The new family-friendly live acrobatic Cirque du Soleil show, Drawn to Life, is coming to Disney Springs at Walt Disney World Resort in Florida. Drawn to Life celebrates the art of Disney animation in Cirque du Soleil’s signature way, through the use of innovative design, awe-inspiring acrobatic performances, dazzling choreography, and an original yet familiar musical score. This collaboration between Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Animation Studios and Walt Disney Imagineering will open for previews March 20 and officially premiere April 17. With an international cast of 65 artists, Drawn to Life will perform two shows per day, Tuesday through Saturday.
The show is a result of years of research and extraordinary collaboration that included extensive visits to Disney theme parks, Walt Disney Archives, Walt Disney Imagineering, Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar Animation Studios, and The Walt Disney Family Museum, as well as hands-on work between Disney animators and Cirque du Soleil. It was written and directed by Michel Laprise and with Fabrice Becker as Director of Creation.
“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.”
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 unveiled to media attending a special 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.”
“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.
“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.
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. Stéphane 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 Stéphane, 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.