Deep within a forest atop a volcano, exists an extraordinary world, where anything is possible. Coming to Ljubljana, 2nd - 4th of June, Cirque De Soleil in Stožice.

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From the sky falls a solitary young man, and the story begins. On this day at the edge of time, in this place of all possibilities, begins an inspired incantation to life rediscovered. Are you ready?

Varekai is a Cirque du Soleil touring production that premiered in Montréal in April 2002. Its title means "wherever" in the Romani language, and the show is an "acrobatic tribute to the nomadic soul." The show begins with the Greek myth of Icarus, picking up where the myth leaves off, reimagining the story of what happened to Icarus after he flew too close to the sun and fell from the sky. In Varekai, rather than drowning in the sea below him, Icarus lands in a lush forest full of exotic creatures.

The set, created by Stéphane Roy, includes four major components: the forest, stage, catwalk, and lookout. The forest consists of 330 "trees", of which around 20 are climbable. The trees range from 4.5 metres (15 ft) to 10.5 metres (34 ft) in height. The stage is 12.8 metres (42 ft) in diameter and has five trap doors, two turntables, and one elevating platform. The catwalk is 30 metres (98 ft) in length and allows performers to cross over the stage; it ends at a lookout which is 7 square metres (75 sq ft).

Varekai's costume designer, Eiko Ishioka, set out to design the costumes to heighten the sense of risk and danger the artists face while performing their acts. The designs are an approach to give the traditional leotard a new shape. Eiko drew inspiration from the natural world: plant life, reptiles, land animals, marine life, wind, water, fire and wood. While there are over 130 costumes in the entire collection, over 600 elements combine to make the entire wardrobe of costumes, shoes, hats, and accessories. During the tour it takes a 250 hours a week to keep the costumes in a state usable for performance. This includes repairs, cleaning, pressing, repainting (shoes), ironing, and other related tasks. Here's some facts about the costumes...

  • A team of 6 people clean, repair, iron, repaint the shoes, retouch the hats and so on.
  • There are over 130 costumes in the Varekai wardrobe.
  • It takes a total of 250 hours a week to keep the costumes impeccable on tour.
  • 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.
  • Self-applied, the artist's make-up is so extensive it can take between 45 minutes to an hour and a half to apply.

Approximately 95 people travel with the Varekai tour; 50 are artists and the rest are crew. During each engagement in a city, anywhere from 80 - 100 people are hired locally for temporary jobs during the week but mainly for load-in and load-out. The cast and crew is an international one, representing 19 nationalities.

May 17, 2017 Living photo: Varekai

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