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Hollywood, California – Cirque du Soleil has announced the upcoming presentation of the summer debut of the brand new production, IRIS, which will open exclusively at Kodak Theatre, home of the Academy Awards® on July 21, 2011. Tickets go on sale Nov. 22, 2010 at 10 a.m. via Cirque’s website or (877) 943-IRIS. Prices for single tickets range from $43 to $253.

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The show will feature a cast of more than 72 performing artists from around the world. We can’t wait to see the clowns take on silent films. Is that a kind of perfect pairing? Keystone Cop-like antics and Cirque du Soleil pantomimery? Or wait. Harlequins reenacting famous scenes? Norma Desmond dancing on stilts? The mind reels over the reel-based clowning to come.

“The inspiration for the show comes from a performance Cirque gave at the Oscar ceremony [in 2002]

The word “iris” refers to the adjustable opening—or diaphragm—that controls the amount of light that passes through a camera lens. The word also refers to the colored part of the eye. IRIS will take a unique look at the world of cinema.

Directed by French director-choreographer Philippe Decouflé, IRIS is a lyrical, fanciful, kinetic foray into the seventh art. Bringing together dance, acrobatics, live video, filmed sequences and animation, the show takes spectators on a fantastic voyage through the history of cinema and its genres, taking them into the heart of the movie-making process. From illustration to animation, black and white to colour, silent films to talkies, fixed shots to swooping camera movements, spectators witness the poetic construction/deconstruction of this art as an object and as a way of transcending reality.

Along with Philippe Decouflé, the creative team consists of 13 creators under the artistic guidance of Cirque du Soleil Founder Guy Laliberté:

Philippe Decouflé – Writer and Director
Trained in multiple disciplines including miming and circus arts, French dancer and choreographer Philippe Decouflé founded his own company – DCA – in 1983. His career path also led him to create videos and a series of outstanding advertisements during the 1980s. Teaming up with costume designer Philippe Guillotel, he staged the opening and closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympic Games in Albertville in 1992, which attracted considerable attention. Philippe Decouflé also created the show Désirs that has been running at the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris since 2009. IRIS is his first show with Cirque du Soleil.

Jean-François Bouchard – Director of Creation
The signature of Jean-François Bouchard is associated with many interior design concepts (bars, restaurants, boutiques, etc.) brought to life in Montreal between 1985 and 1995. He joined Cirque du Soleil as a designer in 1988 to create the interior design of the boutique connected to the La Nouba theatre in Orlando. He later became one of the key players in Cirque du Soleil’s special events team. IRIS is Jean-François Bouchard’s first show as Director of Creation.

Jean Rabasse – Set Designer
Jean Rabasse has earned an enviable reputation in the world of film, theatre and dance as a set designer and decorator. He has been the resident designer for Philippe Decouflé’s dance company DCA for more than ten years. His film credits include award-winning movies such as Vatel, directed by Roland Joffé, as well as Delicatessen and La Cité des enfants perdus, both directed by Caro and Jeunet. After Corteo and The Beatles LOVE, IRIS marks Jean Rabasse’s third participation in a Cirque du Soleil show as Set Designer.

Philippe Guillotel – Costume Designer
After a decade in the world of fashion, designer Philippe Guillotel discovered dance, and through it, his true calling—costume allied to movement. His signature is associated with the works of some of the most prominent stage and film directors in France. Since 1985, he has worked extensively with renowned French choreographer Philippe Découflé for whom he designed the costumes seen in the opening and closing ceremonies of the 1992 Winter Olympics in Albertville. In cinema, Philippe Guillotel designed the costumes for the feature Astérix et Obélix : Mission Cléopâtre, directed by Alain Chabat. He has also made his mark in the worlds of show business and music. IRIS is Philippe Guillotel’s second Cirque du Soleil show following The Beatles LOVE.

Danny Elfman – Composer
Danny Elfman is a musician best known for composing music for television and cinema and leading the rock band Oingo Boingo as singer/songwriter for almost 20 years. He is a frequent collaborator of long-time friend Tim Burton and has scored most of his films. He has been nominated for four Academy Awards and won a Grammy Award for Tim Burton’s Batman and an Emmy Award for his Desperate Housewives theme. He is also known for creating the main title theme for The Simpsons. IRIS is his first Cirque du Soleil show as Composer and Musical Director.

