La Nouba

La Nouba

"La Nouba" is a Cirque du Soleil show, which, like most Cirque du Soleil shows, is a circus-like performance featuring acrobats, gymnasts, and other skilled performers. Its title derives from the French phrase "faire la nouba", meaning "to party" or "to live it up". "La Nouba" is in permanent residence in a specially-made arena at Downtown Disney's West Side at the Walt Disney World Resort in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.


* Guy Laliberté:Founder and Chief Executive of Cirque du Soleil
* Gilles Ste-Croix:Director of Creation
* Dominique Lemieux:Costume Designer
* Benoit Jutras:Composer
* Franco Dragone:Director
* Jonathon Deans:Sound Designer
* Debra Brown:Choreographer
* François Bergeron:Sound Designer
* Michel Crête:Set Designer
* December 23, 1998:Date of Prèmiere


As in every Cirque show, in addition to the performances, there are several distinctive characters that participate in the show sometimes as performers and sometimes as spectators. In La Nouba, these include:
*The Green Bird: She is a flightless bird, out of her cage, watching the show from every angle desperate to fly as she sees so many aerial acts, but unable, often mimicking what she sees.
*Les Cons: The "nuts" or "silly people" dressed in all white are the ever present fools of the show. They find themselves in the middle of everything and often participating in different ways. Neither true performers nor merely spectators, they bumble their way through with naive innocence somewhat of a liaison between the audience world and the world of La Nouba.
*Le Titan: A mysterious "muscle man" who confronts everyone on stage while contorting his body in unusual poses. We find his true talent at the end of the show.
*The Walker: Dressed in grey pinstripes, with a small bowler hat atop, he strolls around stage ala Charlie Chaplin. He's everywhere, all the time. He also has a hidden talent that is revealed mid-show.
*The Pierrot Rouge: He appears as a red acrobat. He's the adversary of the Titan, but joins him in mutual admiration at the end of the show.
*The Pierrot Clown and Lost Ballerina: The Romeo and Juliet of the show. They dance and share their love, passion and fears on stage. Their emotions are exhibited through their graceful, beautiful movements on stage.
*The Clowns: Balto and Serguei provide comic relief in a world of comedy. They interact with one another as children would whether they are fighting as cowboy and Indian or "mother" and baby, scaling a mountain on the moon, or simply trying to arrange a pair of chairs.
*The Cleaning Woman: Shocked to be in this world and astonished by what goes on around her, she sweeps and dusts nonetheless until her dream becomes a reality.


Prior to the beginning of the show, clowns "Balto" and "Serguei" enter the arena and set the stage by interacting with guests and pulling a stunt on a few unexpecting audience members.

The show begins with the "Parade" as select characters and performers make their way across the aisle that separates the lower and upper seating sections of the house. Following the Parade, the cleaning woman appears, sweeping away at the stage until one-by-one the characters appear. First, the Green Bird, then Le Pierrot Rouge, an upside down biker crosses the stage followed by a model train and two clowns (one sleepwalking), then on what seems to be an elevator, les cons appear and begin to walk about the stage as if never seen it before, until she's seen more than she can believe. In a sudden fanfare of activity on the stage, the Urbanites march in unison, with sounds of howling wolves, and the cracks of bullwhips filling the air.
*German Wheels: A dynamic duo flexes their creativity as they turn and spin within giant wheels consisting of two metal hoops measuring six-and-a-half feet in diameter and joined at six points.
*High Wire: The entire act takes place on a convert|90|ft|m|sing=on-long high wire. With remarkable balance and precision, wire walkers ascend to a height of convert|34|ft|m above the stage. Supported by a half-inch steel wire, they execute 360-degree spins, head balancing and somersaults.
*Diabolos: Each of these four magical figures holds two sticks linked by a string on which a musical wooden spool, the diabolo, comes to life. In their tiny hands, the diabolo twirls, jumps and flies through the air while the acrobats themselves perform flips and build human pyramids.
*Cycles: This act gets rolling with a BMX wizard whose difficult maneuvers never fail to mesmerize. His technical twists, gymnastic turns and one-wheel spins are highlighted in incredible tricks such as G-turns, boomerangs and megaspins, all accompanied by lots of footwork. The second half of the act features yet another artist. His stunts include riding over obstacles without ever putting his feet down, jumping off high platforms, hopping up and down steps and into the audience on one wheel, and even jumping over an artist and a guest before literally plunging into the bowels of the stage.
*Aerial Cradle: The aerial cradle looks like a door and is the setting for a perfect example of equal-opportunity strength and agility. This amazing athletic display features elements of traditional circus aerial cradle, but adds a unique twist: the male and female artist take turns supporting one another convert|34|ft|m above the stage.
*Aerial Ballet in Silk: In a display of grace and strength, the artists become one with the ribbon of red fabric that cradles them. This aerial dance requires agility and flexibility, and allows the performers a great deal of latitude for acrobatic and artistic expression.
*Balancing on Chairs: This act, which features a solo performer, eight chairs, and a table, defies gravity and the laws of physics. The chairs are stacked one on top of the other and rise convert|25|ft|m in the air. Along the way, the performer is attempting to light the final candle on a chandelier that continues to rise higher and higher, reaching a height of convert|41|ft|m above the stage. In a prior version of this act, the performer carried a spinning birthday cake filled with candles.
*Flying Trapeze: Four pendulum-like swings, on two different levels, carry a team of perfectly synchronized aerialists convert|53|ft|m above the stage. This innovative bi-level rigging enables the trapezists to create a visually arresting display of rhythm and athleticism. Timing is key when all four trapezes are swinging in tandem and the aerialists switch places — barely inches away from colliding.
*Power Track and Trampoline: This high-energy spectacle has performers literally bouncing off the walls and through the windows and roof of a three-dimensional building. Technology and the power track take the trampoline to new heights. Timing and spatial awareness are essential to the incessant flow of action.


Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux created thirty different costume concepts and drew up at least ten different designs for each concept. Lemieux mixed historical and traditional circus ideas with contemporary fashions in her designs, and ten special technicians were employed in order to custom dye fabrics, real and synthetic hair, feathers, horsehair, and leather materials used on the various costumes. In the eight weeks she was given to design the costumes (October 24th to December 23rd, 1998), she created two drastically different styles to separate the urban people from the circus people. The circus people don bright, neon colors while the urbanites are represented by black, gray, and muted tones. Lemieux used natural, textured fabrics such as hemp to epitomize the urbanites.

Many of the performers undergo a metamorphosis which is indicated by often dramatic costume changes. This is shown in the urbanites whose outfits begin in dark, muted blues, reds, and greens and end in white, fairy-like outfits. Lemieux also employs other techniques in the various performances. In the German Wheel, she accents dark colors with fluorescent fabrics to provide a high-contrast with the black lights used during this act. The performers were designed to appear as marionettes and to emphasize human anatomy. The costumes designed for the Flying Trapeze are tribal and androgynous. They are elaborated with complex collars, head ornaments and tutu skirts for the males. The Les Cons were inspired by the Pierrot and simple, white outfits to depict their innocence.

For all Cirque du Soleil productions, plaster head molds were created to make certain that all wigs, masks, and headpieces fit perfectly. Four different wig designs were created for the show and each wig took one person approximately seventy hours to complete. [Cirque du Soleil La Nouba ""]

Music and Musicians

All music is performed live at La Nouba by six musicians and two singers. Composed by Benoit Jutras and directed by performer Benoit Glazer (incidentally, there is a third "Benoit", violinist Benoit Lajeunesse) the music is at times sorrowful, others upbeat and often mysterious. Jazz, hip-hop, Klezmer, opera, and other styles come together in an amazing way. The performers are somewhat hidden in towers on either side of the stage. Their play is perfectly coordinated to the action on stage.

There are two distinctively different voices in the show. First, a male countertenor singing in the alto range (currently, Ralph Daniel Rawe), adds an operatic feel to the soundtrack. The second, female gospel vocalist (currently, Sisaundra Lewis), punctuates many acts with her alto tones.


The soundtrack features most of the music played during the show. There are several interludes and music played during the clown acts that does not appear on the soundtrack. Several tracks differ from the music heard in the show, as additional vocals and remixing have been added. Most significantly altered are: "Once Upon a Time" and "A Tale", the first two tracks appearing on the CD. Additionally, the soundtrack does not follow the order of the show.

Below are the tracks, in order as they appear on the CD. Listed after each track title is the performance associated with the track.

# Once Upon A Time (Prelude and German Wheels)
# A Tale (Aerial Ballet in Silk)
# Porte (Aerial Cradle)
# La Nouba (Parade)
# Distorted (Cycles)
# Liama (High Wire)
# Queens (Flying Trapeze)
# À La Lune (Balancing on Chairs)
# Rêve Rouge (Aerial Ballet in Silk)
# Urban (Trampoline and Powertrack)
# Propel (Interlude between High Wire and Diabolos)
# Jardin Chinois (Diabolos)

Some of the titles in French relate specifically to the performance associated with them. For example, during Aerial Cradle, the performance takes place in a door, hence the French name "porte". Jardin Chinoise (Chinese Garden) plays during the Diabolos performance featuring four young Chinese girls. Rêve Rouge (Red Dream) plays during the Aerial Ballet with is performed on long red "silks".


External links

* [ Information at Cirque du Soleil website]
* [ Information at Walt Disney World website]
* [ All Ears Net La Nouba page]

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