KOOZA

KOOZA tells the story of The Innocent, a melancholy loner in search of his place in the world. 

KOOZA is a return to the origins of Cirque du Soleil: It combines two circus traditions - acrobatic performance and the art of clowning. The show highlights the physical demands of human performance in all its splendor and fragility, presented in a colorful mélange that emphasizes bold slapstick humor.

The Innocent's journey brings him into contact with a panoply of comic characters such as the King, the Trickster and the Obnoxious Tourist and his Bad Dog.

Between strength and fragility, laughter and smiles, turmoil and harmony, KOOZA explores themes of fear, identity, recognition and power. The show is set in an electrifying and exotic visual world full of surprises, thrills, chills, audacity and total involvement.

Touring in China and Korea (Republic of) More info

Acts

Balancing on Chairs

Balancing on Chairs

The equipment is as simple as it gets: eight chairs and a pedestal. But in this act, the artist uses them to create a 23-foot tower on which to perform a balancing act that displays the human body at the very peak of condition and muscular control.
Charivari

Charivari

The 19 artists of the House Troupe burst into action off the top of the show, combining acrobatics, rapid-fire costume changes and rebounds from three miniature trampolines set in the stage. The act highlights include human pyramids, bodies flying through the air and a "crash bash" – a daring dive into a circle of fabric inspired by the "Nalukauq," the traditional Inuit game of "Blanket Toss" and the landing mats used by firefighters.
Contortion

Contortion

Young performers work in harmony and unison to bring a new approach to the art of contortionism. What sets this number apart is the artists' innovations in movements and position, their speed, and the way they work as a team to create tableaux of sculptural beauty.
High Wire

High Wire

The twin high wires criss-cross diagonally stage left to stage right at 15 and 25 feet above the stage, and the four tightrope walkers add their own tension to the 6,600 pound load on each rope.
Hoops Manipulation

Hoops Manipulation

A hoops act with such a high level of difficulty is a rare demonstration of skill and the KOOZA artist is one of the best in the world. Combining fluidity of movement, physical contortion, exceptional balance and impressive dexterity, her performance is out of this world, whether she is spinning one, two, three, or even seven hoops simultaneously.

Straps

With the ability to fly, spin, and swing in every direction, the long flowing dynamics of the aerialist’s motion is juxtaposed against the gripping, high acrobatics performed by the Straps artist. The breathtaking versatility of the Straps allows her to take command of the stage and soar to incredible acrobatic feats while continuously building the excitement to an astounding climax. She is a powerful character - distinctively feminine.
Teeterboard

Teeterboard

The Teeterboard flings artists into the air, where they execute quintuple twisting somersaults – and that's just the prelude for acrobats doing the same thing over 30 feet above the stage with double and single metal stilts strapped to their legs.
Unicycle Duo

Unicycle Duo

A twist on the classic unicycle number introduces a passenger to the action. The two performers create a pas de deux in constant motion around the stage in a combination of balance, acrobatic control, physical strength, choreographic grace and a spirit of partnership.
Wheel of Death

Wheel of Death

KOOZA's 1,600-pound Wheel of Death rotates at heart-stopping speeds, powered only by the two artists who leap and counter-rotate in a death-defying display of fearless acrobatics and astonishing teamwork. Like the Highwire, the Wheel of Death is positioned diagonally stage left to stage right in order to break with the usual symmetry and bring the action as close as possible to the audience.

Characters

The Trickster

The Trickster

Charming and sophisticated, The Trickster is a sublimely quick and agile being, a genius who knows all about the world of KOOZA because he created it. He appears and disappears at will and there's electricity in the air each time he arrives on stage. He created this world for The Innocent and keeps a watchful eye out for him. He teases him, and plays tricks on him with his powers, but it's The Innocent's own subconscious that leads the dance…
The Innocent

The Innocent

The Innocent is a naïve and melancholy loner carried off into The Trickster's world. Outwardly childlike, ingenuous and simple, he is eager to get to know the new world he's in, but as soon as he uses The Trickster's powers he discovers an unexpected and jarring environment, a reflection of his soul.
The King

