Toruk - The First Flight

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Toruk - The First Flight
Toruk-avatar-logo-en.png
Logo for Cirque du Soleil's Toruk - The First Flight
Company Cirque du Soleil
Genre Contemporary circus
Show type Touring show
Date of premiere December 21, 2015 (Montreal)
Creative team
Writers and directors Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon
Creation director Neilson Vignola
Set designer Carl Fillion
Composer Boe & Bill (Guy Dubuc and Marc Lessard)
Costume designer Kym Barrett
Lighting designer Alain Lortie
Artistic guide Guy Laliberté
Sound designer Jacques Boucher
Makeup designer Kym Barrett
Rigging and acrobatic equipment designer Pierre Masse
Acrobatic performance designer Germain Guillemot
Choreographer Tuan Le and Tan Loc Nguyen
Puppet designer Patrick Martel
Other information
Preceded by Joyà (2014)
Succeeded by Paramour (2016)
Official website

Toruk - The First Flight is a Cirque du Soleil touring production that premiered in December 2015, and is inspired by James Cameron's film Avatar. It depicts a world before the events depicted in the film.[1] The show began its development in Montreal, Quebec, and then moved in August 2015 to the CenturyLink Center in Bossier City, Louisiana, where rehearsals took place until the show premiered. The CenturyLink Center was chosen because the massive set of the show did not fit in the Cirque du Soleil studios in Montreal.

Plot[edit]

The translation for the official teaser trailer[2] from the constructed Na'vi language is the following: "I am the last living member of the Anurai clan. When I connect with Eywa, I hear the voices of our distant ancestors; I hear the time when their lives were threatened. This is that story."

Toruk is the central character of the show, and will be brought to life as a life-sized puppet, along with Pandoran animals such as the Direhorse, the Austrapede, the Turtapede, and a Viperwolf.

The word 'Toruk', in the Na'vi language, refers to the great leonopteryx that rules over the Pandorian sky. Fundamental in Na'vi lore and culture, this perplexing creature is critical to the Na'vi clans' sense of destiny and interconnectedness with members past and present.

Characters[edit]

Cirque released the following information on some of the key characters in the show as part of the media press conference [3]

Ralu: He is a Member of the Omaticaya Clan and is the son of a formidable hunter who taught him exceptional focus and discipline. Ralu is a sensitive and compassionate boy on the brink of adulthood. Although he is only 14 years old (in Earth years), there is a calm and quiet force about him that underscores his carefree attitude. Always on the lookout for his childhood friend and protégé Entu, Ralu is a natural born leader. Whenever the going gets tough, he channels all his energy and skills into the challenge at hand and invariably gets the job done. Just ask Entu, whom Ralu once saved from certain death by luring away a thanator during archery practice deep in the rainforest. No wonder everybody rallies behind Ralu – his is a doer and a thinker with a heart of gold!

Entu: A member of the Omaticaya Clan, he lost both of his parents early in life in a freak attack by a thanator. He is the same age (14 years old in Earth years) as his lifelong friend Ralu – his mentor – with whom he has always engaged in a healthy competition that has definitely kept him on his toes. Spunky and intense, Entu is fully in touch with his emotions and knows to follow and trust his instincts. One day, when a member of his clan ventured too far out on a cliff edge and was left dangling on a limb, Entu instantly concocted an ingenious counterweight device using his pack, a sturdy branch and some vines to lower himself down the mountain face and save the boy, showing total disregard for his own safety. With his quick wit and dauntless spirit, Entu is eager – and ready – to dive headlong into the adventures that lie ahead.

Tsyal: She is a Member of the Tawkami Clan and is the only child of a village chief who lost her mother at a tender age. She was raised by her grandmother with the help of other members of her clan, as is the custom among the Na’vi. Highly proficient in herbal lore, her grandmother was a chemist widely revered among the Tawkami for her unique remedies and concoctions. Tsyal’s clan is renowned throughout the land for their knowledge of chemistry and alchemy, and the abilities she inherited from her grandmother are transmitted every two generations through a special bond among clan members. Spurred by her grandmother’s legacy and wanting to live up to the expectations bestowed upon her, Tsyal has taken great pride in creating innovative mixtures and recipes of her own. True to her clan nestled deep inside the primeval forests of Pandora, this easygoing, sprightly girl with an indomitable spirit has a cheerful nature and loves to play tricks. With a mere seed, she can put the fiercest beast to sleep; with the frailest-looking flower, she can induce the most beautiful dreams or provoke the most terrifying nightmares. Such is the tremendous power of the natural elements that Tsyal and her clan have learned to understand and harness.

