Friday, December 13, 2013

Totem profiles - Genevieve Caron

Genevieve Caron, age 41, from Quebec City, is Totem's Assistant to the Head of Wardrobe.  She has been working for Cirque du Soleil as a costumer for 15 years, and has been with Totem since the beginning of the tour.  Here's her story....

It's easy to imagine the child costume designer.  From a very young age, Genevieve loved dressing up, and making clothes for paper dolls.  She was particularly drawn to bright colors, and complained to her parents that real life was not as bright as the comics!

As a teenager, Genevieve fell into theater, becoming serious about acting.  (but, she says, in the amateur productions she was involved in, she still always ended up making the costumes!)  Her teenage years also had a "punk" phase, which was a turning point - unable to find the kinds of clothes she wanted, she learned some basic sewing skills from her mother.  At that point, however, her skill was mostly in just assembling things.  She was not a patient seamstress, but she has always had a drive for detail and organization.

She went to college, planning to be an actress - but she soon learned that she needed a field that was more stable, and less judgmental.  At the age of 22 she enrolled in fashion design school, accepting that she truly needed stronger sewing skills for her work.  And she specialized in hat design, following a few years of hat-making and collecting.

After college, she did freelance work for a couple of years.  This was the late 1990s, when Cirque du Soleil was booming in Montreal, and they needed staff in their costume department.  Genevieve started with short contracts in October 1998, but within a year was on a permanent contract.

For the first 5 years, she was based in Montreal, and in 2003 she rose to the position of Costume Coordinator.  She then participated in the creation and installation of costumes for 11 different Cirque productions, which had her travel to Japan and to Las Vegas.

In 2010 Genevieve needed a change, and joined the touring life of Totem.  The constant travel was a big change, and it took her some time to adjust.  She says that what she appreciates most is the people she meets in different cities along the way.  She is outgoing, and makes new friends everywhere she goes, and then maintains these connections.  Developing a life outside of the touring community has been essential for her, and it has made the journey more rich.

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