CIRQUE BELIEVES IN ASIA
Having conquered North America, Europe, and Australia, Cirque du Soleil
looks to expand its presence throughout Asia in a huge way. First, through
the launch of two new resident shows – the first shows of their kind outside
the United States of America: ZAIA,
a production for The Venetian Hotel & Casino on the Cotai Strip in Macao, China;
and ZED, a production for the Tokyo
Disney Resort in Tokyo, Japan.
"The Chinese in Shenyang, they have a show where they put up 250 artists," says
Ste-Croix. "They do pretty much everything you can do with acrobatics -- balancing
on your thumb and standing on your teeth -- how can you beat that? So we chose
to be more romantic, more lyric and to have moments of poetry that theatre can
give. This we are good at and the Chinese haven't mastered that yet."
Cirque du Soleil says they are also interested in magic shows, live comedy,
and even Ice Capade-type shows, even if its fans are not. The company rarely does
market surveys to determine what people want to see. "If we did that, we would be
following trends, which is precisely what we do not want to do," says Chantal Côté,
the company’s senior publicist. "We'll do minor adjustments according the public’s
reaction, but we’ll never make drastic changes. Somehow, we’ve always managed to
stay ahead of people’s expectations."
In order to further finance the company’s goals,
Cirque du Soleil sells a 20% stake in the company to two investment groups out of
Dubai. The agreement allows Cirque to keep control of their creative challenges and
operations while accelerating their growth doing projects all over the world.
Nakheel and Istithmar are part of Dubai World, a diversified holding company owned
by the government of Dubai. The company also unveiled long term plans to establish
its brand in Russia, through the creation of Cirque du Soleil Rus., a Russian LLC
company having the exclusive rights to the Russian territory.
Also launched was Criss Angel – beLIEve"
at the Luxor Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, the first production to involve a celebrity
and star in his own right. DELIRIUM,
which held its last concert in London on April 19th, finds its way into movie theatres
for a big-screen format special.
Cirque du Soleil's tribute to The Beatles garners attention at the 50th Annual
Grammy Awards in Los Angeles, California in February. Twenty-five dancers and acrobats
performed a specifically edited "Day in the Life" segment from
LOVE opposite Carol Woods &
Timmy Mitchum's performance of "Let it Be" from Across the Universe. Cirque
received two nominations for its LOVE album - "Best Compilation Soundtrack Album
for a Motion Picture, Television, or other Visual Medium" and "Best Surround
Sound Album". It won both! The company also makes its way through the EXPO 2008
site in Zargoza, Spain with a day parade called
Awakening the Serpent -
featuring acts by artists from different disciplines: acrobatics, actors,
gymnasts, singers and musicians .
In the corporate world, Cirque helped rebrand the UMW (United Motor Works), a
Malaysian Business in Automotive, Equipment, Manufacturing & Engineering and Oil &
Gas, with a show that included an extensive performance by the performers of Alegria;
performed at the Arabian Travel Market (ATM) conference for Nakheel, where a Green
Bird from La Nouba, and Fleur and an Old Bird from Alegria worked the crowd, but the
main attraction was a hand-to-hand performance; entertained about 5,500 General
Motors Europe stakeholders and representatives from 69 countries that met in
Cologne, Germany with a 40-minute performance using the video infrastructure
installed by GM (a 60-foot by 300-foot screen and projectors - see pictures below);
helped support the Children of Armenia Fund (COAF) through a very special and
private event called
held at Cipriani, a prestigious restaurant on East 42nd Street in NYC; and helped
Infiniti, the official sponsor of Cirque's touring shows in Canada this year,
launch a 30-second spot, which brilliantly showcased the two brands. The advert
featured a specially dyed yellow silk tissu and the driving portion of the
commercial was filmed in the Ville-Marie Tunnel in Montreal.
Cirque du Soleil Special Events would round out the year with by creating a
special show to celebrate Quebec's 400th Anniversary,
which was performed 5 times on three days at the Colisée Pepsi in Québec City; and
performed an hour-long special one-time performance at the "La Notte Bianca"
festival with "Il Sogno di Volare",
a street performance in Lecce, an ancient and annually celebrated event, in Italy.