The Storyteller: An Anurai, he is one of the last surviving members of this clan. He has been around humans – aka the Sky People – ever since he met a feisty xenobotanist with whom he forged a powerful friendship back in the 2140s. Several years later, the Storyteller witnessed firsthand the last time of Great Sorrow during which the Omaticaya Hometree was destroyed. Distressed by the discord among the clans on his home world, and learning how humans were tearing each other apart in the wake of the great climatic upheavals on Earth, the resilient Storyteller decided to reach out once more to the Sky People who saw him as a kind of translator and a wise go-between. By making humans aware of the bravery, valor and ingenuity of the Na’vi, he seeks above all to avoid history from repeating itself. He also aims to impress upon the Sky People the urgency of preserving their bonds with nature, and the necessity of pulling together to live in unity and peace.

Production[edit]

The Pandorian animals will be brought to life through large-scale puppetry. Toruk itself is a 'reverse string puppet' (handled from the base) while the Austrapede, Turtapede and Direhorse are 'lived-in puppets' (someone is inside) and the Viperwolf is an 'in-view puppet' (the lower half of the puppeteer is outside, becoming a part of the puppet, while his/her upper body is inside the puppet).

The set of Toruk is made of inflated rubber and steel, making the huge set easier to transport from city to city.

Toruk - The First Flight's Stage in Singapore

Acrobatic Acts[edit]

Toruk features 5 speciality acrobatic acts and general tumbling skills in order to capture the other worldly skills of the inhabitants of Pandora. Each tribe has their own unique apparatus and discipline, reflecting their tribal values and skills which Entu and Ralu will need to learn in order to tame Toruk. The following lists the acts, correct as of the first Asia Pacific Tour. Several acts were added following the premier of Toruk, and hence are not included in the official DVD recording. Those featured at the premier (and on the DVD are in italics):

  • Tumbling: The young members of the Omaticaya Clan play a unique ball game in which points are scored by diving through giant hoop structures whilst carrying a glowing orb. All the meanwhile the clan members are jumping off and around the surroundings of the Hometree.
  • Mother Loom/Spanish Webs: The Omaticaya Clan performers perform tricks on an angled grid frame in the centre of the hometree. On either side of the loom a performers climb and slide down Spanish Webs.
  • Aerial Straps: Entu seeks refuge at the Tree of Voices, swinging on the straps, the tree's branches, to seek comfort from his deceased parents after falling during his initiation ceremony, breaking his ceremonial bow and failing the task.
  • Aerial Silks: Tsyal climbs up the silk, the stem of the giant flower in the centre of the Tawakami tribe to reach the Tranquil Seed, one of the sacred objects to Entu and Ralu's quest.
  • Contortion/Hand Balancing: Members of the Anurai Clan demonstrate their balancing skills by manoeuvring over a skeleton (resembling that of Toruk) which is fixed only by a pivot in the middle, tipping and turning all the while.
  • Chinese Poles: The Tipani, specialists in weaponry, demonstrate their attacking skills on swinging Chinese poles, shaped like spears.
  • Kites/Boomerang: Nearing their final goal of reaching Toruk, the trio reach the Kekunan Tribe, specialists in flying. Performers manipulate kites, shaped like the wings of the Toruk, whilst one Kekunan throws glowing, three sided boomerangs around the central platform before catching them again, much like horizontal juggling.

Music[edit]

Toruk - The First Flight
Soundtrack album by Guy Dubuc, Marc Lessard
Released February 5, 2016
Label Cirque du Soleil Musique
ASIN B01A9XS2O8
  1. "Omaticaya Clan"
  2. "Lu Aw Navi"
  3. "Shaman Story"
  4. "Tawkami Clan"
  5. "The Anurai Clan Sanctuary"
  6. "Viperwolves and the Tipani Clan"
  7. "Direhorses"
  8. "Kekunan Clan"
  9. "Hallelujah Mountains"
  10. "The Toruk"
  11. "Luminous Reunion"

The following tracks are included in the show but are not on the CD:

  1. "Inside Hometree"
  2. "Weaving Song"
  3. "Earthquake!"
  4. "The Vision"
  5. "The Clearing"
  6. "Tree of Voices"
  7. "River & Desert"
  8. "Lava & Flood"
  9. "The First Toruk Makto"

Vocalists[edit]

  • Priscilia le Foll - From 2015 to Present

Filming[edit]

On 18 January 2016, it was announced via the Toruk Facebook page that filming for an upcoming DVD had been completed and was currently undergoing editing.[4] The DVD was released in July 2016.

Tour[edit]

Toruk began preview performances on 12 November 2015 in Bossier City, LA before moving on to several other cities in North America. It then had its official premier on 21 December 2015 in Montreal which officially kicked off its North American tour. The show then transitioned into an Asian tour in 2017, and will transition into European tour in 2018.

