Death of director Franco Dragone, inspiration for Cirque du Soleil

His shows have toured the world, attracting millions of spectators. He revolutionized the circus, transformed by him into a form of global art, using new technologies, lining up breathtaking numbers. For twenty years, he was the great inspiration behind the planetary adventure of Cirque du Soleil, which he left in 2000 to devote himself to his own company, Dragone, in La Louvière, Belgium, the town where he grew up.

Spectacular and colorful staging

Franco Dragone, born on December 12, 1952 in Cairano (Italy), had followed his working-class parents to Belgium, to this coal and steel region. After studying languages ​​and political science, he had taken courses at the Royal Conservatory of Mons, animated and participated in a series of theatrical adventures of political and social interventions. In the early 1980s, he left for Quebec, launched workshops in commedia dell’arte and teaches at the National Circus School in Montreal. He was spotted by Guy Laliberté, fire-eater and street artist, who had just founded Cirque du Soleil. Together, they will turn the traditional universe of the track upside down and perform all over the planet, recruiting the best artists in the discipline, employing up to 5,000 people to bring their giant tents to life.

The spectacular and colorful productions of Franco Dragone, “little collection of imperfect dreams”are acclaimed worldwide, including Saltimbanco (1992), Alegria (1994), O (1998) which will attract 18 million spectators, La Nouba (1999)… Celine Dion calls on him to conquer Las Vegas.

At the beginning of the 21st century, Franco Dragone recrosses the Atlantic to found his own company in La Louvière. He puts on an urban opera, Get the moon, which associates the local population and will be played for several years. The latest edition is from last week. He creates several shows in China, in the United Arab Emirates. He staged the opening ceremony of the European football championship in Brussels (2000).

A dazzling form of fairyland

This creator never stopped innovating. The Parisian cabaret Le Lido had called on him to relaunch. Franco Dragone never ceased to plead for the greatness of the circus, which he described as high-level popular art. His productions were of a dazzling form of magic.

Lately, after overcoming leukemia, Franco Dragone wanted to devote himself to writing. His name had been cited in the Panama Papers and the courts had prosecuted him on charges of tax evasion and money laundering. He had not yet been judged. His heart dropped him on Friday September 30 in Cairo where he was passing through. Franco Dragone was 69 years old.

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