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Cirque du Soleil show 'Drawn to Life,' coming to Disney World 

A first-of-its-kind show will celebrate the magic of

A first-of-its-kind show will celebrate the magic of Walt Disney Animation Studios in a touching story brought to life by Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Imagineering, and legendary Disney animators.  Credit: TNS/Disney/Cirque du Soleil

The new Cirque du Soleil show coming to Walt Disney World in Orland this spring finally has a name: “Drawn to Life.”

The title cleverly has two meanings: The show is about animation, the art of bringing characters to life through drawings. But Cirque and Disney officials have also described the show’s story as a celebration of life and the power imagination plays in it.

“What fascinates us is that moment when life appears in drawings,” said show director and writer Michael Laprise in the joint Cirque-Disney announcement. “Just like in an acrobat’s body, the visceral physicality of animation. The way they perform, the way they create the illusion of life.”

“Drawn to Life” will likely be a name visitors will hear for a long time. Its predecessor at Disney World, Cirque’s “La Nouba,” ran for nearly 20 years.

The announcement also offered a few more facts about the show, the first co-created by Montreal-based Cirque du Soleil and the Walt Disney Co.

“Drawn to Life” will be the 50th original production by Cirque du Soleil, known for it stylish and imaginative use of not only circus arts but costuming, lighting and staging.

The show, which will be presented in the Disney Springs building that formerly hosted “La Nouba,” will feature a cast of more than 65 performers from around the world. The theater, a distinctive white tentlike structure, can accommodate up to 1,580 spectators per show.

Josh D’Amaro, president of Walt Disney World, promised the show will offer surprises in the announcement: “It blends all the heart, humor and joy of Disney storytelling with dazzling new acrobatic performances and effects never before seen in a Cirque du Soleil production,” he said.

The Cirque du Soleil team collaborated with Disney animators to create the show. Their research also included visits to Disney theme parks, the Walt Disney archives, animation studios, the Walt Disney Family Museum and the company’s famed Imagineering department.

The show will focus on Julie, the daughter of an animator, who discovers her late father left her a gift: a piece of unfinished animation. Her quest to find this legacy is “sprinkled with her Disney childhood memories,” Cirque says, and through her journey, she learns to imagine new possibilities for her own future.

One other clue in the latest announcement: What the pencil costume, seen in photos released earlier by the companies, will be used for. Julie will be guided on her quest by a “surprising pencil.”

“Drawn to Life” begins preview performances on March 20. For more information or tickets, go to cirquedusoleil.com.

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