On April 15, Cirque du Soleil announced the cancellation of Toruk in Raleigh, North Carolina, citing the recent signing of the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act by North Carolina governor Pat McCrory, the Company announced in a press release that "Cirque du Soleil strongly believes in diversity and equality for every individual and is opposed to discrimination in any form. The new HB2 legislation passed in North Carolina is an important regression to ensuring human rights for all."

The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:
 EU   Europe  NA   North America  SA   South and Central Americas  AP   Asia/Pacific  OC   Oceania  AF   Africa

Arena tour[edit]

2015-2019

2015 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   Bossier City, LA - From 12 Nov to 14 Nov 2015 (Soft Opening)
  •  NA   Lafayette, LA - From 20 Nov to 22 Nov 2015 (Preview)
  •  NA   Richmond, VA - From 27 Nov to 29 Nov 2015 (Preview)
  •  NA   Allentown, PA - From 4 Dec to 6 Dec 2015 (Preview)
  •  NA   Worcester, MA - From 11 Dec to 13 Dec 2015 (Preview)
  •  NA   Montreal, QC - From 21 Dec 2015 to 3 Jan 2016 (Official premiere)

2016 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   Toronto, ON - From 7 Jan to 10 Jan 2016
  •  NA   Quebec, QC - From 14 Jan to 17 Jan 2016
  •  NA   Auburn Hills, MI - From 22 Jan to 24 Jan 2016
  •  NA   Houston, TX - From 11 Feb to 14 Feb 2016
  •  NA   North Little Rock, AR - From 19 Feb to 21 Feb 2016
  •  NA   North Charleston, SC - From 26 Feb to 28 Feb 2016
  •  NA   Sunrise, FL - From 3 Mar to 6 Mar 2016
  •  NA   Miami, FL - From 10 Mar to 13 Mar 2016
  •  NA   Tampa, FL - From 17 Mar to 20 Mar 2016
  •  NA   Tulsa, OK - From 25 Mar to 27 Mar 2016
  •  NA   Kansas City, MO - From 1 Apr to 3 Apr 2016
  •  NA   Oklahoma City, OK - From 6 Apr to 10 Apr 2016
  •  NA   Louisville, KY - From 29 Apr to 1 May 2016
  •  NA   Cincinnati, OH - From 6 May to 8 May 2016
  •  NA   Columbus, OH - From 11 May to 15 May 2016
  •  NA   Hamilton, ON - From 20 May to 22 May 2016
  •  NA   London, ON - From 27 May to 29 May 2016
  •  NA   Providence, RI - From 3 Jun to 5 Jun 2016
  •  NA   Baltimore, MD - From 8 Jun to 12 Jun 2016
  •  NA   Duluth, GA From 15 Jun to 19 Jun 2016
  •  NA   Raleigh, NC - From 24 Jun to 26 Jun 2016 (Cancelled)
  •  NA   Ottawa, ON - From 30 Jun to 3 Jul 2016
  •  NA   Denver, CO - From 21 Jul to 24 Jul 2016
  •  NA   Lincoln, NE - From 27 Jul to 31 Jul 2016
  •  NA   Chicago, IL - From 3 Aug to 7 Aug 2016
  •  NA   Indianapolis, IN - From 10 Aug to 14 Aug 2016
  •  NA   Birmingham, AL - From 19 Aug to 21 Aug 2016
  •  NA   Nashville, TN - From 24 Aug to 28 Aug 2016
  •  NA   Evansville, IN - From 1 Sep to 4 Sep 2016
  •  NA   Brooklyn, NY - From 7 Sep to 11 Sep 2016
  •  NA   Newark, NJ - From 14 Sep to 18 Sep 2016
  •  NA   Milwaukee, WI - From 22 Sep to 25 Sep 2016
  •  NA   Minneapolis, MN - From 28 Sep to 2 Oct 2016
  •  NA   Winnipeg, MB - From 5 Oct to 9 Oct 2016
  •  NA   Fresno, CA - From 27 Oct to 30 Oct 2016
  •  NA   Ontario, CA - From 2 Nov to 6 Nov 2016
  •  NA   Los Angeles, CA - From 11 Nov to 13 Nov 2016
  •  NA   Phoenix, AZ - From 16 Nov to 20 Nov 2016
  •  NA   San Diego, CA - From 23 Nov to 27 Nov 2016
  •  NA   Sacramento, CA - From 30 Nov to 4 Dec 2016
  •  NA   Portland, OR - From 7 Dec to 11 Dec 2016
  •  NA   Vancouver, BC - From 14 Dec to 18 Dec 2016
  •  NA   Edmonton, AB - From 22 Dec to 26 Dec 2016

