Logo for Cirque du Soleil's Dralion
|Company||Cirque du Soleil|
|Date of premiere||April 22, 1999 (Montreal)|
|Final show||January 18, 2015 (Anchorage)|
|Director of creation||Gilles Ste-Croix|
|Set designer||Stéphane Roy|
|Costume designer||François Barbeau|
|Clown act designer||Michel Dallaire|
|Lighting designer||Luc Lafortune|
|Sound designer||Guy Desrochers|
|General artistic director||Sylvie Galarneau|
|Company founder and CEO||Guy Laliberté|
|Preceded by||La Nouba (1998)|
|Succeeded by||Varekai (2002)|
Dralion (pronounced Drah-lee-on) was a touring production by the Canadian entertainment company Cirque du Soleil. The show combined elements of traditional Chinese circus with Western contemporary circus, complementing the "East-meets-West" theme implied in the title — the name is a portmanteau of "dragon" (representing the East) and "lion" (representing the West). It is Cirque du Soleil's 12th touring production and the first Cirque show since 1985 not to be directed by Franco Dragone. Dralion performed its final show at the Sullivan Arena in Anchorage, Alaska on January 18, 2015, bringing its 15-year world tour to a close.
Set and technical information
The backdrop for Dralion was a metallic structure 60 feet (18 m) in width and 26 feet (7.9 m) in height. It was covered in perforated aluminum tiles, giving it the appearance of medieval armor or a futuristic Chinese temple. Sitting atop the structure were six giant claws which allow performers to climb the wall and suspend in mid-air. Above the stage itself were three large concentric aluminum rings. The first was utilized as a catwalk; the second was used to support acrobatic equipment; and the third is used by performers to move up and down and suspend in the air.
Portions of the Dralion stage were redesigned and incorporated into the Ovo arena tour in early 2016.
Dralion featured 50 members in its performance troupe, of which about 5 or 6 play principal characters.
- Azala (air): The goddess of air who is dressed in blue, keeper of the sun and the guardian of immortality.
- Gaya (earth): The goddess of earth, dressed in ochre.
- Océane (water): The goddess of water, dressed in green.
- Yao (fire): The god of fire, dressed in red, who is both good and evil.
- L'Âme Force: The show's singers who symbolize harmony between the four elements.
- Kala: Represents the heart of the wheel of time, making time evolve.
- King Bamboo: Represents the force of Fire.
- Hibana: A Fire Princess.
- Little Buddha: The chosen child who possesses powers that will eventually allow him to become an Âme-Force, but dreams of being a regular child.
- Shine: The lover of the air goddess Azala.
- Dralions: Mythical creatures inspired by the imagery of the Chinese lion dance and dragon dance. (performed by members of Chinese house troupe)
- Water Nymphs: A group of young girls dress in green, they follow the order of Océane.
- Giovanni: A small but nimble man. (1999-2015)
- Giovanna: A female version of Giovanni portrayed by Jessica Green. (2003)
- The Fools: The original clowns of Dralion consisting of Robert Jette, Ben Amar-Djalal, Aline Muheim, and Philippe Delaitre. (1999)
- Les Voila: A duo of bizarre clowns consisting of Johnny Filion and Soizick Hebert. (1999-2001)
- The Mad Italian Waiters: Strange foreigners from a far off land. (2001-2015)
- Dance of the Elements: The show began with the goddesses and god of the four elements dancing.
- Single Handbalancing: A single woman balances on one hand and accomplishes a variety of poses.
- Bamboo Poles: Five acrobats twirl and throw 25-foot-long (7.6 m) bamboo poles while Yao waves a flag as the acrobats jump over it.
- Juggling: An artist performs juggling infused with breakdancing and modern dance. This act was performed by Viktor Kee but now is performed by Vladik Myagkostoupov.
- Trampoline: Surrounding Océane, a group of acrobats perform on trampolines using the set's futuristic backdrop both as a diving board and landing pad.
- Crossed Cyr Wheel: A cyr wheel that is infused with another cyr wheel forming a globe. The performer spins and twists this apparatus in an act that represents the circle of life and the passing of time.
- Dralions: Three acrobats and three Dralions perform tumbling feats and Chinese lion dance-like dance.
- Medusa: A group of artists execute graceful and lithe movements, in the style of acrosport.
- Aerial Hoop: A single artist performs choreography using a hoop suspended in mid-air.
