KOOZA Hits Phoenix

Cirque du Soleil is coming to Phoenix! Opening at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, on June 8th, this show, called KOOZA, is a bright and lively fantasy featuring a character that is “a melancholy loner, known as THE INNOCENT, in search of his place in the world” as described on the Cirque du Soleil website. This character experiences a number of different feelings and emotions as he encounters many unique comic type characters

After touring for this past year in Japan, Cirque du Soleil will be opening their big top production, which premiered in Montreal in 2007. KOOZA was written and directed by David Shiner, who describes the show as the combination of two circus traditions…acrobatic performance and the art of clowning.

KOOZA’s costume designer is the multi-talented, Montreal based, Marie Chantale

KOOZA Costume Designer Marie Chantale Vaillancourt

Vaillancourt, who has designed costumes as well as sets for theater, dance opera and film productions, winning many Canadian award nominations. She’s worked closely with writer, actor and director Robert LaPage on several of his works including Peter Gabriel’s Growing Up tour, and Cirque du Soleil’s KA. She also won awards in 1995 and 2005 for her work on two Masques de la Conception des Costumes (masks for complementing the costume’s concept).

“Even if KOOZA isn’t specifically a clown show, a number of the characters are played by clowns” notes Marie Chantale.” I needed to avoid clichés and caricature so I concentrated more on archetypes of universal and unchanging characters. There is a comic book asthetic to the designs, but it’s filtered through the naive point of view of the main character, THE INNOCENT.”

Marie Chantale credits many sources for her inspirations including graphic novels, the paintings of Gustav Klimt, Baron Munchhausen, the Mad Max movies, time travel movies to India and Eastern Europe. “This visually exotic and timeless universe evokes the world of toys, lead soldiers, and children’s books, with a wink toward Alice in Wonderland, and the Wizard of Oz.”

KOOZA Makeup Artist Florence Cornet

Of course, costuming is not complete without the artistry of make-up. Florence Cornet , was born in France,  but moved to Montreal as a child, initially coming to Cirque du Soleil in 2004 as a make-up consultant on KA, and has worked on a number of other special events. KOOZA is her first assignment with the company as make-up designer. Using the inspiration of African and Middle Eastern golds, jewels and Earth tones, “I adopted a signature that favors the spontaneity of gesture, and accentuates the symmetry of line, the instinctive and the ritual.”

Florence’s career credits include a double role as artistic director and set designer for a multi-cultural show at the World Marionette Festival in France. After returning to Canada she worked on over 200 Quebec productions, and for the past 20 years she’s taught make-up in various theater schools including the National Circus School in Montreal. Her work has appeared in both film and television.

If you have experienced Cirque du Soleil before, you know what a fantastic experience awaits you. If not, you’ll be amazed by all of the visual beauty and incredible performances.  I’m pretty sure you’ll be asking yourself…How did they do that??  You don’t want to miss this!

Adult tickets range from $35 to 130. Specially price tickets are available for children, students , seniors, and military through their website  or by calling 1800-450-1480.  The Box Office is located inside the entrance tent through a designated Box Office entrance and will be opened as of Thursday, June 7th from 6:00pm to 7:30pm. Tickets for KOOZA may be purchased in person.

Regular box office hours are from 90 minutes prior to show time to 30 minutes after the beginning of the show on show days.

For a more behind the scenes look on the Cirque du Soleil costume design process, read Liz’s Pt. 1 and Pt. 2 blog interview with Liz Vandal!

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Article by Liz Riley for Phoenix Fashion Week

“The Resource For All Things Fashionable”


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