Dance, and Powertrack numbers—has a distinct underground feel. The song Alegría—the show’s inspirational anthem—is performed in its entirety in the finale.

Production Close-Ups

The Alegría set in numbers

  • The Crown located at the back of the stage has 120 spikes and 64 branches.
  • The vines on the Crown total 975 meters in length.
  • The Crown curtain was printed in Germany in a single pass on a giant, seamless piece of fabric that is 33.5 meters wide and 6 meters high.

A closer look at costumes

  • It took more than 20,000 hours of work to put together the costumes of the show.
  • Artisans in the costume workshop spent 300 hours making Mr. Fleur’s costume alone, which contains 5 meters of electrical wire.
  • More than 1,000 meters of fabric was printed using a technique called sublimation, which fixes the images in the fibers of the material.
  • The mesh used in the costumes of the Bronx is made of the same material used in making hockey nets.
  • There are 96 costumes and 533 different costume elements in the show.

Acrobatic performance facts and figures

  • The structure used in the High Bars act is placed 9,75 meters above the stage and can accommodate up to 10 artists at the same time. This act marks the first time that female artists perform on the high bars in a Cirque du Soleil show, soaring in the air and filling the space above the structure 10 meters above the stage.
  • There is a 12-meter-long zipline in the show on which artists are suspended, 3 meters above the audience.

Character make-up at a glance

  • Designers spent nearly 500 hours developing the make-up concepts and more than a thousand hours teaching the artists how to apply it to their own faces.
  • There are close to 30 different make-up concepts divided in three families of characters.
  • Approximately 1,800 items are used in applying make-up: 1,500 brushes, 2 km of foil paper, 12 gallons of coconut oil and 1.4 kg of glitter.

Creators

Executive Producer - CRYSTAL
Executive Director, Creation - CRYSTAL
Producer
Artistic Guide
Director
Creation Director (2019)
Director (2019)
Costume Designer
Props Designer
Composer and Arranger
Musical Director and Arranger
Acrobatic Choreographer and Acrobatic Performance Designer
Lighting Designer
Sound Designer KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, TORUK - The First Flight, Luzia
Sound Designer KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities
Senior Director - Human Performance Design and Management
Rigging and acrobatic equipment designer
Makeup Designer
Production Manager
Technical Director

Photos & Videos

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Mr. Fleur act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Mr. Fleur from Alegría

Singer in White from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Singer in White from Alegría

Hand to Hand act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Hand to Hand from Alegría

Aristocrats act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Aristocrats from Alegría

Crossed Wheel act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Crossed Wheel from Alegría

Singer in Black from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Singer in Black from Alegría

Clowns act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Clowns from Alegría

Crossed Wheel act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Crossed Wheel from Alegría

Aristocrat act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Aristocrat from Alegría

Hula Hoops act from Alegria by Cirque du Soleil

Hula Hoops from Alegría