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Guy Laliberté declares 2001 the beginning of "Cirque du Soleil, Volume 2” but his company already began the transition years before.

The style that Franco Dragone championed – an approach that promoted spontaneity over rigidity – goes by the wayside. New shows begat new directors and creative teams, no one show from this moment on is created by the same group of people. And those who come into the Director’s fold already have a plan: each show is now scripted from beginning to end, fostering a loss of that special je ne sais quoi in the process. Now it seemed as if Cirque du Soleil was an entertainment company rather than an artistic one. Perhaps a better comparison would be a symphony, with its resident conductor providing base and guest conductors taking the orchestra and audience off in new directions.

Cirque du Soleil keeps on growing with the inauguration of a 14,000-square-metre addition to its International Headquarters in Montreal. In addition, Alegría kicks off a three-year tour of the immense Asia-Pacific region in Auckland, New Zealand. Six other shows continue to dazzle audiences across the world: Saltimbanco in Japan, Mystère in Las Vegas, «O» in Las Vegas, La Nouba at the Walt Disney World Resort in Orlando, Florida, Quidam in Europe, and Dralion in the United States.

On October 30th, Cirque du Soleil released its entire show catalogue onto DVD: La Magie Continue, Le Cirque Réinventé, Nouvelle Expérience, and Saltimbanco as well as Journey of Man and Baroque Odyssey (the 10th Anniversary documentary). A few days later, "Cirque du Soleil presents: Alegría", a special 90-minute television production of its signature show, premieres on TV. And, by year’s end, 6 million people or more will have attended a Cirque show worldwide.

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