Behind the scenes of “Alegría”

{ Translated from the original French via Google Translate}

In August, Cirque du Soleil will set up its marquee in Gatineau to present the second coming of “Alegría”, twenty-five years after its first performance. Two months into the Montreal premiere, the show’s craftsmen juggled between the renewed elements of the first replay of the company’s history, that of an emblematic work played 6,600 times in front of 14 million spectators. Incursion behind the scenes of a classic being (re) created.’

Tuesday morning. Head to the Cirque du Soleil International Headquarters in Montreal’s Saint-Michel district. It is in this imposing edifice that is directed a company which, in 35 years and 43 creations, has contributed to change the image of the circus. It is also where hundreds of craftsmen and specialists imagine, choreograph, compose, sew, each new fairyland.

Re-creating a show, argues Daniel Ross, is just as laborious as staging a new creation – maybe even more. Apart from the script and the melodies, all the elements are to be reinvented. “We’re really creating right now,” says Alegría’s Creative Director . What is important to understand, especially with the circus arts, is that in 25 years, people have seen a lot of things. Renewing with innovation in acrobatics “, as well as in scenography, costumes and music,” this is one of the things we wanted to do with this show. ”

Alegría tells the story of a monarchy that lost its king. Mr. Fleur proclaimed himself sovereign, seconded by the Old Birds, who cling to their achievements in a system with outdated values. Meanwhile, the Bronx seek to reverse the established order and breathe new life into their society. It is a passage from shadow to light, from despair to joy. At the Alegría .


In one of the studios, about fifteen Bronx make repeated tendrils on a cross-shaped trampoline encrusted in the very floor of the temporary scene. Next door, Aristocrats – the new version of the Old Birds – repeat a number inspired by the Russian bar, a practice reserved for virtuosos.

In the new Alegría , the complexity of the numbers makes it necessary to take up to eight months of rehearsal to master them. “It’s an adaptation of the set, the environment and the synergy of the group,” says the designer and choreographer of the acrobatic performance Émilie Therrien. Creating trust between individuals to be able to share the scene every day and to be thrown into the void and caught by someone is like a human relationship; it takes time. ”

In addition to their acrobatics, the performers must master another aspect of their choreography: the changes of scenery. Many manual transitions will be entrusted to the artists.

The scene will also be shared with backpackers; some were part of the first version of the show, including the one that handles the fire.


Brain behind the soundtracks of the Homage Series presented every summer in Trois-Rivières, Jean-Phi Goncalves returned behind the consoles for Alegría . At the time of the visit, the musicians had not yet accompanied the choreographies of the acrobats.

Faith of musical director and arranger, the road could be long before reaching a fixed version of the pieces.

“Is it the right energy at the right time? Are they running out of time so that they can do their acrobatics? launches the free electron of Beast and Plaster. There are a lot of timing adjustments; sometimes they are intentional adjustments. ”

Jokingly, the percussionist and producer compares his work to that of a designer: “I take the song and dress it differently. I’ll give him other clothes, flip-flops, cowboy boots, leather … ”

In the new dressing, several accordion laces were disjointed from the frame to reweave them with cello. “There is an orchestral aspect that we will find, as well as this mix that I like to do between acoustics and electronics. ”

The curious can already listen to Vai Vedrai , the first extract of the soundtrack of Jean-Phi Goncalves, available on several platforms.


A monstrous installation overlooks the temporary scene on which the Bronx repeat. The beam of metal rods, curved and pierced with piles, is reminiscent of a crown of thorns: it is the central element of the work of the scenographer Anne-Séguin Poirier.

“It’s a scenography much more present than the original one,” she explains. Then it’s a decor that evolves with the story of the show. In the case of this large crown, we brought lighting inside that will make it look more and more modern. ”

In all, 52 artists will rise on his stage in the form of two diamonds that intersect. Constraint obliges; you had to adapt to the shape of the trampolines needed for the powertrack number . And unlike the old version of the show, the musicians will play on a platform on the stage, not away. The five troubadours will from time to time hide behind a series of mirrored panels, which also serve another more practical function: “We, that allows us to hide a lot of things. Because there is no backstage! ”


When we ask Dominique Lemieux how many outfits hang in the wardrobe of Alegría , the costume designer starts to giggle.

“I never know it. Me, I do not like to count, because it puts me stress! “She who designs costumes for Cirque du Soleil since 1989 – including for Alegría in 1994 – estimates the sum at” between 85 and 100 “. Each of these creations requires about a month of work, a load that is shared by 35 home designers.

As the new Alegría wants to be human, less focused on “bugs”, “we see more faces and bodies; makeup will be lighter, and heads smaller, “summarizes Dominique Lemieux. For example, instead of the bulky costumes of the Old Birds, the Aristocrats “have deformities in their bodies, but are much closer to the body itself”, like a belly bump or a bump in the back.

“It’s as if they had accumulated in their bodies all their way of seeing the world and that it had distorted them. ”

The patina, a process of artificial aging, is omnipresent, even on the costumes of the “gentiles”. “We want to feel that life is still trouble! We see a lot of humanity because in reality, we walk in the dust, in the ice, the wind, the rain … and despite all the “despite”, we remain hopeful. ”

{ SOURCE: LeDroit }