Zumanity

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Zumanity
Zumanity
Logo for Cirque du Soleil's Zumanity
Company Cirque du Soleil
Genre Contemporary circus
Show type Resident show
Date of premiere 20 September 2003 (2003-09-20)
Location New York-New York Hotel & Casino, Las Vegas
Creative team
Creative Guides Guy Laliberté (founder), Jean-François Bouchard (CCO of refresh)
Writers and Directors René Richard Cyr and Dominic Champagne
Director of Creations Andrew Watson, Gilles Ste-Croix (new staging)
Creator and Costume Designer Thierry Mugler
Set Designer Stéphane Roy
Composer and Musical Director Simon Carpentier
Choreographers Debra Brown, Marguerite Derricks, Dave St-Pierre (new staging), Yanis Marshall (refresh), Patrick King (2Men/specific acts), Stéphan Choinière & Sara Joel (body2body/body2body 2.0), Dwight Rhoden (specific acts), Philip Sahagun (Knife/2Men with ninjas)
Lighting Designer Luc Lafortune
Sound Designer Jonathan Deans
Comedic Directors Cahal McCrystal, Spymonkey (specific acts), Wayne Hronek (new staging), Shannan Calcutt (Scotch Baggies/specific acts)
Make-up Designer Nathalie Gagné
Photographer and Production Image Designers Natacha Merritt, Keith Sadowski (refresh), Jorde Salomone (refresh), Peter Thompson (refresh)
Acrobatic Equipment and Rigging Designer Jaque Paquin
Props Designer Normand Blais
Additional Lyrics and Scripting Anna Liani, Robbie Dillon, Armand Thomas, Joey Arias, Christopher Kenney, Jamie Morris
Other information
Preceded by Varekai (2002)
Succeeded by (2005)
Official website

Zumanity is a resident cabaret-style show by Cirque du Soleil at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino on the Las Vegas Strip. The production was unveiled on September 20, 2003 (previews started on August 14, 2003). It is the first "adult-themed" Cirque du Soleil show, billed as "the sensual side of Cirque du Soleil" or "another side of Cirque du Soleil". Created by René Richard Cyr and Dominic Champagne, Zumanity is a departure from the standard Cirque format. Intended to be for mature adult audiences only, this show is centered on erotic song, dance, acrobatics and comedy.[1]

The inspiration to create Zumanity came from multiple sources. Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberté had been offered the chance to create two new shows in Las Vegas, and wanted something completely new and original rather than multiple similar shows that would cannibalize off of each other's sales and audiences. Another reason was that the New York-New York Hotel and Casino wanted to make their entertainment appear more "trendy". The hotel liked the concept of a more adult Cirque du Soleil performance.[1]

Laliberté admits that the biggest reason to produce this show was the chance to create something with riskier subject matter. He was interested in the idea of creating a show that explored human sexuality, something that was at complete odds with the other, more family-oriented Cirque du Soleil shows. "Our previous shows have all been family-oriented and politically correct, which is great," Laliberté said, "but we're human beings, we won't hide it. We're a bunch of happy campers. We like to live new experiences. Zumanity deals with some of those experiences."[1]

Refresh[edit]

On January 20, 2015, a refresh of the show was introduced to the public in which roughly 30% of the show was changed from its original concept.[2] Certain acts, including hoops, dance on TV, pompoms and aerial silks (in its original, 2 artist form) were retired. Entirely new acts included aerial chains, Aerial Dream, and Perfect Jam. Aerial silks was changed into a solo act and the Rose Boy evolved into Magnum, mostly the same routine but the dancer became a secret agent. Yanis Marshall choreographed new dance segments throughout the show, and there are multiple acts in which men dance in high heels (including Wind, Perfect Jam and for a short amount of time, the 2Men act). The show also features new and updated music, costumes, comedic acts, characters and artists.

Cast[edit]

Listed below are the characters currently in the show with known names. Further artists are listed in the Acts section. Additional hosts listed in the Vocalists section.

  • Mistress of Sensuality[3]: hostess (played by Christopher Kenney as Edie)
  • Spirits of the Wind[3]: dancers (played by Ashley Galvan, Angelique Janowski, Monteece Taylor)
  • Dick and Izzy/The Sexperts[3]: clowns (played by Nicky Dewhurst and Shannan Calcutt)
  • Afrique: dancer (played by Makeda Crayton)
  • Magnum[3]: dancer (played by William Hulett)
  • Biker: aerial chains (played by Brandon Pereyda)
  • Fauna[1]: character (played by Tonio Moore)
  • Athon and Arno Extravaganza[1]: acrobatic dancers (played by Chaun Williams and Arnaud Boursain)
  • Molinier[4]: character (played by Kaitlyn Reese Davin and Leah Sykes-Hodgeson)
  • Botero Sisters[1]: actors/clowns (played by Licemar and Luciene Medeiros)
  • Casanova: actor/clown (played by Araz Hamzayev)
  • Miss Salsa[5]: dancer (played by Monteece Taylor)
  • Mec Branché[5]: character/performer (played by Chaun Williams and William Hulett)
  • Mademoiselle Loup[1]: aerial straps (played by Jill Crook)
  • Dominatrix: dancer (played by Leah Sykes-Hodgeson)
  • Ballerine[5]: body2body 2.0 (played by Tsvetelina Tabakova)
  • Romantique[1]: dancer (played by Kaitlyn Reese Davin)
  • Scottish Fantasy[6]: hand2hand (played by Wayne Skivington)
  • Tissu Star[5]: aerial dream (played by Marina Tomanova)
  • Blue Blade: dancer (played by Brianna McKee)

