Cirque and Disney’s ‘Drawn to Life’ evolves with new acrobatic acts

Performances happening at Disney Springs

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. – The next time you see a performance of “Drawn to Life” at Disney Springs, it may look a little different.

The show, which first debuted at Disney Springs in 2021, has performed more than 650 times and ushered more than 600,000 guests through its doors. Last month, Cirque du Soleil announced new additions to the show, including an all-new acrobatic act, aerial artists and a “flying” guitarist.

“Drawn to Life” features an imaginative blend of timeless Disney magic and remarkable Cirque du Soleil artistry. The show tells the story of the love between a father and a daughter, drawing inspiration from Walt Disney Animation Studios’ 100-year heritage of storytelling. The show celebrates iconic Disney stories and characters through innovative design, quintessential Cirque du Soleil acrobatic performances, dazzling choreography, musical scores and brand-new animation lovingly created by Disney Animation artists.

“So, any Cirque show evolves over time, and especially usually within the first year, but we’re in a little bit of a protracted development phase. We’re making tons and tons of little and medium tweaks. And right now we’ve decided to change two acts in a major way,” said Tim Bennett, artistic director. “One change was a complete replacement of an old act - it was the stilts act before, and we decided to find something that really jumped up the acrobatic level earlier in the show. So, we brought in the Icarian Games act.”

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Drawn to Life at Disney Springs (WKMG)

During the performance, which pays tribute to Disney’s animated forests and the creatures that live there, a pair of Ethiopian artists perform acrobatic feats in which one lies on their back and uses their legs and feet to toss the other performer in the air.

During the “Dream of Colors” act, aerial hoop artists will take to the air and perform various tricks as human trapeze artists “paint” dramatic colors on a suspended wheel. Show leaders said the Rhythmic Gymnastics act will also feature a new “flying” guitarist that will perform as acrobats soar and flip in the sky.

“We realized that we didn’t have a whole lot of aerial stuff in the show. So we wanted to add more aerial acts,” Bennett described. “So what we did is we’ve taken the paint and ink girls and made them into ceraso artists, so now they fly on aerial hoops, and it brings the act forward. It also adds a component while in between the tricks of the Russian Cradle artists.”

Hoop artists in new act during Drawn to Life (WKMG)

In addition to the changes that guests will see on stage - the show’s musical score, composed by Benoit Jutras, evolved with some changes.

“So, some of the changes have been minor, some little tweaks. We’ve done a lot of work with transitions getting in and out of acts a little differently. We’ve changed the orchestration, maybe energizing a few of the acts as well. And in the case of something like the Icarian Games, we’ve added a brand new song,” said bandleader Thomas Lipps. “One of the things that makes this song so unique in our show is that it’s a return to a more traditional surface lay sound - it’s very eclectic, very wordly music for the ethnic. It also features our vocalist as the lead singer, which is something that the rest of the show is not doing.”

Some of the cast in Drawn To Life (WKMG)

During the development of the new song, Lipps said the lead vocalist was responsible for writing the lyrics. Leaders said she carefully reserarched the native language of the Ethiopian performers and took different phonetic elements from the words to create the surface layer to the song.

Leaders said the new changes are only the beginning of more to come in the future.

“There are some bigger things coming too - all within the next year,” Bennett said.

Drawn to Life has performances Wednesday through Sundays at 5:30 p.m. and 8 p.m. On Sundays, the show has matinee performances at 1:30 p.m. and 4 p.m.

Regular tickets start at $85, plus tax.

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About the Author:

Landon joined News 6 in 2017. He grew up in Southern Illinois and graduated from Southern Illinois University with a bachelors degree in TV and digital media. When he is not at work you can catch him at one of Orlando's theme parks or the beach. Before working at News 6 he worked for stations in Miami and Fort Myers.