- Diabolo: Artists perform tricks with diabolos trying to outperform each other.
- Aerial Pas de Deux: Azala and her male counterpart perform an aerial dance in silks.
- Hoop Diving: Acrobats jump through a tower of hoops, which is sometimes spinning.
- Skipping Ropes: A group of acrobats perform jump rope alone or together in pyramids and in towers.
- Contortion: A solo act featuring a very flexible performer who stays in handstands with their legs over their head.
- Aerial Straps: Used commonly in place of Aerial Pas de Deux.
- Contortion with Bowls: This was a contortion act made even more precarious with the added difficulty of balancing a stack of bowls on the artists head.
- Teeterboard: An original Dralion act, it featured an all female troupe. The flyer would stand at one end of the trapeze as two performers jumped onto the opposite end, shooting the flyer up and onto a high tower of other performers.
- Ballet on Lightbulbs: An original Dralion act that was unlike anything else. A group of female artists wore ballet pointe shoes and balanced while other performers climbed onto their shoulders creating high towers of people all on a platform of light bulbs.
- Double Duplex Trapeze: An original Dralion act, two trapezes that had one bar at the bottom and another bar about a metre above it, the artists would jump or flip from the higher bar into the hands of another performer at the bottom bar.
- Foot Juggling: An original Dralion act, this foot juggling act featured a female artist who manipulated and spun an open Chinese parasol on her feet, at one moment she would have a parasol on each foot and each hand, all spinning simultaneously.
- Balancing on Chairs: This act had an artist stack a pile if chairs, at the top of the pile the artist performed a hand-balancing act.
- Spirits: Four couples perform a gravity-defying ballet.
Dralion's costumes are vibrant in color; inspired by clothing from India, China, and Africa; and are shaped according to the movements of each performer's choreography. In total there are around 1500 wardrobe pieces for the show, taking into account that some artists have up to four costume changes during a single performance.
- Yao: As the symbol of fire, Yao is clad in red.
- Océane: As the goddess of water, Océane's costume is Indian inspired and green in color.
- Azala: As the goddess of air, Azala's primary color is blue. Her dress is fashioned with Asian crystal beads.
- Gaya: As the goddess of earth, Gaya's color is Ochre. Her costume is inspired by African designs.
- L'Âme Force: The texture on the front of their golden costumes is made by moulding small plastic soldiers.
- Dralions: The dralions are constructed from a mélange of items both natural and synthetic: lycra, leather, silk, mosquito netting, polystyrene foam, springs, raffia, horse hair, emu feathers, and other fabrics and decorations.
With the company's departure from its longtime creative team, Dralion features the work of a new Cirque composer, French-Canadian composer Violaine Corradi. The music of Dralion aims to be a fusion of sounds from East and West by the use of acoustic and electric instruments. Featuring rhythmic and lyrical motifs, the influences range from Indian melodies to sounds from Andalusia, Africa, Central Europe, and the West. Instruments used in the CD are drums, violin, winds, keyboards, guitar and percussion instructions. Released on November 9, 1999, Dralion’s soundtrack features the vocals of Basque counter-tenor Erik Karol, and Canadian female vocalist Agnès Sohier. The tracks for the CD are listed below, with their corresponding acts alongside in italics.
