From a humble beginning of 20 street performers to more than 5,000 employees worldwide, Cirque du Soleil has made its mark on the entertainment industry through visually stimulating performances hallmarked by incredible acrobatics. The northern Metroplex suburb Frisco is the latest stop on Cirque’s Varekai tour, playing through Sunday, February 23 at Dr. Pepper Arena.
Earlier this week, DFW Style Daily was invited backstage for a behind-the-scenes look at the wardrobe creations that bring Varekai to life. From hand-beaded Swarovski crystal embellishments to endless custom-made costumes, our heads did their own acrobatic spins during the tour.
Cirque du Soleil’s latest tale is one of a magical world of mysterious creatures, spontaneous adventures, and captivating fantasies. Varekai, meaning ‘wherever,’ follows a young man who interacts with this world, discovering new life and unending possibilities through his journey.
To date, Varekai has been viewed by more than eight million people, in more than 72 cities and 20 countries around the globe. In addition to challenging choreography and dance sequences, audiences rave about the production’s intricate and vivid costumes.
Veteran designer Eiko Ishioka is the mastermind behind Varekai’s costumes. Using a unique combination of moleskin (Lycra), along with flexible titanium rods and fire-resistant materials, Ishioka transforms the human body to allow for extreme acrobatic techniques.
Our close look at Ishioka’s so-called ‘slippery surface’ costumes hints at how performers are able to move around the Cirque stage with such ease. Specially designed to give the illusion of skating or gliding, each of these uniquely tailored creations requires a time-intensive pre-performance steaming process known only to those on the wardrobe team.
And that’s not the half of it. Varekai displays over 600 costumes, shoes, and accessories, all extremely labor-intensive to create. In total, they represent greater than 33,000 hours of craftsmanship in development, plus an additional 250 hours per week to maintain on tour.
While the numbers alone are impressive, pardon our cliché when we say that “seeing is believing.” To truly grasp the essence of Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai, take a seat and prepare to be mesmerized. For more information on tickets and show times visit CirqueduSoleil.com.
All images courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.