Acts[3][7][edit]

The acts in Zumanity are a mélange of dance, sensuality, and acrobatic prowess. Included below are brief summaries of the acts

  • Animation (performed by Araz Hamzayev, Shannan Calcutt, Nicky Dewhurst and Licemar and Luciene Medeiros)
    • Pre-show comedy in which Dick teases the audience with sex toys, Izzy hits on other men, Casanova (Jonas) hits on women and the Botero Sisters (Li and Lu) feed the audience strawberries
  • Warnings (performed by Corinne Zarzour, Paris Red and Cassiopée)
    • A song about what not to do during the show
  • Welcome (performed by Christopher Kenney)
    • The audience is greeted and questioned/teased by Zumanity's hostess, Edie
  • Wind (performed by Monteece Taylor, Ashley Galvan, Angelique Janowski and Arnaud Boursain)
    • The Spirits of the Wind dance passionately in falling rose petals
    • Original performer: Marcela de la Vega Luna
  • African Dance/Afrique (performed by Makeda Crayton)
    • An African queen offers a more fast-paced and tribal dance
    • Original performer: Wassa Coulibaly
  • Water Bowl (performed by Ulziibayar Chimed-Sahagun and Estefania Laurino)
    • Two women experience their love for one another for the first time while performing contortion in a large bowl of water
    • Original performers: Gyulnara Karaeva and Bolormaa Zorigtkhuyag
  • Chains (performed by Brandon Pereyda)
    • The Biker swings through the air on a chain, quite often holding onto the chain only by his feet
  • Magnum (performed by William Hulett)
    • A 007-esque special agent strip teases and dances erotically for the audience
    • Original name: Castroses, then The Rose Boy (dancer was not a secret agent)
    • Original performer: Alex Castro
  • Scotch Baggies (performed by Shannan Calcutt)
    • A comedic act in which Izzy shows the audience how to make fake breast implants using sandwich baggies filled with scotch, and gets a man from the audience to help her put them on
  • Hoops [rotation] (performed by Elena Lev)
    • An erotic school girl performs a dance and contortion act with hula hoops
  • Aerial Lyra [backup] (performed by Angelique Janowski)
    • An aerial hoop act
  • Hand to Hand (performed by Wayne Skivington and Ekaterina Bazarova)
    • An intimate and acrobatic hand-balancing duet
    • Original performers: Nicolas Alain Michel Besnard and Joanie Leroux-Côté
  • Body2Body 2.0 [on-call] (performed by Stéphan Choinière and Tsvetelina Tabakova)
    • Only if Hand to Hand is out; different from Hand to Hand in that this act uses many maneuvers that require holding the bodies together in different shapes, whereas hand to hand involves many maneuvers in which the partner is lifted up using the hands and feet
  • Dislocation (performed by Araz Hamzayev)
    • A playful exhibitionist teases the ladies on stage by dislocating different parts of his body and doing contortion
    • Original performer: Moukhtar Gusengadzhiev
  • Perfect Jam (performed by Monteece Taylor, Leah Sykes-Hodgson, Kaitlyn Reese Davin, Brianna McKee, * Angelique Janowski, Ashley Galvan, Marie-Anouck Margueritte, Arnaud Boursain and the band
    • The band moves down to center-stage while many of the cast members performed a fast-paced and erotic dance
  • Aerial Dream/M&M (performed by Marina Tomanova and João "Paolo" Souza)
    • Two artists perform an aerial acrobatic dance on a giant hoop
    • Original performers: Marina Tomanova and Michael James McNamara
  • Expressions (performed by Antonio "Tonio" Moore)
    • The Fauna breakdances
    • Original performer: Jesus "Jesse" Villa
  • 2Men [Ninjas version] (performed by Wes Scarpias and Sebastian Castellanos)
    • Ninjas perform a wushu act; follows much the same story as 2Men (see Retired Acts)
    • Original performers: Philip Sahagun and Wes Scarpias
  • Market (interlude)
    • A brief interlude involving sadomasochism and juggling
  • Straps (performed by Jill Crook)
    • This act combines aerial straps with implied asphyxiation and self-pleasure
    • Original performer: Laurence Jardin
  • Express Dating/Vegas Hookup (performed by Shannan Calcutt and Nicky Dewhurst)
    • Izzy and Dick teach audience members how to skip the course of a typical date and get straight to the action
  • Tissu (performed by Alan Jones Silva)
    • An aerial silks act
  • Midnight Bath (performed by Marie-Anouck Margueritte, Chaun Williams, Monteece Taylor and William Hulett)
    • A man and a woman play with water and champagne in a bathtub
    • Original performers: Vanessa Convery and Ugo Mazin
  • Lazy Susan of Sex/Gentle Orgy (performed by Christopher Kenney and the cast)
    • The entire cast goes on stage for an implied orgy, and guests are invited on-stage to join in on the fun
  • Extravaganza (finale)
    • The cast walks out in catwalk fashion in their best costumes

