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Oct 31, 2012

Cirque du Soleil's Dralion: 'A Wonderful Experience'

By Ben York
Posted: Oct. 31, 2012

Touring throughout the country, Cirque du Soleil's Dralion (at US Airways Center November 28 - December 2) has been wowing audiences everywhere. 

"Dralion: It’s jaw-dropping excitement."
The Sioux City Journal
"Music, costumes, performers, combine for a dazzling performance."
The South End
"Truly a wonderful experience."
Reading Eagle
"Cirque's unpretentious "Dralion" offers one visual gravity-defying stunner after another."
The Philadelphia Inquirer

Dralion characterizes itself as " harmonious blend of Eastern and Western acrobatic prowess." In fact, the show's name (Dralion) is derived from its two emblematic creatures: the dragon, symbolizing the East, and the lion, symbolizing the West.

In short, the show focuses on fusing the 3000 year-old tradition of Chinese acrobatic arts with the multidisciplinary approach of Cirque du Soleil. In Dralion, the show draws its inspiration from Eastern philosophy and its never-ending quest for harmony between humans and nature. 

In Dralion, the four elements that govern the natural order take on a human form. Thus embodied, each element is represented by its own evocative color: air is blue; water is green; fire is red; earth is ochre. In the world of Dralion, cultures blend, Man and Nature are one, and balance is achieved.

Not surprisingly, the show's creators spent ample time designing intricate, spectacular costumes.

  • Over 5,000 meters (16,000 feet) of fabric were used in creating the costumes;
  • The fabrics come from regions around the globe, including China, the United States, Italy, France, England and Quebec;
  • Materials that might be considered unusual were used in creating costumes and accessories: horse hair, raffia, metal, window screen, emu feathers, crystals, Styrofoam, plastic, bubble wrap, fun fur, springs and an array of hardware items
  • To create the texture on the chest plate on the singer’s costume, bugs were glued on and then molded into different shapes;
  • The artisans at the Cirque du Soleil costume workshop in Montreal worked for over three months fabricating the original costumes, hats, wigs and footwear required for Dralion. New costumes are continuously made.
  • The majority of the Dralion costumes are custom-made for each artist, including shoes and head pieces.
  • Dralion has close to 1500 costume pieces including shoes, hats and accessories.
  • The Dralion wardrobe team includes 4 permanent touring staff and 3 local wardrobe employees in each city. The wardrobe team is responsible for maintaining and repairing all costumes.
  • The Dralion tour travels with washers and dryers because most costume pieces are machine washable and then hung to dry.
  • Over 300 pairs of shoes are cleaned and painted by hand every week.

Furthermore, to accompany the brilliant costumes, the show's set design is certainly one of a kind.

"A mammoth structure creates the huge backdrop that dominates the stage. This metallic set piece is 60 feet wide and 26 feet tall and is suggestive of a futuristic Chinese temple or a giant plate of medieval armor.
The most imposing feature is the metallic wall which spans the full length of the stage. Covered with perforated aluminum tiles, the wall is strong and resilient while giving the impression of being light and flexible. The six giant claws attached to the structure allow artists to climb and suspend themselves from the wall.
Three concentric aluminum rings are suspended high above the stage. The first serves as a catwalk for performers and technicians. The second is used to support technical and acrobatic equipment, including the enormous lantern that descends at the end of the first half of the show. The third ring is used to move performers up, down and through the world of Dralion."
To see a glimpse of the beautiful, unique show, check out the official Dralion trailer above.