Patrice Besombes started out studying drama in Tours, France, before discovering lighting as his métier and dance as the world he wanted to bring it to.
As Technical Director of the Maison de la Danse de Lyon, the self-taught Patrice developed his approach through the work he did with the emerging – and varied – generation of French choreographers of the early 1980s, including Catherine Diverrès, Dominique Boivin and Kitsou Dubois. He designed the lighting for Benjamin Millepied’s On the Other Side for the New York City Ballet, as well as Triad and Amoveo for the Paris Opera. He also worked with the American choreographer Carolyn Carlson, whose Signes is still in the repertory of the Ballet National de Paris.
Patrice participated in the International Dance Festival in Montpellier and the Vienna Jazz Festival, joining Philippe Decouflé’s company DCA in 1993, first as stage manager on Petites pièces montées and Decodex. He slowly gravitated toward lighting with such DCA productions as Denise, the ceremonies of the 50th Cannes International Film Festival, Marguerite, Shazam!, Triton, Solo, Iris, Sombreros and Octopus.
When he creates tableaux of light for the theatre, Patrice makes extensive use of cinema techniques. Inspired by the book Des lumières et des ombres by Henri Alekan, one of the greatest French cinematographers, Patrice loves to work on faces – sculpting them with light to capture their expressions.
"Light is essential to the image and its propagation, especially in entertainment and film,” says Patrice, who is working with Cirque du Soleil for the first time. “What's new in IRIS is the way the artists light themselves by carrying their own lights."
Patrice Besombes was born in Saumur, France.