Retired acts[edit]

  • Aerial Hoop (2005-2006): (performed by Hugo Desmarais)
    • A performer swings from a single hoop
  • Aerial Hoops (2003-2015): (originally performed by Julia Kolosova)
    • Much like Hoops, however the school girl also hulas mid-air
  • Body2Body (2003-2005): (performed by Stéphan Choinière and Sara Joel)
    • See Body2Body 2.0 act above for description; Body2Body 2.0 is a new version
  • Cyr Wheel/Roue [rotation] (2010-2018): (performed by Jonas Woolverton)
    • Casanova spins quickly around the stage on a wheel
  • Tissu (2003-2015): (originally performed by Alan Jones Silva and Olga Vershinina)
    • Much like the current Tissu act, however it had two performers
  • Dance on TV (2003-2015): (originally performed by Elena Gatilova)
    • A woman performs contortion on a TV set while her lovers watch a football game, trying to get their attention again; Felix Cane performed this act pole dancing, as well
  • Fire (2003): (performed by Jila Alaghamandan and Heidi Good)
    • A sadomasochistic, fire knife manipulation act that also used live snakes, Adam and Eve, some of the only animals ever featured in Cirque du Soleil
  • Handbalancing on Pole/Dima (2010-2018): (performed by Dima Shine)
    • A performer uses great strength to balance on top of a pole; the act also combines pole dancing
  • Knife [rotational] (2015): (performed by Philip Sahagun)
    • A ninja sword demonstration
  • Knife Throwing (2005-2006): (performed by Shannan Calcutt and Nicky Dewhurst)
    • Comedic act in which audience members are brought on stage and tricked into thinking knives are being thrown at them
  • Pacemakers (2003~2006): (originally performed by Birgit and Flemming Thomsen)
    • Two elderly audience members (though really part of the show) performed a acrobatic dance
  • Spymonkey (2003-2005): (performed by Aitor Basauri Barruetabena, Stephan Kreiss, Petras Massey and Toby Park)
    • The original comedic acts, including Puritans (puritans try to keep the audience from seeing the show while joking about sex), Revenge of the Doll (a sex doll gets revenge on its users), S&M Hoedown (exactly as it sounds), Pompoms (the clowns go on stage only covered by pompoms and then tease)
  • Trapeze (2017): (performed by Arthur Morel van Hyfte)
    • A dance in the sky as a man remembers and lusts after his partner who is abroad
  • 2Men (2003-2015): (originally performed by Patrick King and Johan King Silverhult)
    • Two men fight (acrobatic dance) over a woman in a cage, only to realize that they actually lust over each other
  • Market (2003-2005): (performed by Antonio Drija, Laetitia Dewhurst, Vanessa Convery, Jonel Earl, Agnès Roux and Sophie Elisa Ayache)
    • The Gigolo is captured by the Vixens in a quest for revenge of love scorned
  • Musical Backup [rotation] (2017-2018): (performed by Eliot Douglass and Mariko Muranaka)
    • Piano and cello duet
  • Inferno (2003-2005): (performed by “Almukatab” Jacobo Espina, Licemar Medeiros and Luciene Medeiros)
    • Botero sisters juggled dildos, there were whips and the snakes, Adam and Eve, with Jacobo; now the Market interlude
  • Savage Love (2003-2003): (performed by Ugo Mazin and Vanessa Convery)
    • A rough, erotic dance in a big cage
  • Sheets (2003-2015)
    • Segue into Tissu
  • Lite (2015-2018): (performed by Shannan Calcutt, Nicky Dewhurst and Christopher Kenney)
    • A comedic act in which Dick and Izzy bring an audience member up to rave with them on stage

Costumes[edit]

Zumanity float at the 2012 San Francisco Pride parade.