Daphné Mauger – Choreographer
Daphné Mauger has been active on the French artistic scene for a number of years. Former graduate of the Conservatoire de danse de Paris, she pursues her career as a dancer and choreographer on a number of productions. In 2008, she worked with Philippe Decouflé on the production Triton 2 ter. IRIS is her first collaboration with the Cirque du Soleil.

Patrice Besombes – Lighting Designer
Patrice Besombes began his training in theatre before he discovered dance. After joining Maison de la danse de Lyon as a technical director in the early 1980s, he worked with the emerging generation of French choreographers of the time. He became one of the official lighting directors of creators such as Carolyn Carlson and Philippe Decouflé. Patrice Besombes’ credits as a lighting designer include the works On the Other Side for the New York City Ballet and Triade et Amoveo for the Paris Opera, both by choreographer Benjamin Millepieds. His work can also be seen in theatre and opera. This is Patrice Besombes’ first collaboration with Cirque du Soleil.

Anne-Séguin Poirier – Props Designer
For the past 10 years, Anne-Séguin Poirier has worked as a set and costume designer for theatre, circus, opera and exhibits. Since 2005, she has created sets for multimedia creators Michel Lemieux and Victor Pilon, including DELIRIUM (Cirque du Soleil) and the Starmania opera they both directed. She has also designed costumes for choreographers and directors Peter James, Gypsy Rider, Shanna Carroll and Guy Alloucherie, at Montreal’s National Circus School. Anne-Séguin Poirier’s credits as a costume designer include the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic games. IRIS is her first Cirque du Soleil show as Props Designer.

Olivier Simola et Christophe Waksmann – Projection Designers
Olivier Simola and Christophe Waksmann are both members of the dance company DCA founded by French director Philippe Decouflé, with whom they have worked closely for many years. Olivier Simola has worked on many productions either as film director (video and cinema), stage director or dancer. Christophe Waksmann works as a dancer, camera operator, director, film editor and image designer for numerous dance companies in France. IRIS is their first Cirque du Soleil show.

François Bergeron – Sound Designer
François Bergeron is a long-time collaborator with Cirque du Soleil. Since 1990, he has worked in Europe, Asia and North America for numerous museums and producers of variety shows, plays and musicals, including Peter Pan, starring Cathy Rigby, which toured or ran on Broadway from 1997 to 1999. He created his own company in Los Angeles that produces shows worldwide, including in Asia and the Middle East. François Bergeron took part in the creation of the Tokyo DisneySea theme park in Japan for Walt Disney Entertainment.

Boris Verkhovsky et Shana Carroll – Acrobatic Performance Designers
A former athlete in the Russian Men’s National Team in Sport Acrobatics, Boris Verkhovsky immigrated to Canada from Byelorussia in 1978 following studies in physical education and sports (specializing in coaching). Later, he became head coach of the Canadian National Trampoline and Tumbling Team and, in 1993, was approached by Cirque du Soleil to consult on a proposed act for the show Mystère. Boris Verkhovsky was named head coach of acrobatic training and is currently director of acrobatic performance and training at Cirque du Soleil. He also contributes his expertise to the design of acrobatic acts for new shows. This is his first Cirque du Soleil show as an Acrobatic Performance Designer.

Pierre Masse – Acrobatic Rigging and Equipment Designer
Pierre Masse’s career spans just about every genre of the performing arts. He was involved in major productions with the Opéra de Montréal, the Grands Ballets Canadiens and Céline Dion as well as a production of Les Misérables. He has collaborated with Cirque du Soleil since 1996 and took part in the creation of Quidam, Varekai, Zumanity, KÀ and CRISS ANGEL Believe. This is Pierre Masse’s second Cirque du Soleil show as Acrobatic Rigging and Equipment Designer following TOTEM.

“We are thrilled to have found such a spectacular home in LA,” said President and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Daniel Lamarre. “The city is at the forefront not only of film, but music, architecture and art as well. It is our hope that IRIS will be a welcome addition to Hollywood as a destination for visitors. “

IRIS features a cast of over 72 performing artists from all over the world and will be presented exclusively at Kodak Theatre next summer.

Tickets information
Tickets are currently on sale for parties of 12 or more through Cirque du Soleil group sales by calling 877-504-7164.

For advance ticket information, join Cirque Club at www.cirquedusoleil.com.

For Preferred Seating and other American Express® Cardmember benefits, please visitwww.cirquedusoleil.com/amex.

Infiniti and American Express are the official sponsors of this new production.

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