Koozå is a touring circus production by Cirque du Soleil which premiered in Montréal, Canada, in 2007. The show was written and directed by David Shiner, who had previously worked as a clown in Cirque du Soleil's production of Nouvelle Expérience. His experience as a clown and his past work with Switzerland's Circus Knie and Germany's Circus Roncalli informed his work on Koozå.
Due to the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami, the artists and staff of Koozå were temporarily relocated to Macau where they continued training at Cirque du Soleil's resident show Zaia. The major benefit of relocating there is that the team is able to partner with the crews of Zed (which was also relocated from Japan) and Zaia at the Macau training facilities. Artists were also able to connect with artists from The House of Dancing Water, the water-based show at The City of Dreams by former Cirque du Soleil director Franco Dragone. Shows running from March 11 through April 9 were cancelled. The troupe returned and started performances again after facility management had conducted a thorough safety inspection.
Stéphane Roy designed Koozå's stage to evoke a public square that changes into a circus ring. The sight lines for the audience is quite grand, up to 260 degrees. The stage has one major component, a traveling tower dubbed the "bataclan." The decoration for the bataclan is inspired by Hindu culture, Pakistani buses and Indian jewelry. The large fabric structure behind the bataclan is organic in nature, as it's printed with a motif resembling the internal structure of leaves. As for the stage itself, the surface is decorated to look like the night sky. The center ring itself has a graphic representation of the night sky in Montréal the day which the show premiered.
Although there are many performers in Koozå, there are six primary characters who are central to the narrative.The Trickster: Created the world that is Koozå for the Innocent.
The Innocent: Is eager to learn about the world he is in, yet discovers many unexpected things.
The King: Plays the king of fools, and is seen with his sidekicks, the clowns.
Clowns: The two court clowns are the King's footmen.
Heimloss: Is in charge of all the mechanical machinery in Koozå.
The Bad Dog: The dog is not trained at all, but does become drawn to the Innocent and becomes his companion.
Koozå has ten acrobatic acts, supplemented by other minor acts that develop the storyline.Charivari: The first act in the show sees the house troupe creating human towers, and using other circus apparatus such as a Chinese pole.
Contortion: A trio use balance, strength and flexibility in this jaw dropping feat of contortion.
Aerial hoop: A lone performer performs with an aerial hoop.
Unicycle duo: A couple waltz on a unicycle, the woman balances on top of the man while he simultaneously rides the unicycle.
High wire: A quartet walk a high wire using props such as bicycles, a chair and even fencing swords.
Wheel of death: Arguably the most dangerous act in the show, it involves a pendulum with two hamster wheel like walkways at each end. On these walkways two performers jump, leap and skip rope inside and even outside the wheel.
Hoop manipulation: A high caliber hoops act, Irina Akimova weaves spinning hoops around her body.
Balancing on chairs: A large stack of chairs that tower on the stage are put to the test by an artist who performs a balancing act at the top of the pile.
Teeterboard: The final act in the show, it is performed by the house troupe. In this act a performer stands on one end of the teeter board until they are sent flying up by two performers who land on the opposite end. The performer somersaults and lands onto a mat or a tower of people, sometimes the performer even wears stilts.
Cyr wheel: Used as a back-up; One person spins and rotates while in a large metal ring.
Juggling: A high paced juggling act that involved juggling clubs, rings and balls.
Pickpocket: A comedy act involved with one person from the audience on stage.
Hand to hand: A rotational act, it involves a couple, the man acts as the base so the woman can balance on him and somersault off him.
Solo trapeze: A lone performer swings on a trapeze, she performs multiple dangerous stunts on the trapeze.
Reflecting Cirque du Soleil's return to more traditional circus arts with clowning and acrobatics, Marie-Chantale Vaillancourt (costume designer) chose a color palette more in line with traditional circus and burlesque: red, white, and gold. Koozå's costumes are designed from the point of view of a character called the Innocent. The Innocent's costume itself has horizontal stripes and is very ill-fitted, with sleeves much too long and pant legs much too short, illustrating his childlike naïvety. The other main character, the Trickster, is impeccably dressed, with the same colored stripes as the Innocent, yet his are vertical. In fact, the stripes are aligned to such a degree that the lines run directly in line from headpiece to shoe. Much detail was put into piecing the wool-lycra blend pieces together to show the Trickster's mischievous and all-powerful character.
Inspiration for the characters was drawn from graphic novels and comic books, Gustav Klimt paintings, as well as Indian and Eastern European art. As Koozå is dreamt of by the Innocent, many of the costumes are designed to impress the audience with ideas of children's toys, soldiers, and children's stories. Many of the costumes are also designed to metamorphose. For example, the Charivari performers have controls at their fingertips that will turn their costumes from gold to red in the blink of an eye. These metamorphosis effects were inspired by quick-change artists and magicians.
Koozå has more than 175 costumes and 160 hats. Counting all of the shoes, props, wigs and such, the total number of wardrobe pieces is 1,080.
Composed by Jean-François Côté, the show's music was inspired by the music of India, pop music, 1970s funk, orchestral music, and film scores from the 1940s and 1950s. Below is a list of the tracks featured on the CD, which was released on June 24, 2008. The items in parentheses indicate the related act.Tara Baswani - From April 19, 2007 (Montreal) to January 2013 (London)
Meetu Chilana - From 2009 to 2010
Naomi Zaman - From January 2013 (London) to April 2013 (Madrid)
Dorothée Doyer - From May 2013 (Bilbao) to June 2014 (Vienna)
Mary-Pier Guilbault - From June 2014 (Vienna) to December 2015 (Vancouver)
Alessandra González - From Mar 2016 (Montevideo) to present
Theresa Bailey - From April 19, 2007 (Montreal) to October 2007 (Toronto)
Cinda RamSeur - From November 2007 to January 2011 (Miami)
Vedra Chandler - From February 2011 (Tokyo) to April 2015 (Bern)
Nathaly Lopez - From June 2015 (Columbus) to April 2016 (Montevideo)
Jennlee Shallow - From April 2016 (Buenos Aires) to July 2016 (Santiago)
Lisa Ramey - From August 2016 (Sydney) to present
A Thrilling Ride through Koozå was the first film release related to Cirque du Soleil's show, Koozå. This short documentary was directed by Roger Cantin and released in September 2007. It was shot on location in Montréal, Canada.
Cirque du Soleil released a film production of Koozå in September 2008. The film was directed by Mario Janelle and produced by Jacques Méthé. It was shot using eight high-definition cameras on location in Toronto, Canada.
The following colorboxes indicate the region of each performance:
EU Europe NA North America SA South and Central Americas AP Asia/Pacific OC Oceania AF Africa
On 27 November 2016, gymnast Lisa Skinner suffered a fractured neck and broken arm during a solo aerial hoop performance in Brisbane, Australia.