Amaluna

Amaluna invites the audience to a mysterious island governed by Goddesses and guided by the cycles of the moon.

Their queen, Prospera, directs her daughter’s coming-of-age ceremony in a rite that honours femininity, renewal, rebirth and balance which marks the passing of these insights and values from one generation to the next.

In the wake of a storm caused by Prospera, a group of young men lands on the island, triggering an epic, emotional story of love between Prospera’s daughter and a brave young suitor. But theirs is a love that will be put to the test. The couple must face numerous demanding trials and overcome daunting setbacks before they can achieve mutual trust, faith and harmony.

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Acts

Aerial Straps

Aerial Straps

The artists fly out over the audience on straps, suspended from the Carousel, a rotating set element high above them. This spectacular demonstration of flight in four dimensions is calling for precision timing, in addition to the skills and physical strength it takes to move at high velocity through 360 degrees.
Peacock Dance

Peacock Dance

Romeo wanders into the Enchanted Forest where he witnesses the bewitching dance of the Peacock Goddess in her dazzling white dress – a performance that represents the purity of love.
Clown Act

Clown Act

Romeo’s manservant Papulya arrives with the young men and promptly falls headover-heels in love with Maïnha, Miranda’s childhood nurse. The feeling is mutual, and pretty soon they are starting a family.
1,000 Arms and Sticks

1,000 Arms and Sticks

Inspired by an Indonesian ritual dance, an ominous company of dancers dressed in black and silver performs a choreography that creates an indelible image of one woman with a thousand arms. The Peacock Goddess reappears in an ominous guise and steals Miranda away while a forest of sticks inspired by Vietnamese circus tradition springs up to create a portal to the Underworld through which Romeo must pass.
Cerceau and Waterbowl

Cerceau and Waterbowl

The Moon Goddess appears to Miranda riding a Cerceau, bestowing her blessing with a haunting song. Romeo watches as Miranda plays in the waterbowl, discovering her own physicality and expressing her sinuous sexuality as she performs a challenging hand-balancing routine before diving and snaking through the water. He joins her in the water, where they innocently play and tentatively kiss for the first time.
Juggling

Juggling

Cali captures Romeo and imprisons him in the waterbowl. To celebrate his victory over his rival, he performs a juggling act with balls that drop in ever greater numbers from the sky above.
Magic Pageant

Magic Pageant

A shimmering, ethereal cloud of diaphanous red gossamer dances in the air at Prospera’s command. Then the inhabitants of Amaluna revel themselves in a pageant of peacock colours and lights, rich burnished golds and noble materials. This pageant is Prospera’s gift to Miranda, to mark her passage into womanhood.
Manipulation

Manipulation

Prospera brings Romeo and Miranda to witness the Balance Goddess creating a world in equilibrium with a mobile made of thirteen palm leaf ribs. An ode to balance, her movements are slow, deliberate and almost meditative as she concentrates all her attention on this literally breathtaking structure. And then she removes the smallest piece, everything disintegrates and the young couple’s trials begin.
Teeterboard

Teeterboard

Fenced in, the young men launch themselves high into the air, twisting and turning in a playful high-speed attempt to escape – at first from gravity then from their prison. They pull off several seemingly impossible feats, like landing in a handstand on another performer’s upturned palms or running across a ministage inclined at a steep angle.
Uneven Bars

Uneven Bars

The captured young men help the Amazons – the fierce feminine force of the island – to present a fast-paced theatrical version of the classic gymnastic routine.
Unicycle

Unicycle

Two artists enter on unicycles wearing hoop skirts of gold, weaving in and out of each other’s paths like the wind as they joyfully pirouette, dance and thrill the pageant participants.
Banquine

Banquine

The island is liberated from Cali’s influence. Miranda’s friends and the sailors perform an acrobatic celebration where the porters interlock their arms and hands to create platforms, from which the flyers take-off and perform aerial tricks.

