JEENA JAHLong-Exposure Photography - CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
CIRQUE DU SOLEIL
The years of work had taken their toll on Cirque du Soleil’s creative team. After La Nouba, Franco Dragone and Michel Crête parted ways from the company. To fill the void they left for the creation of the next show, Guy Laliberté turned to his former artistic director, Guy Caron, who had remained friends with Laliberté after his departure in 1988. Caron was persuaded to leave the National Circus School to return to work with Cirque du Soleil on a new Eastern-themed show.
Rather than attempt to mimic Dragone’s style, Caron decided to revisit the themes of Le Cirque réinventé. “I like a show that’s full of energy, without gaps, that’s full of strong acts, funny, with a big punch at the end”, Caron explained. One of his obstacles was working with a team of performers who were almost entirely new to Cirque du Soleil, including a new set designer named Stéphane Roy who had worked with Laliberté and Gauthier back in Baie-Saint-Paul at the Balcon Vert youth hostel. Despite the new team, many within the company were unenthused about Dralion, alarmed at how much the atmosphere and style differed from Dragone’s productions. Despite any misgivings, Dralion went on to be Cirque du Soleil’s top-grossing touring show. The television filming of the show received a Primetime Emmy Award.
After a 13-year-long tour, Dralion was briefly retired on January 17, 2010, after its engagement in Mexico, so that it could be converted into an arena format. It started touring again on October 21, 2010, with the first show playing in Trenton, New Jersey.