Weekend Express with Lynn Berry

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Beneath Cirque du Soleil's big top

NEED TO KNOW
  • Cirque du Soleil is a performing troupe that travels internationally.
  • They are self-described as "a dramatic mix of circus arts and street entertainment."

Cirque du Soleil is known for its incredible acrobats, costumes and make up, but what goes on behind the production? Natasha Curry went behind the scenes to check out how the amazing costumes for the Totem show were created. Who better to know the ins and outs than costume ringmaster, Amanda Balius.

Fun facts:

  • The number of costume pieces: 1,400 to 1,450! This includes everything from wigs and hats to jewelry. The artists only use about half of that on stage, but a spare of each piece is kept as well.
     
  • Every costume is inspected on a daily basis to ensure it is in good condition.  All the zippers are checked and the stones are given a closer look to make sure they are secure.
     
  • Costumes that are the trickiest: Unicycle costumes! Balius explains those costumes in particular are very delicate, because the performers need mobility and be able to kick bowls to the tops of their heads. 
     
  • Everything is produced in Montreal and then sent to the show, so it can be fitted for the artist. It's not uncommon for the costume designers to use their own paint and dye on the fabrics to create something unique.
     
  • What's the biggest wardrobe malfunction Balius has dealt with? The zippers on the monkey costumes! She says, "It's a furry costume and the zipper wants to break!"

Read more: Dream jobs: Cirque du Soleil performer

 

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