Characters

Prospera

Prospera

Prospera is a shaman with magical powers, but she is very much driven by human emotions. The welfare of her daughter is her most important concern. She knows she must let Miranda find love and make her own way in the world, but she can use her powers to influence the way this comes about, and she will always be a protective force in her daughter’s life.
Miranda

Miranda

Miranda is a girl on the brink of womanhood. She’s a romantic, full of fun, enthusiasms, dreams and mischief, who revels in the stimulating world of Amaluna with all of its rich traditions, culture and splendid flora and fauna.
Romeo

Romeo

Prospera has a hand in conjuring up the storm that leads to the arrival of a group of young men, and she influences the events that bring their leader, the dashing Prince Romeo, and Miranda together. He is as hungry for true love as she is, but he doesn’t yet know how difficult the path ahead will be.
Cali

Cali

Half-lizard, half-human, all jealous, Cali has known Miranda all her life and although she thinks of him only as a pet, he is in love with her. And he’s determined to prevent Romeo from winning her.
Moon Goddess

Moon Goddess

The Moon Goddess has a strong female presence in Amaluna. She uses her powers sometimes to help and sometimes to hinder the young lovers in their challenge-filled quest for happiness.

Costumes

Amaluna costume designer Mérédith Caron has brought a company of fabulous and eclectic characters to life through the magic of her creations. She imagined the world of the show – the mysterious island of Amaluna – as existing somewhere in the Mediterranean as a true meeting place between East and West, a distant land where ancient and modern times overlap and blend harmoniously, and several different eras and cultures have seemingly melded into the same location.

Her complex multidimensional costumes evoke a world of day and night that is unquestionably contemporary, yet overlaid with the spirit of the Elizabethan period and containing subtle references to the Orient and Scandinavia. “It’s the encounter of humanity, the glorification of the beauty of the human being,” she explains.

The Amaluna costumes are a symbiosis between theatre and acrobatics. For Mérédith, the character and the costume are inseparable. “One calls out to the other. It is a communion, a symbiotic relationship,” she says. “But above all, it is the artist that I dress.”

To dress the artists, Mérédith has created “progressive” costumes with multiple configurations. Some of them put on a parade uniform for the more theatrical moments in the show, and performance costumes when they perform their act. Many of the garments are equipped with pads and other removable parts – the wearers might, for example, remove the sleeves and keep their doublets on, or remove the doublets altogether and perform in their shirts.

Women with the right stuff

Amaluna recreates a fabulous female mythology on stage. Inspired by Asia Minor, the corseted costumes of the Amazon warriors are augmented with ponytails and high-heeled black and red leather boots in a look that is more fantasy than historical reality. The world of Amaluna is also populated by a layer of unruly half-human, half-animal characters, freely inspired by the world of Shakespeare’s Tempest. Lizards, peacocks and fairies rub shoulders with each other.

Denim – A contemporary material and emblem of adolescence

The choice of materials is as important to Mérédith Caron as the lines of the garments. She has given denim doublets worn by the Boys who land on the island of Amalunaa distinctly Renaissance look: The sleeves are slashed to reveal the lining, and the garments are embellished with an 18th century velvet flocking to create the impression of a contemporary jean jacket.

Queen Prospera’s daughter Miranda, who is about to move into adulthood in this remote environment, wears linen, cambric and distressed velvet – a selection that is highly reminiscent of the Italian Renaissance. Her costume expresses her enthusiasm and thirst for discovery.

Raw talent and musicianship

The musicians in Queen Prospera’s entourage are creatures of the night who wear costumes that underline their strong personalities and their rock star aura with a really current look. Mérédith was inspired by the clothing styles of major figures in the worlds of music, fashion and film such as k.d. lang , Roy Orbison, John Galliano, Tim Burton and even a rock version of the Village People. “You might well see girls in these kinds of clothes among the heterogeneous fauna of a bar in avant-garde Berlin, for example,” says Mérédith, “hence the link between the costumes, the music and the decidedly rock sensibility of a show that celebrates beauty in all its guises.”

