Nouvelle Expérience

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Nouvelle Expérience
Company Cirque du Soleil
Genre Contemporary circus
Show type Touring production
Date of premiere May 8, 1990 (Montreal)
Final show November 21, 1993 (Las Vegas)
Creative team
Director Franco Dragone
Director of creation Gilles Ste-Croix
Set designer Michel Crête
Composer René Dupéré
Costume designer Dominique Lemieux
Lighting designer Luc Lafortune
Choreographer Debra Brown
Sound designer François Bergeron
Other information
Succeeded by Saltimbanco (1992)

Nouvelle Expérience was Cirque du Soleil's fourth touring circus show, which premiered in 1990. The show's tour ended in 1993 in The Mirage parking lot in Las Vegas, Nevada. Over 1.3 million people saw the production during its 3½-year run.


  • Flounes: The fallen angels. Dressed in browns and ochres.
  • Devils: The spirits of disobedience. Dressed in reds.
  • Corporation: The slaves of the world. Dressed in blue.
  • Madame Corporation/Enterprise: Queen of the Flounes, and along with the Great Chamberlain, ruler of the Corporation.
  • Great Chamberlain (aka Ringmaster): Madame Corporation's right-hand man.
  • Everyman: Dressed in a brown suit, he represents all of us. He was originally performed by David shiner in which he performed the film act, in which he took 4 people from the audience and made them act in a romantic drama, British actor Geoff Hoyle also replaced shiner in a one time performance in which he brought over his "Mr. Sniff" & 3-legged man skits from the Pickle family circus. when Shiner left, he was replaced by actor and performer Kenny Raskin, in which he performed an act involving ringing bells during a song.


The acts of Nouvelle Expérience blended theatre, music, circus arts and dance:

  • Contortion: Four women, clad in pink, take to a suspended platform. The four twist and bend themselves into unbelievable positions. (Performed to "Meandres" on the soundtrack)
  • Korean plank: Madame and the Corporation approach a seesaw-like object in the middle of the stage. They begin to jump on the ends, bouncing the opposite performer into the air. Soon, they begin performing twists and spins, and even form towers by flipping acrobats onto other acrobats' shoulders. (Performed to "Bascule" on the soundtrack.)
  • Solo trapeze: An odd introduction happens between one of the Flounes and the Everyman. Afterwards, a woman takes to the stage, and is lifted towards a trapeze. She begins a beautiful number above, while flounes and devils watch from below. (Performed to "Fixe", "Ballant", and "Baleines" on the soundtrack)
  • Fil de fer: One of the flounes moves about on a wooden ball. He spins, dances, and jumps until the Everyman enters the stage. At this point, the Everyman and the Floune try to shake hands again, but this attempt is successful. They begin to dance until the four other flounes enter near backstage. They take the fifth floune's ball, do a little trick with a quilt, and it reveals a tightrope walker. The man jumps up onto his tightrope (which is five or so feet high) and begins to perform many tricks. The ringmaster gives it a try and fails miserably. The two switch off, and the ringmaster gets better and better until the two are performing together.
  • Fanfare: A little parade led by Madame Corporation introduces the next act. (Performed to "Fanfare" on the soundtrack)
  • Aerial straps: A muscular man approaches two leather straps hanging from the ceiling. He takes to the straps and takes flight. He spins, flips, and hangs to a lyrical cello piece entitled "L'oiseau".
  • Trapeze: Six figures climb three rope ladders up to an unusual flying trapeze apparatus. There is one regular trapeze, a two-layered trapeze, and a Russian trapeze. They swing back and forth between the three, performing daring tricks. (Performed to "Azimut" and "Sanza" on the soundtrack)
  • Foot juggling: Two beautiful oriental women take to the stage. First, one begins to spin umbrellas on her feet and hands. Soon, she is juggling the other girl, and the other girl is spinning cloths on her feet. (Performed to "Suite Chinoise" on the soundtrack)
  • Russian bar/Trampoline/Korean cradle: Three acts are combined into one (Performed to "Eclipsé" on the soundtrack):
    • Russian bar – A 5-inch-wide bar held by two men across their shoulders, while a third bounces on it.
    • Trampoline
    • Korean cradle – Two men are strapped in on platforms, and take women by their hands to swing and flip them between one another.
  • Balancing on chairs: A man dressed in white takes to the stage, a few chairs in his hands. He begins to stack the chairs and balance on them, along with a flaming birthday cake. (Performed to "Havi Vahila" on the soundtrack)


The costumes of Nouvelle Expérience were designed to complement the wood theme of the set. Dominique Lemieux, costume designer, combined many different styles for the highly theatrical costumes, which makes it difficult to pin them down to any specific period. Surprisingly, some of the costumes worn are lined with upholstery material which make them very heavy. For example. the Flounes' medieval-esque costumes, made of a mix of lycra, velvet, and satin, weigh over 9 kilograms (20 lb).[1]


The show's original score was composed by René Dupéré and performed live by five musicians. The show featured one singer, Cécile Ardail, who sang for the balancing on chairs act as well as played one of the Floune characters. A studio album of the music was released in 1990 and again in 1993, the tracks of which are listed below. It features two singers, Francine Poitras, who sang only for the album, and Cécile Ardail. The track of the Fil de Fer act is the only one which was not recorded on the album.[2]

  1. Fanfare
  2. Méandres
  3. Boléro
  4. Bascule
  5. Fixe
  6. Ballant
  7. Baleines
  8. Havi Vahlia
  9. Suite Chinoise
  10. Éclipse
  11. L'Oiseau
  12. Azimut
  13. Sanza
  14. Grosse Femme


  • Cécile Ardail - From 8 May 1990 (Montréal) to 21 November 1993 (Las Vegas)

Other vocalists[edit]

  • Francine Poitras (album only)


Nouvelle Expérience began its grand chapiteau tour of North America in Montreal on 8 May 1990 and ended it in Las Vegas on 21 November 1993. The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:  NA   North America

Grand Chapiteau tour[edit]

1990 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   Montréal, QC - From 8 May 1990 to 17 Jun 1990
  •  NA   Seattle, WA - From 5 Jul 1990 to 22 Jul 1990
  •  NA   San Francisco, CA - From 1 Aug 1990 to 19 Aug 1990
  •  NA   San Jose, CA - From 12 Sep 1990 to 30 Sep 1990
  •  NA   Santa Monica, CA - From 12 Oct 1990 to 16 Dec 1990

1991 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   San Diego, CA - From 26 Jan 1991 to 10 Feb 1991
  •  NA   Costa Mesa, CA - From 22 Feb 1991 to 24 Mar 1991
  •  NA   New York, NY - From 11 Apr 1991 to 2 Jun 1991
  •  NA   Sainte Foy, QC - From 20 Jun 1991 to 14 Jul 1991
  •  NA   Toronto, ON - From 26 Jul 1991 to 1 Sep 1991
  •  NA   Chicago, IL - From 13 Sep 1991 to 13 Oct 1991
  •  NA   Washington, DC - From 25 Oct 1991 to 27 Nov 1991
  •  NA   Atlanta, GA - From 29 Nov 1991 to 21 Dec 1991

1992 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   Las Vegas, NV - From 10 Nov 1992 to 31 Dec 1992

1993 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   Las Vegas, NV - From 1 Jan 1993 to 21 Nov 1993


  1. ^ Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 14–15. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8.
  2. ^ "Nouvelle Expérience". Richasi. Retrieved 2015-07-03.