The King

The King is the king of fools, the most burlesque of all the characters. His hair is tousled and his crown has a mind of its own as he tries desperately to gain the respect of those who are crazier than himself.
Clowns

Clowns

The two Court Clowns are The King's foolish footmen, his indispensable sidekicks in the extravagant adventures in the realm of KOOZA.
Heimloss

Heimloss

The very strange Heimloss lives beneath the stage where he's in charge of the mechanical machinery that gives life to everything in the hidden world of KOOZA.
The Bad Dog

The Bad Dog

In this crazy world, even The Dog is nutty. He chases everyone, barks and is impossible to control. The word "training" means nothing to him. But like everyone else he's drawn to The Innocent and becomes his playful, over-the-top companion.

Costumes

For KOOZA, Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt has drawn on a wide variety of sources of inspiration: everything from graphic novels, the painter Klimt, Mad Max movies, time- travel movies to India and Eastern Europe. She was also inspired by clock movements, tin soldiers, marching band uniforms and children’s book illustrations. All this merges to create a look that alludes to Alice in Wonderland, Baron Munchaüsen and the Wizard of Oz.

There are many rapid costume changes during the show and Marie-Chantale researched magicians’ quick-change techniques to create costume magic of her own.

  • Marie-Chantale had percussion instruments made out of molded carbon for the Skeleton costume. They look and sound like bones when the performers hit them against each other to create a musical rhythm.
  • The “Bad Dog” costume proved to be another huge challenge because the performer wearing it has to be able to move the dog’s ears, stick its tongue in and out, dribble and wag its tail.
  • The “Rat Cape” is a costume that creates the illusion that rats are running down a performer’s body before disappearing into a trap. This would be relatively easy in a film, but it’s a lot more difficult to achieve live on stage. Following a long period of trial and error, the final Rat Cape costume is made up of 150 fake-fur rats with crystal eyes to catch the light. The running effect was inspired by the mechanism of vertical blinds and several of the rats are fitted with little wheels to make them seem even more alive.
  • There are more than 175 costumes and 160 hats in the show—1,080 items in all, including all the shoes, props, wigs and so on.

One army costume features more than 400 individually- sewn metallic flaps to create the effect that it is armored.

Costumes at Cirque du Soleil – Facts:

  • All costumes are custom-made and the majority are produced at the Costume workshop in the International Headquarters in Montreal, Canada. .
  • Every year, the Costume workshop produced more than 25,000 pieces. Each year, the Costume workshop artisans use close to 130 kilometers of fabric from around the world. A total of 80% of all fabrics are treated and dyed in-house by the artisans of the textile design team.
  • Shoes are hand- and custom-made for all artists by the artisans of the Shoe workshop. Brand new sports or dance shoes are sometimes altered to meet the specific of a costume. On average, nearly 3,000 pairs of shoes are produced by the workshop every year.
  • Hats can be seen in every Cirque du Soleil show and are a key part of the costumes. Like the costumes, they are custom-designed and made in the workshop. To do this, the milliners mould and build the hats on plaster models of the artists’ heads. When artists arrive at Cirque du Soleil, they must have a mould made of their head.

“It’s been a great challenge, but it’s also full of traps. You don’t want to exaggerate or slip into creating a caricature when you’re trying to capture a character.”— Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt

Set Design

KOOZA’s set evokes a public square that metamorphoses into a circus ring. The circular stage provides the audience with excellent sight lines through 260 degrees.

There has been no attempt to conceal or disguise the acrobatic equipment. The structure of the big top is always in full view. Everything is done out in the open with simplicity and transparency in order to concentrate the audience’s attention on the artists and the acrobatic performances.