2017 schedule[edit]

  •  NA   Inglewood, CA - From 12 Jan to 15 Jan 2017
  •  NA   Las Vegas, NV - From 18 Jan to 22 Jan 2017
  •  NA   Wichita, KS - From 26 Jan to 29 Jan 2017
  •  NA   New Orleans, LA - From 1 Feb to 5 Feb 2017
  •  NA   Guadalajara, MX - From 10 Feb to 12 Feb 2017
  •  NA   Mexico City, MX - From 16 Feb to 19 Feb 2017
  •  NA   Monterrey, MX - From 23 Feb to 25 Feb 2017
  •  NA   Cleveland, OH - From 3 Mar to 5 Mar 2017
  •  NA   Philadelphia, PA - From 8 Mar to 12 Mar 2017
  •  NA   Hartford, CT - From 16 Mar to 19 Mar 2017
  •  NA   Dayton, OH - From 22 Mar to 26 Mar 2017
  •  AP   Manila, PH - From 23 Jun to 2 Jul 2017
  •  AP   Taipei, TW - From 6 Jul to 18 Jul 2017
  •  OC   Christchurch, NZ - From 1 Sep to 10 Sep 2017
  •  OC   Auckland, NZ - From 15 Sep to 24 Sep 2017
  •  OC   Brisbane, AU - From 5 Oct to 15 Oct 2017
  •  OC   Sydney, AU - From 19 Oct to 29 Oct 2017
  •  OC   Melbourne, AU - From 2 Nov to 12 Nov 2017
  •  OC   Adelaide, AU - From 16 Nov to 19 Nov 2017
  •  OC   Perth, AU - From 24 Nov to 30 Nov 2017

2018 schedule[edit]

  •  AP   Dubai, UAE - From 4 Jan to 17 Jan 2018
  •  AP   Sanya, CN - From 1 Feb to 1 May 2018
  •  AP   Singapore, SG - From 24 May to 3 Jun 2018
  •  AP   Bangkok, TH - From 14 Jun to 24 Jun 2018
  •  AP   Beijing, CN - From 1 Aug to 12 Aug 2018
  •  AP   Shanghai, CN - From 16 Aug to 26 Aug 2018
  •  EU   Rotterdam, NL - From 10 Oct to 14 Oct 2018
  •  EU   Oberhausen, DE - From 17 Oct to 21 Oct 2018
  •  EU   Cologne, DE - From 24 Oct to 28 Oct 2018
  •  EU   Hamburg, DE - From 31 Oct to 4 Nov 2018
  •  EU   Berlin, DE - From 7 Nov to 11 Nov 2018
  •  EU   Turin, IT - From 15 Nov to 18 Nov 2018
  •  EU   Bologna, IT - From 22 Nov to 25 Nov 2018
  •  EU   Frankfurt, DE - From 28 Nov to 2 Dec 2018
  •  EU   Zagreb, CR - From 7 Dec to 9 Dec 2018

2019 schedule[edit]

  •  EU   Barcelona, ES - From 18 Jan to 27 Jan 2019
  •  EU   Madrid, ES - From 30 Jan to 3 Feb 2019
  •  EU   Pamplona, ES - From 6 Feb to 10 Feb 2019
  •  EU   Milan, IT - From 14 Feb to 17 Feb 2019
  •  EU   Lyon, FR - From 20 Feb to 24 Feb 2019
  •  EU   Bratislava, SK - From 28 Feb to 3 Mar 2019
  •  EU   Antwerp, BE - From 14 Mar to 17 Mar 2019
  •  EU   Moscow, RU - From 19 Apr to 5 May 2019
  •  EU   Saint-Petersburg, RU - From 8 May to 12 May 2019
  •  EU   Helsinki, FI - From 15 May to 19 May 2019
  •  EU   Vilnius, LT - From 22 May to 26 May 2019
  •  EU   Prague, CZ - From 31 May to 2 Jun 2019
  •  EU   Munich, DE - From 5 Jun to 9 Jun 2019
  •  EU   Zurich, CH - From 12 Jun to 16 Jun 2019

References[edit]

  1. ^ Cirque du Soleil. "Toruk: The story". Archived from the original on 31 March 2016. Retrieved 29 April 2015.
  2. ^ Cirque du Soleil. "Toruk: Teaser trailer". Retrieved 2 May 2015.
  3. ^ https://www.cirquedusoleil.com/en/press/news/2015/toruk-characters-reveal-28-septembre-2015.aspx
  4. ^ https://www.facebook.com/torukthefirstflight/photos/a.1122793164413320.1073741826.1087940301231940/1314514921907809/?type=3&theater

External links[edit]