Close-ups on the costumes

  • Queen Prospera wears a large golden mantle composed of four rectangles on which are printed in sublimation the cover image of GAIA, the book of photographs taken in space by Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté. It shows a majestic cloud system captured at a distance of 350 km above the earth’s surface.
  • The peacock costumes are made up of 14 layers of heat- pleated materials trimmed in leather and stretch metallic fabric. The tails open out to a “fan” of eight feet with hydraulic pistons that compensate for their weight. Made in the same proportion to the performers’ bodies as the bird’s fans have to theirs, the tails are attached to the artists with belts that hide the mechanisms under embroidered feathers. The skeleton and leaves of the fans are made of the same Fiberglass material used in the manufacture of fishing rods, and screen-printed metallic paper is glued to the leaves to recreate the iridescent look of peacock plumage.
  • For the Valkyries’ costumes in the Aerial Straps act, Mérédith Caron was inspired by the oceans, above and below the surface. Shades of blue and green evoking Scandinavia mix with shades of sky and sea to compose a soothing palette of sophistication.
  • The white dress worn by the artist performing the Peacock Dance comprises a bustier and a skirt. The bustier is made of stretch nylon tulle covered with white beaded lace and Swarovski crystals. The skirt is made of 65 yards of white non-stretch nylon tulle covered with silver lace and Swarovski crystals. The dress has a total of 6,500 Swarovski crystals and 325 silver lace additions. The tail features 12 two-meter pleated polyester voile panels with sunray pleats (bias-cut knife pleats, narrower at the top than at the bottom, producing a flared effect), printed with white peacock feather designs.
  • There are over 130 costumes in Amaluna, made up of nearly 1000 different items.

Set Design

Amaluna director Diane Paulus is known for productions that go beyond the boundaries of a conventional theatrical setting to involve the audience in immersive environments.

Scott Pask’s set creates a mysterious, verdant, enchanted island whose most important feature is a carefully crafted forest of bamboo-like branches that both frame and surround the action.

Taking his cues from the natural world, especially from forests and plant life, Scott has created an environment that is both immersive and open, with plenty of space for dramatic rituals and ceremonies as well as acrobatic performances.

An Island Forest

The trees thrust upward from the circumference of the Amaluna stage and the Big Top’s tent poles to form an airy canopy. Upstage, the vegetation grows closer to the ground, forming a tunnel-like grotto.

The branches and limbs of the canopy are unmistakably engineered constructions, and the visual references to bamboo are quite evident. It was important to Scott that the forest should be seen to be hand-crafted, however there was no attempt to disguise its components as anything actually found in nature – nothing has been given a patina to look like wood, for example. Yet the feeling of being in a real forest is palpable. The peacock feather decoration that occupies much of the middle of the Amaluna stage is a significant emblematic motif that is echoed in some of Mérédith Caron’s iridescent costumes. The peacock images in the show are inspired by the magnificent bird that accompanies Hera, the Greek goddess of women, marriage and fertility. Legend tells us that the protective “eyes” in its tail watch over women in all the stages of their lives.

Light and Tone

Scott, who initially trained as an architect, regards the entire space as more of an art installation than a stage set, and he has used light to activate it and take the audience to other places and evoke different emotional responses. During the intense drama of the storm, for example, the lighting casts the shadows of the branchlike canopy onto the surface of the Big Top to create a momentary feeling of heightened danger.

The Water-bowl is a piece of acrobatic equipment that doubles as a dramatic set element. It resembles a giant, clear gemstone set in a ring of stylized organic shapes that resemble a vortex captured in time. As it interacts with the lighting, this “jewel” changes its appearance and aura, much like a real precious stone.

Wheels within Wheels

There are relatively few moving parts in the set design, and that was a deliberate choice intended to add a certain elegance to the performances by concentrating the audience’s attention on the human performance. There are no visual effects in the Amaluna set, and the automated mechanical elements are designed to be inconspicuous – almost invisible – even though they are in plain view.

Circular sections of the stage revolve to ensure that the entire audience can see each act from every angle, and that movement is matched by a circular scenic element above the stage: the Carousel – a custom-made ring that houses downward- facing lighting clusters as well as anchor points for flying acrobatic performers.

At times stationary, at times moving, the Carousel can revolve in sync with the stage, or counter-rotate in the opposite direction to give both the artists and the lighting maximum flexibility and range of vertical and horizontal motion. It also allows aerial performers to fly out over the heads of the audience, which emphasizes the immersive concept of the set.

Some Facts about Set Elements 

The Canopy:

  • There are 174 branches in 534 sections – 90 in the canopy and 84 upstage – making a total of 1.7 km or 1.05 miles.
  • There are three models of branches in the canopy and 35 in the upstage.

