When the first-of-its-kind creative collaboration between iconic memory-makers Cirque du Soleil and Disney premieres on November 18, Drawn to Life will feature 10 distinct acrobatic performances. After previously unveiling a few of the acts that would be featured in this love letter to the art of Disney Animation, Cirque du Soleil and Disney have revealed two more of the amazing acrobatic performances set to amaze audiences upon the show’s debut: “Garden of Lines” unicycle and “The Old Mill” double wheel acts. Learn more below.
Drawn to Life, written and directed by Michel Laprise with Fabrice Becker as Director of Creation, is a live acrobatic journey telling the story of Julie, a determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her Disney Animator father: an unfinished animation. As she dives into the inner world of animation guided by a surprising pencil, Julie embarks on an inspiring quest filled with her childhood Disney memories. Developed in partnership with Michael Jung, Executive Theatrical Development, Walt Disney Imagineering along with Walt Disney Animation Studios, the story is driven by 10 unique acrobatic acts alongside animation from beloved Disney films. In addition, the show features all-new animation created by Disney artists led by Animation Director Eric Goldberg, best known for characters such as the Genie in the Disney Animation classic “Aladdin.”
In the “Garden of Lines” unicycle act, Julie is swept into a wonderland of familiar shadows, shapes and outlines in an homage to cherished tales that inspire an animator. Julie’s whimsical mood fixates on a mischievous marionette from a time-honored Italian fairytale. Five playful unicyclists representing the Blue Fairy of the classic Disney Animation film “Pinocchio” appear to effortlessly float across the stage, performing synchronized stunts and individual tricks with pinpoint precision.
“The Old Mill” double wheel act is inspired by Walt Disney’s groundbreaking 1937 animated short of the same name, which is seen in projections throughout. In a display of tenacity, perseverance and rise-and-fall motion, owls dreamed up by Julie’s imagination weather a storm using teamwork and courage to carry them through the powerful wind and rain that threaten their windmill home. The windmill of the film is represented in a spectacular, churning, fast-moving double wheel structure. Gravity-defying acrobats are in constant motion with the turning wheels—at times airborne—with astonishing balance and agility.
Drawn to Life is the 50th production created by Cirque du Soleil and its premiere coincides with the Walt Disney World Resort 50th anniversary celebration. With an international cast of 62 artists,Drawn to Life will perform Tuesday through Saturday at Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort.
In advance of the show’s premiere, Cirque du Soleil and Disney fans can now visit the Cirque du Soleil Store at Disney Springs West Side for merchandise.
RELATED ARTICLE: Drawn to Life Sneak Peek – The New Cirque du Soleil Production at Disney Springs
By Chad and Cindy Nykamp
We were recently able to get a sneak peek at two acrobatic acts and the set of Drawn to Life, the highly anticipated, new family-friendly show coming to Disney Springs in Walt Disney World. Written and directed by Michel Laprise and with Fabrice Becker as Director of Creation, this collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Walt Disney Imagineering will premiere on November 18, 2021. Learn more about this new show below.
1 – Cirque du Soleil Teams Up with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering
While Cirque du Soleil is not new to Disney Springs, the previous show, La Nouba, was missing one critical element – Disney. The new show, Drawn to Life, brings the best of Cirque’s creativity together with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, and the result is a show that is perfect for guests visiting Walt Disney World.
“Interpreting the works from Disney’s spectacular catalogue of animation into a live show was a thrilling opportunity for Cirque du Soleil, and we couldn’t be more proud of this production,” explained Diane Quinn, Chief Creative Officer Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group. “Together with Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering, we have created a stunning show that will inspire audiences to dream and reach for the impossible.”
“Together Disney and Cirque du Soleil have created an incredible new family entertainment experience that is sure to awe audiences and touch the hearts of adults and children alike,” says Natalie Woodward, Vice President of Production for Disney Parks Live Entertainment. “Our two organizations are rooted in artistry and share a passion for creating memorable experiences. That’s one reason Drawn to Life is a show that could only come from the creative minds of Disney and Cirque du Soleil.
2 – The Story of the Show
Drawn to Life is a live acrobatic journey telling the story of Julie, a determined girl who discovers an unexpected gift left by her Disney animator father: an unfinished animation. As she dives into the inner world of animation, Julie embarks on an inspiring quest guided by a surprising pencil and filled with her childhood Disney memories. The story is driven by ten unique acrobatic acts, including an energetic Rhythmic Gymnastics group number and a pencil-test-inspired Aerial Pole routine, both of which were we caught during the preview. Drawn to Life also features animation from beloved Disney films as well as all-new animation created by Disney artists led by Eric Goldberg, best known for characters such as the Genie in the animated classic, “Aladdin.”
3 – Art & Technology Come Together
During the second act of the show, we saw classic Disney animation sketch sequences that were brought to life. The visuals of the sketches, along with the music and amazing performance of a performer on an Aerial Pole, were breathtaking.
“Our show uses new technologies and art forms to portray the innate physicality of animation,” says Michel Laprise, Show Writer & Director. “During a number of the acts, classic Disney animation sequences come alive via contemporary projections, complementing the spectacular feats of our acrobats.
4 – Exceptional Stage Props and Production
Audience members of all ages will not only be enthralled by the unbelievable talent and strength of the acrobats of Drawn to Life, but by the stunning stage and props as well. Stephane Roy, the show’s award-winning Set Designer, managed to create a fully immersive world for Julie’s journey inside the world of animation with no detail overlooked. Drawn to Life plays out on a vast stage made to look like an animator’s desk; sheets of paper surround the stage resembling the stacks of drafts that an animator inevitably sifts through during their creation process while a colossal version of an animator’s lamp towers overhead.
“Every aspect of the set design has been meticulously crafted by Stephane, who left no detail of the animator’s world untouched. The size and scope of props used in the show are spellbinding,’’ says Fabrice Becker, Creation Director.
5 – About Cirque du Soleil
Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group is a world leader in live entertainment. On top of producing world-renowned circus arts shows, the Canadian organization brings its creative approach to a large variety of entertainment forms such as multimedia productions, immersive experiences, theme parks, and special events. It currently has 4,900 employees from nearly 70 countries. Going beyond its various creations, Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group aims to make a positive impact on people, communities, and the planet with its most important tools: creativity and art. For more information about Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, please visit CirqueduSoleilEntertainmentGroup.com.
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