  • The stage is dominated by one major set element, a traveling tower called the Bataclan, which alters the configuration of the performance space as it moves.
  • The Bataclan moves artists in and out of the spotlight, serves as a bandstand and is flanked by two curved staircases.
  • The decoration of the Bataclan is inspired by Hindu culture, Pakistani buses and Indian jewelry.
  • Overlooking the Bataclan, the giant fabric structure called the Void was printed with motifs inspired by the internal structure of leaves to give it a decidedly organic look.
  • The “sails” that frame the Bataclan can be opened and closed like the petals of an enormous flower by just two people using ropes and pulleys.
  • The surface of the stage is decorated to look like a starry sky, and in the center ring is a graphic representation of the sky in Montreal on the night of the first public performance.
  • The stage is ringed by recessed lighting units that cast a warm glow up into the faces of the performers, much like the footlights of a 19th-century theater.
  • The diameter of the top of the stage is 36’; it is 42’ at the bottom step. This is the diameter of a standard circus ring set by the minimum size of a ring horses could comfortably be at gallop within.
  • It is the highest stage ever designed for our shows (39” vs 30-36” usually), as we needed space underneath for the Jack-in-the-Box hydraulics (which propels 6-7 feet up in the air).
  • Technicians and artists travel under the stage on dollies like mechanics use to roll under cars.
  • The musician pit is located on the upper level of the structure.

“I wanted to capture the essence of circus itself by creating a scenographic environment that offers true proximity to the audience and where danger is palpable.” — Stéphane Roy

Music

The music of KOOZA beautifully demonstrates the spirit of the live show with its themes of human connection and fun in a world of duality. With a stream of uplifting songs with timeless influences where forms and styles intertwine seamlessly, the music of KOOZA is inspired by the sounds of western pop culture, from 1970s funk to full orchestral arrangements. It also draws heavily on traditional Indian music.

There are six KOOZA musicians who play live music during each performance: trumpet, trombone, bass, drums, percussion and keyboard. There are also two singers who sing live during each performance.

I was inspired by Western pop music, from 1970s funk to orchestral music. I also drew upon traditional Indian music and film scores from the 1940s and 1950s, a period I’m particularly fond of.” — Jean-François Côté

Fast facts

  • KOOZA had its world premiere in April 2007 in Montréal, Canada and has since played in over 56 cities in 18 countries, on four different continents.
  • KOOZA celebrated its 1,000th performance in Santa Monica, California in 2009, its 1,500th performance in Tokyo, Japan in 2011 and its 2,000th performance in Dallas, Texas in 2012, it’s 2500th performance in Vienna, Austria in 2014 and its 3000th performance in Montevideo, Uruguay in 2016.
  • Over 7.5 million people have seen KOOZA.

Cast and Crew

  • The cast and crew of KOOZA represent 19 nationalities: Australia, Belarus, Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, Colombia, France, Italy, Hong Kong, Japan, Korea, Moldova, Mongolia, Netherlands, Russia, Spain, United Kingdom and United States.
  • Although French and English are the main languages on tour, many other languages are spoken including Spanish and Russian.
  • Approximately 190 people travel with the tour including more than 120 members of the cast and crew. The rest are official accompanying members (spouses and children). Of all the employees, 50 are performers.
  • The tour relies on local suppliers for many essentials such as food, bio-diesel fuel, machinery, food and beverage supplies for patrons, banking services, delivery services, recycling, and waste management—thereby injecting a significant amount of money into the local economy.
  • During an engagement in a city, over 120 people are hired locally to help with ticketing, seating, janitorial services and administration.
  • The kitchen employs one kitchen manager and three cooks.
  • Two performance medicine specialists travel with the tour.

Creators

Founder and Creative Guide
Writer and Director
Creation Director
Set Designer , Varekai, Zumanity, KOOZA - Set and Props Designer , KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities
Costume Designer
Composer
Choreographer
Lighting Designer Corteo, KOOZA, Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, Luzia - Additional Lighting Design and Reprogramming Viva ELVIS
Sound Designer
Sound Designer
Props Designer
Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer KURIOS – Cabinet of Curiosities, Luzia
Acrobatic Performance Designer CRISS ANGEL Believe, KOOZA, Varekai - Aerial Acrobatics Designer and Head Coach– Creation KÀ
Makeup Designer