- Stella Errans (Single Handbalancing, 1999 - 2015)
- Foot Juggling (Rotation, 1999 - 2010)
- Contortion with Bowls (Rotation, 1999 - 2000)
- Balancing on Chairs (Rotation, 2010 - 2012)
- Contortion (Rotation, 2012 - 2014)
- Spiritual Spiral
- Setup to Double Trapeze, (1999 - 2010)
- Setup to Skipping Rope, (2014 - 2015)
- Miracula Æternitatis
- Spirits (1999 - 2014)
- Crossed Cyr Wheel
- Bamboo (Bamboo Poles, 1999 - 2015)
- Aerial Pas de Deux, (1999 - 2015)
- Aerial Straps (Rotation, 2010 - 2015)
- Ravendhi (Teeterboard, 1999 - 2005)
- Ninkou Latora
- Double Trapeze (1999 - 2010)
- Crossed Cyr Wheel (2012 - 2015)
- Aborigenes Jam (Hoop Diving, 1999 - 2015)
- Hinkò (Ballet on Lightbulbs, 1999 - 2010)
- Kamandé (Skipping Rope and Finale, 1999 - 2015)
- Little Budda (Preshow)
- Original Opening (Opening, early 1999)
- Elements (Opening, 1999 - 2015)
- Opening, (1999 - 2015)
- Prelude to Skipping Rope (1999 - August 2014)
- Naya (Single Handbalancing Intro)
- Exaequo (Juggling Prelude)
- Momma Kee (Juggling, Viktor Kee version, 1999 - 2006)
- Vladik-Jug (Juggling, Vladik Myagkostoupov version, 2006 - 2015)
- Lanterne (Lanterns, 1999 - 2015)
- Soleil Tilt (Soleil Tilt, 1999 - 2015)
- Bombarde (Dralions, 1999 - 2015)
- Shine (Transition, 2001 - 2015)
- Hibana (Aerial Hoop, 2001 - 2015)
- Anima (Aerial Hoop, 2001 - 2015)
- Trampo-Wall (Trampolines, 2005 - 2015)
- Diabolos (Diabolos, 2010 - 2015)
- Medusa (Medusa, 2010 - 2015)
- Hairpiece (Clown act, 2001 - 2015)
- Death (Clown act, 2001 - 2015)
- Imitatio (Clown act, 1999 - 2004)
- Imitatio II (Clown act, 2005 - 2015)
- Agnès Sohier:
- From April 22, 1999 (Montreal) to Fall 2004 (Madrid)
- From March 17, 2005 (Barcelona) to January 18, 2015 (Anchorage)
- Laur Fugère:
- From April 4, 2001 to May 20, 2001 (New York City)
- From October 2, 2003 to December 14, 2003 (Mexico City)
- Estelle Esse - From Fall 2004 (Madrid) to February 6, 2005 (London)
- Érik Karol:
- From April 22, 1999 (Montreal) to January 28, 2001 (Atlanta)
- From June 3, 2004 (Vienna) to February 6, 2005 (London)
- From September 8, 2005 (Zurich) to February 26, 2006 (Sevilla)
- Frank Irving - From February 14, 2001 (Miami) to December 16, 2001 (Dallas)
- Robert Fertitta - From March 6, 2002 (Los Angeles) to December 21, 2002 (Phoenix)
- Calvin Braxton:
- From February 6, 2003 (New Orleans) to May 23, 2004 (Amsterdam)
- From March 17, 2005 (Barcelona) to August 28, 2005 (Ostend)
- From March 10, 2006 (Geneva) to August 2008 (Sydney)*
- Cristian Zabala:
- 2007 - 2008 (Japan)*
- From October 21, 2010 (Trenton) to June 9, 2013 (Guatemala City)
- From October 2, 2014 (Albany) to January 18, 2015 (Anchorage)
- Chad Oliver - From July 16, 2008 (Sydney) to January 17, 2010 (Mexico)
- Josue Anuar - From July 9, 2013 (Amnéville) to September 6, 2014 (Palma de Mallorca)
*During the 2007-2008 Japan tour, Calvin Braxton and Cristian Zabala alternated the role.
After premiering under the Grand Chapiteau in 1999, "Dralion" was briefly retired in December 2009. In mid-2010, the show began the arena restaging process, having its first dress rehearsal at the John Paul Jones Arena in Charlottesville, VA before beginning its arena tour in October 2010 in Trenton, NJ. After touring for an additional four years in the arena, the show returned to North America in the fall of 2014 to begin its "Farewell Tour". On January 18, 2015, "Dralion" performed for the final time in Anchorage, AK. 
The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:Europe North America South and Central America Asia/Pacific Oceania Africa
Grand Chapiteau tour
- Cirque du Soleil - About Dralion
- "Presskit Dralion Sept 2010" (PDF). Cirque du Soleil (Press Kit). Archived from the original (PDF) on April 3, 2012. Retrieved February 8, 2012.
- "Dralion - Acts". Cirque du Soleil (Press Material). Archived from the original on 2012-04-03. Retrieved 2012-02-08.
- Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 62–67. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8.
- "Acrobats defy gravity in Cirque du Soleil's 'Dralion'". Des Moines Register. 2011-03-28. Retrieved 2011-03-29.[permanent dead link]
- Cirque du Soleil - Creators of Dralion Archived December 23, 2010, at the Wayback Machine
- "Music - Dralion". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-03-27.
- "Dralion Schedule". Cirque Tribune. Retrieved 2011-04-14.
- "Dralion Tickets and Info". Cirque du Soleil. Retrieved 2011-04-14.