Thierry Mugler designed the costumes for Zumanity; he created the costumes to enhance the sensual atmosphere and heightened sexuality of the production. Many of the costumes are highly colorful, yet some are minimal to an exaggerated extreme. Fur, feathers, leather, lace, fishnet stockings, velvet dresses, tiny corsets, cone bras, and plastic accessories were primary materials utilized to create the costumes' provocative appeal. Jonel's costume, for example, is made of stretch vinyl and is airbrushed to create a semi-nude effect; her bright red wig is made of expanded foam. Faun has fur on his pants which is made from toothbrush bristles, human hair, and yak fur. Molinier's long velvet dress was created by using a stencil and net onto which black silicone was applied. Though some characters are made to look entirely nude, the sex organs are fake pieces.

For a great selection of character costumes and concept art, see Le Grand Chapiteau - Zumanity - Personages

Music[edit]

The studio album for Zumanity was released on March 22, 2005, under Cirque du Soleil's music label. The album contains mostly songs inspired by the show's music, and these songs were never actually used in the show. There are a few exceptions (see track list below).

A promotional album entitled "Foreplay" was included with the original program. It was released on July 31, 2003, and contains select work-in-progress songs from the show's creation period. The program was last sold around 2005, and this album is now considered a collector's item.

Both albums feature Joey Arias. Acts are listed alongside the songs. Both albums composed by Simon Carpentier

Songs not appearing on either album:

  • Libera me (Aerial Hoops, 2003-2015)
  • Zumanity Tango[10] (2Men, 2003-present)
  • Sex Is Beautiful (Body2Body/Body2Body 2.0/Hand to Hand, 2003-present)
  • Libera me (Aerial Dream, 2015-present; Trapeze 2017)
  • I Like It (Rotational act sung by Joey Arias and possibly Raven O, 2005-2007)
  • What a Feelin’ (Act sung by Joey Arias during his final performance, Dec.31.2007)

Vocalists[11][edit]

Emcee[edit]

  • Mistress of Sensuality - Edie, Christopher Kenney
    • Original performer: Mistress of Seduction - Joey Arias
  • AXLE Beaurouge, Brandon Pereyda [backup]
  • Pulga, Alan Jones Silva [backup]

Singers[edit]

  • Rock Singer, Corinne Zarzour
  • Cassiopée Véronique Lapierre [backup for both parts]

Musicians[edit]

  • Larry Aberman (Drums/percussion/programming)
  • Jean-François Blais (Clarinet/flute/soprano and tenor saxophone)
  • Eliot Douglass (Piano)
  • Geneviève Dubé (Vibraphone/violin/vocals)
  • Sébastien Jean (Flügelhorn/trumpet)
  • Nate Kimball (Bass/percussion/trombone)
    • Original performer: Jean-François Thibeault (Trombone/percussion)
    • Original performer: Jean-François Djeff Houle (Bass/programming/laptop fx)
  • J.K. Kleutgens (Bandleader/bass/ableton)
    • Original performer: Anne Charbonneau (Bandleader/accordion/keyboards/keyboard programming/vocals)
  • Melle Vasquez (Guitar/vocals/singer backup for both parts)

References[edit]

Coordinates: 36°06′07″N 115°10′29″W / 36.1020°N 115.1746°W / 36.1020; -115.1746

  1. ^ a b c d e f g h Babinski, Tony (2004). Cirque du Soleil: 20 Years under the Sun. New York: Harry N. Abrams, Inc. pp. 324–341. ISBN 0-8109-4636-X. 
  2. ^ "Can Cirque du Soleil's 'Zumanity' get sexier? A revamped production tries just that". Susan Stapleton (Los Angeles Times). Retrieved 2018-02-24. 
  3. ^ a b c d e "Zumanity: Acts and Characters" (PDF). Cirque du Soleil (press release). Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  4. ^ Clément, Ronald (2009). Cirque du Soleil: 25 Years of Costumes (in Chinese, English, French, and Japanese). Canada: Dépôt légal, Bibliothèque et Archives Canada. pp. 74–79. ISBN 978-2-9803493-4-8. 
  5. ^ a b c d "Cirque du Soleil: Zumanity". Kathleen Price. Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  6. ^ Zumanity: Behind the Scenes with "Scottish Fantasy" (YouTube). Cirque du Soleil. Jan 11, 2013. 
  7. ^ "Zumanity: Expérience". Ricky Russo. Retrieved 2018-02-24. 
  8. ^ "Other Promotional Releases (Zumanity "Foreplay" soundtrack)". Richard Russo. Retrieved 2018-02-14. 
  9. ^ "Zumanity (Soundtrack)". Amazon.com. Retrieved 2011-02-17. 
  10. ^ Simon Carpentier Composer - Zumanity Tango - Show - Spectacle (YouTube). Simon Carpentier. May 16, 2013. 
  11. ^ "Zumanity: Vocalists and Songs". Ricky Russo. Retrieved 2018-02-24.