The Carousel and the Grid:

  • The 25-ft diameter Carousel weighs 6,000 lbs.
  • The Grid weighs 8,600 lbs and includes three acrobatic winches, each able to lift loads up to 400 lbs at 10 feet per second.
  • The acrobatic winch in the centre of the Carousel can lift up to 1,000 lbs at 10 feet per second.

The Water-bowl:

  • The Water-bowl is 5’5” tall, 7’3” in diameter, and weighs 5,500 lbs when filled with water.

The Chandeliers:

  • The six Chandeliers are made of aluminum tubes bent and positioned to create the effect of a mobile with a span of 14.5 ft.

Music

Composers Bob & Bill’s mission was to create a unique, raw sound for Amaluna, and to surprise by means of the unexpected.

Guitars are very present and the overall sound is resolutely contemporary. Bass, drums, cello, vocals, keyboards, percussion support the guitars in delivering a direct music without embellishment. “We wanted to unleash the power in the raw state that artists and musicians bring to the stage,” explain Bob & Bill. The musicians share the stage with acrobats at times, which combines perfectly with the energy of the score. Amaluna is the first Cirque du Soleil show with an all-female group of musicians. “We wanted to reflect the guts and intense attitude of these musicians through the music itself,” they add.

Bob & Bill are known for their ability to blur the lines between genres and styles to create an intricately woven visual style. “We created a sound for the show that would follow the emotional line of the acrobatic numbers,” they say. “Each act has its own respiration and rhythm, its own arc – and the music should reflect this. The music is an extension of the soul of a character and an expression in sound of the show’s narrative.”

Fast Facts

  • Amaluna had its World Premiere in Montréal on April 19, 2012 and since then has been performing in Canada, the United States and Europe before heading to South America to Premiere in Asuncion in 2017.
  • Amaluna marks Diane Paulus’ first collaboration with Cirque du Soleil, a renowned theatre director from New York.
  • The cast of Amaluna comprises a majority of female, including a 100% female band.

Cast and Crew

  • The cast of Amaluna comprises 48 artists. An additional 67 employees travel with the show to serve the functions of artistic management, customer service, tour services and technicians for the show and the site setup.
  • All 115 of the cast and crew represent total of 22 nationalities; Australia, Belarus, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Guam, Japan, Kazakhstan, Mexico, Mongolia, Netherlands, Poland, Puerto Rico, Russia, Spain, South Africa, Sweden, Switzerland, Ukraine, United Kingdom and the United States.
  • Although you will generally hear French and English spoken on-site, many other languages are spoken: Portuguese, Russian and more.
  • The tour relies on local suppliers for many essentials such as food, bio-diesel fuel, dry ice, machinery, food & beverages for patrons, banks, delivery services, recycling, and waste management – thereby injecting significant money into the local economy.
  • During an engagement in a city, over 150 people are hired locally for a variety of jobs including box office ticket sellers, corporate hospitality hosts, ushers, food and beverage attendants, merchandising sales staff, kitchen attendants and prep-cooks, janitors and a receptionist. We also employ over 100 local stagehands to assist with the site set-up and tear down.
  • The kitchen employs one touring kitchen manager and 3 cooks.
  • Two performance medicine people (one performance medicine supervisor and one therapist) travel with the tour.

Creators

Founder and Creative Guide
Artistic Guide
Director of Creation
Director
Set and Props Designer
Costume Designer
Composers and Musical Directors Amaluna, Les chemins invisibles, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, TORUK - The First Flight, TOTEM
Sound Designer KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, TORUK - The First Flight, Luzia
Lighting Designer
Choreographer
Acrobatic Performance Designer KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities
Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer
Director of Creation Amaluna, KÀ, The Beatles LOVE, Viva ELVIS, Luzia - Set Designer and Props Co-Designer Banana Shpeel - Set, Props and Puppet Visual Designer Wintuk
Makeup Designer KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities

Collaborators and Guest Creators

Dramaturge
Acrobatic Choreographer Luzia - Acrobatic Choreographer Amaluna, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour
Acrobatic Choreographer
"Sanddornbalance" Act