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La Nouba Costumes

The story of La Nouba contains two types of families or groups: the urban people and the circus people. The circus characters are denoted by bright, neon colors and the urbanites by dark, gray and muted tones.

  • For La Nouba, Costume Designer Dominique Lemieux created 30 different costume concepts, blending historical and traditional circus attire with original contemporary styles. Lemieux drew at least 10 different designs for each costume concept.
  • Many of the performers in La Nouba undergo a metamorphosis indicated by a dramatic costume change. Some principal characters have several costume layers which are revealed as the story unfolds.
  • An example of this transformation can be seen in the urban costumes. To personify the city dwellers, Lemieux chose textured, natural fabrics such as hemp. The urban characters begin in dark, muted blues, reds and greens and end up in white, billowing, fairy-like outfits.
  • Dark fabrics with fluorescent color accents are used in La Nouba to provide high-contrast images with the addition of black lights. The Roue allemande (German Wheel) costumes were designed to resemble marionettes while highlighting the artists' anatomy.
  • The red flame costumes are made of pleated silk and stretch velour.
  • The Grands volants (Flying Trapeze) costumes are both tribal and androgynous with elaborate collars, head ornaments, and tutu skirts for the male performers.
  • Inspired by the Pierrot or classical clown, Les Cons (The Nuts) are dressed simply in white to signify their naïve and innocent character.
  • The wardrobe department employed ten technicians to custom-dye the costume materials for La Nouba. These include fabric, real and synthetic hair, feathers, horsehair and leather.
  • As in all Cirque du Soleil productions, plaster head molds were cast for each of the artists to insure that their wigs, masks and headpieces fit perfectly. This process takes about four hours per head. A total of four different wig-styles were created for La Nouba. Each wig takes one person approximately 70 hours to make.
  • The costumes for La Nouba were created in a record eight-week period from October 24 to December 23, 1998 at the costume workshop located in the Cirque du Soleil theater.


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