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The Hood Magazine

Varekai: Cirque Du Soleil-Parent's Night Out Ticket Giveaway!

Nov 28, 2014 11:55AM ● By Hood Magazine

 Parent's Night Out Ticket Giveaway!!

2 tickets to Varekai: Cirque Du Soleil on Thursday, December 11th at 7:30pm.

Leave your answer in the comments section of this article to be entered into the giveaway: 

Our last date night was..? And we went to/did...? 

Written and Directed by Dominic Champagne


Varekai is a critically-acclaimed production that has wowed over 8 million people worldwide since it first premiered in Montreal in 2002. Since then, Varekai has visited more than 72 cities in 20 different countries around the world.

Deep within a forest, at the summit of a volcano, exists an extraordinary world where something else is possible.

 A world called Varekai.

The sky lets go a solitary young man, and the story of Varekai begins. Parachuted into the shadows of a magical forest, a kaleidoscopic world imbued with fantastical creatures, a young man takes flight in an adventure both absurd and extraordinary. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of pure and undiluted possibility, begins an inspired incantation to a life rediscovered and to a newly found wonder in the mysteries of the world and the mind.

The word Varekai (pronounced ver·ay·’kie) means “wherever” in the Romany language of the gypsies—the universal wanderers. Written and directed by Dominic Champagne, this production pays tribute to the nomadic soul, to the spirit and art of the circus tradition, and to those who quest with infinite passion along the path that leads to Varekai.

Varekai emerges from an explosive fusion of drama and acrobatics. The impossible becomes possible in stunning displays of skill and power set against innovative music and otherworldly sets, interwoven with vivid choreography that speaks to all in the universal language of movement. The pendulum of time sweeps backward, paying tribute to the ancient and rare circus traditions of Icarian games and Georgian dance. Varekai then catapults to the future with revolutionary twists on such acts as Russian swings and slippery surface.

Varekai features an international cast of 50 performers and musicians from 18 different countries.


Eiko Ishioka has had a hand in several artistic disciplines, including designing costumes for the cinema, theatre and opera. However, the circus arts were uncharted territory for her. For Varekai, she set herself the double challenge of designing resolutely original costumes and giving new shapes to the traditional Lycra bodysuit.

Safety, comfort and freedom of movement are essential factors in the design of acrobatic costumes. Never losing sight of these objectives, Eiko Ishioka dreamt up exuberant costumes that make the already spectacular acrobatic feats look even more audacious. The vibrant, flamboyant colours and unusual shapes of Eiko Ishioka’s costumes accentuate the artists’ movements, enhancing their beauty and grace.

Varekai Costume Fun Facts:

• The design of Varekai’s costumes involved finding technical solutions to ensure comfort and safety. The highly skilled costume makers fashioned the most original creations—after no less than 33,000 hours of hard work!

• Moleskin (Lycra) continues to be one of the most popular fabrics, on account of its flexible, elastic and easy care properties. Some special materials were also used, such
as flexible titanium rods, sponge nylon, and different types of fire-resistant materials.

• The show has over 600 costumes, shoes, wigs, hats and accessories.

• It takes a total of 250 hours a week to keep the costumes impeccable on tour.

• The artist’s make-up is so complex that it can take between 45 minutes to an hour and a half to apply and each artist does their own!

• The Varekai wardrobe team consists of 4 permanent touring staff and 2 or 3 local wardrobe employees in each city who launder, repair, iron, repaint the shoes and retouch the hats.

Cirque du Soleil Costume Fun Facts:

• All costumes are custom-made and the majority are produced at the Costume workshop in the International Headquarters in Montreal, Canada.

• The only facility of its kind in North America, it has over 300 full-time employees, including specialists in fields as varied as shoemaking, textile design, lace-making, wig-making, patternmaking, costumes making and millinery.

• In 2014, the Costume workshop will produce more than 20,000 pieces. Each year, the Costume workshop artisans use more than 150 kilometres of fabrics. 80% of all fabrics are treated and dyed in-house by the artisans of the textile design team.

• Shoes are hand- and custom-made for all artists by the artisans of the shoe workshop. The leather pieces are dyed, trimmed and assembled on location. Brand new sports or dance shoes are sometimes altered to meet the specific requirements of a costume. On average, nearly 3,000 pairs of shoes are produced by the workshop every year.

• Hats can be seen in every Cirque du Soleil show and are a key part of the costumes. Like the costumes, they are custom-designed and made in the workshop. To do this, the milliners mould and build the hats on models of the artists’ heads. When artists arrive at Cirque du Soleil, they must have a mould made of their head.


To create the musical score for Varekai, Violaine Corradi drew inspiration from the vast repertoire of world music. Each piece seems to evoke a meeting or juxtaposition of different cultures, which are not always identifiable.

Violaine Corradi combined the sounds of Hawaiian rituals, the songs of 11th-century troubadours from the south of France, traditional Armenian melodies and gospel music with contemporary arrangements to conjure up the unique musical universe of Varekai.

The 7-piece band includes a bandleader/keyboard player, a second keyboard player, drummer, percussionist, bassist, violinist and a wind instruments player and two singers—one male (The Patriarch) and one female (The Muse).

In almost all of Cirque du Soleil shows, the music is performed live. Unlike musicals, the music needs to adapt to what is going on on-stage and not the other way around. To do so, the band leader, the musicians, the singers and the sound staff are in constant communication via headsets and microphones during the show.


Stéphane Roy set out to create a contextualized set for Varekai —a design in which all the elements harmonize with the poetry and language of performance: costumes, scenery, and music.
The Varekai universe is made up of . . .

The Forest

A fabulous and mysterious hideaway where the Varekai characters have made their home. Consisting of over 300 “trees” between 4.5 metres and 10.5 metres tall, the forest is also interspersed with twenty-odd “acrobatic trees” that its inhabitants can climb up to see what’s going on.

The Stage

Extending out of the golden forest, this is the terrain on which the characters move about. It’s a golden clearing with a diameter of 12.8 metres. Specially designed for the show’s aesthetic and acrobatic needs, the stage harbours five traps, two turntables and an elevating platform.

The Catwalk

Reminiscent of the spine of an immense bird, the catwalk
is the invention of the forest’s inhabitants. It allows them to step outside, collect bits and pieces and climb high in their quest to touch the sky. Used by artists to travel over the stage from one end to the other, this 30-metre long staircase is key to their survival.

The Lookout
At the end of the catwalk, just above the audience, is the lookout—the centrepiece of the set. It is a link to the outside world, a lookout point to see what lies ahead. This 7 square-metre platform also serves as a cabin for one of the forest’s inhabitants.