The Cirque Du Soleil needs little introduction; it's a mammoth production company producing superb shows recognised worldwide for their high class and unique performances which feature some of the world's most talented singers, dancers and acrobats.
Originating in Quebec in 1984 from a group of just 20 street performers, today this phenomenal stage experience has grown to become an international hit with a company of almost 4000 employees, including 1300 performers from close to 50 different countries around the world.
Totem is the Cirque Du Soleil's latest show touring Australia and it is currently visiting Melbourne until March 29.
Written and directed by Robert Lepage, this epic study of the evolution of man from the dawn of time to our ultimate (continuing) pursuit of the sky, is a magnificent creation to experience and one which was three long years in the making: Two were spent in the planning and design stages and the final year was dedicated to training and rehearsals.
|Into space with some extraordinary acrobatic work set against a celestial backdrop.|
*Publicity image supplied courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil.
Totem, with its talented multidisciplinary cast, combined with a sound and light extravaganza that appears to effortlessly transform its magical set, is like nothing you will ever witness elsewhere on stage. This mesmerising Cirque Du Soleil show is capable of lifting its audience right out of reality and sending its viewers into a dream-like state for over two hours - it's one not to miss.
|The unicycle act - totally mesmerising. *Supplied publicity image courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil.|
having never experienced a Cirque Du Soleil show, we were very keen to become acquainted with this international sensation.
Meet some of the cast who greeted us on arrival backstage:
Seeing these performers in their full makeup and dress in this everyday setting was fantastic. The fantasy of the show was still fresh in our minds and the reality of their dazzling look was so intriguing to take in, in the natural light. The intricate attention to detail in the incredible costumes was there to be examined up close and it was quite breathtaking.
We were amazed at the different nationalities represented by this small group of artists and were offered insights into their backgrounds as to how each of them came to be a part of the huge Cirque Du Soleil family.
|This particular costume is dazzling on stage under the lights. It is made of jet black fabric and features hand placed mirrors and sequins. This talented acrobat spends much of the show upside down, suspended from the roof of the Big Top.|
|The show's lead singer displays her cloaked dress with its magical design which blends into all |
of the different sequences throughout the show.
The rear of the costumes and headdresses up close - nothing is overlooked and there are so many hours of skilled handiwork apparent.
A collection of props from the show. Above first image: The bowls which are balanced delicately on the exotic girls' heads. Image two: The tall bamboo unicycles they ride and (image three) corn-covered headpieces from Totem await their next show.
We were surprised to discover that backstage under the Big Top is mostly space devoted to a huge gymnasium for warm-ups, practice and post show cool-downs. Here, a session post-show is underway in full theatrical makeup.
Our tour guide for our behind-the-scenes experience with Totem was Francis Jalbert, the Cirque Du Soleil's Tour Publicist. Here Francis shows one of the latex masks worn in the show. The mask was moulded to fit its wearer's head and represents over 50 hours of intricate work, having had each individual hair hand threaded.
Each of the costumes worn in Totem are designed by Kym Barrett - the Hollywood costume designer behind The Matrix movies. Here Francis explains how all costumes for the show are manufactured in Montreal and every part is hand done; cut to fit the performer precisely. The fabric is individually designed and painted. Even the shells on the costumes are crafted; moulded from polymer by hand.
|Wardrobe essentials: Sequins, cottons and other haberdashery travel with the show for repairs.|
|Trunks full of fabric swatches from Montreal - every performer has spare fabric in here|
in case of urgent repairs being required.
|Drawers and drawers full of makeup supplies...|
Costumes are laundered after every show and hung to dry in the wardrobe department. Wherever the Cirque Du Soleil travels, they employ three locals to manage the show's laundry loads. Some of it is hand washed but many items are washed in machines which also travel with the show.
The Cirque Du Soleil is a fully self sufficient travelling production (even down to generating their own electricity supply) and only connect to the local water service wherever they are stationed.
We were so honoured to be a part of this backstage experience and wish to thank the
Cirque Du Soleil's Totem team for this wonderful opportunity.
Catch the Cirque Du Soleil's Totem in Melbourne before the season ends on March 29
at the Flemington Racecourse.
Further tour details and ticket information can be found on the Cirque Du Soleil website.
Or call 1800 036 685 (12pm - 10pm Monday to Friday) for ticket purchases.
Totem plays in Brisbane from April 10, Adelaide from June 11 and Perth from July 31, 2015.
*Disclosure: Six Little Hearts were guests of the Cirque Du Soleil for this backstage experience
and received tickets to Totem in exchange for this feature.
All opinions expressed are those of this blog's Author.
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