What is "Dralion"?
"Dralion is a meeting of Eastern and Western culture where Cirque du Soleil scouted some talent in China and researched ancient Chinese acrobatics and merged it with Cirque du Soleil’s way of doing circus."
How many people are tour?
"We have 52 performers from 14 different countries. Our entire crew is about 100 people on the road that will assist the performers in the artistic way, but also we have some p-meds [paramedics] and we have some artistic directors that will maintain the quality of the show. We have a head coach that is in charge of supervising all acrobatics, a tour management team that is responsible of taking care of the crew on the road. So we have a promotions publicist, an accountant, a tour manager. We also have a production team composed of 21 people that responsible of setting up the massive stage.
"When you look at the set, which is quite big, there is more than 22 people setting up, which we use the help of 60 to 70 local stage hands to set up, which takes about 10 hours. We travel with 18 semi’s. 2½ semi’s only are for costumes and everything related to makeup and costumes.
Who does the makeup?
"The artists apply their own makeup. The process of applying the makeup takes around 12 hours but we’ve been traveling on the road now for 9 months so of course they’re not at 12 hours anymore. It takes them an average of 45 minutes to an hour and when they learn the process they have a step-by-step guide that will help them apply the makeup each night. They have a picture with makeup and without the makeup.
"The makeup is very colorful and very elaborate. Once we’re on the road each performer is given a step-by-step guide that tells them from step 1 to step… x, some performers have up to 27 steps before the final result, but they have a guide that they can follow to help them apply and to assist them.
"We don’t have any makeup designers on tour with us, they are in Montreal and they train the new cast members. Once a new cast member joins he is trained to apply his own makeup by himself and if it’s needed we travel with an inventory of makeup. We have 2 or 3 roll cases just for makeup, which is provided by MAC, which is the official supplier. We are able to supply any performers who request more, or need more, the color shades they have. So if we’re looking at some of the makeups we have, for example, Luo Shaohua has seven different shades of colors just around his eyes and that doesn’t include the rest of the makeup. So it’s a lot of work - but the result is great."
Do the colors and costumes have meaning?
"We’ve incorporated into Dralion the four elements; water, air, fire, and earth. Which they are into a quest of balance between human and nature which is very pronounced in Eastern culture. So all four elements have their own colors, so air is blue, water is green, fire is red, and earth is ocher. So each costume you see on stage are related to one element of the show. Each costume is tailored fit to every performer; we have about 1,500 pieces of costumes, 300 pairs of shoes that are taken care of by a team of four super fantastic wardrobe girls, who are responsible of maintaining, repairing, fixing anything we need with the costumes. Even sometimes in 911 situations if we need to produce a new costume we’re able to do so.
"The performers on Dralion are aged from 19 to around 45 years old.
"Our bandleader has been with Dralion since 1999. We’ve performed just a little over 4,000 shows - and he’s never been out."