French stage and film director, artistic director, dancer and choreographer Philippe Decouflé trained in many disciplines. His earliest ambition was to become a cartoonist, but after studying at Annie Fratellini’s circus school and Marcel Marceau’s mime school, he turned to modern dance and came into contact with choreographers such as Merce Cunningham and Alwin Nikolais.
For Philippe, cooperation with others is essential to his process. In 1983 he gathered together a group of artists and artisans who have been with him ever since as members of his dance company DCA, which has created scores of playful and fantastic productions that represent a veritable revival in contemporary dance.
Philippe directed some music videos and commercials in the 1980s, and in 1992 he created the magnificent opening and closing ceremonies of the Albertville Olympic Games, working with his frequent cohorts costume designer Philippe Guillotel, and set designer Jean Rabasse. For Philippe, putting together the parade of 3,000 performers was akin to writing a symphony. Watched by two billion viewers, this work earned him an international reputation.
In 1995, Philippe moved his company into an old heating plant that he transformed into a bubbling laboratory where artists, designers and technicians could share their ideas. This was the birthplace of such original creations as Triton (1990), Shazam (1998), Solo (2003), Sombrero (2006), Cœurs croisés (2007) and Octopus (2010). He also wrote the show Désirs, which has been playing at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris since 2009.
Among his many honors Philippe was appointed Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1994, and the following year he won the Grand prix national du ministère de la culture for his show Decodex.
IRIS is Philippe Decouflé’s first engagement with Cirque du Soleil. “I wanted this work to belong within the great traditions of Cirque du Soleil, but with my own mix of humor and seriousness,” he says.
Philippe Decouflé was born in Paris, France.