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In an announcement made on January 16th, Cirque du Soleil said it was slashing a number of positions, mostly at its Montreal headquarters, citing tough economic times and out of control expenses. "The Cirque is going through a difficult period but not a difficult financial period," spokeswoman Renée-Claude Ménard said at the company's Montreal headquarters. "We are now in the process of reviewing within the company worldwide, all of our expenses, to ensure we decrease them significantly. We've identified 400 positions [to be cut], the majority are in the Montreal operations, but we don't have a definite number yet," she said. (About 50 positions were abolished before the holidays; 30 in Montreal alone). Cirque employs about 5,000 people world-wide; the cuts represent 9 percent of the company's total workforce. Despite the restructuring, Laliberté has no intention of selling the company she said.

"The first thing to say is that the Circus is not in crisis," Menard told the news conference. "Let's get that straight. We had a record year in terms of tickets sold. We sold more than 14 million tickets this year. We had a record year for total revenue, with more than $1-billion." Despite that, the Cirque didn't make money, Menard said. Most of the Cirque's revenue comes from outside the Country – and Ménard said for every cent the Canadian dollar increases, it costs the company $3 million is lost revenue. The first sign things were changing, Ménard admitted, was back in 2008. The company started to see expenses increase sharply, and as the Canadian dollar inched higher, revenues decreased. "Basically, we're very lucky that within a very difficult financial and economic situation worldwide – that we're still pulling the rabbit out of the hat," she said. It's a problem, she admits, the company has avoided facing for several years, but it now has no choice. "And now, at 29-years-old, Cirque has to be mature and look at it [as] a mature company." In addition to the layoffs, Cirque said it would be closing four shows to trim expenses. "We would have been much happier to tell you those shows weren't closing," Ms. Ménard said. "But it's not a revenue issue, it's an expense issue."


The Cirque family would also face hardships outside of its financial struggles, when a tragedy took 31-year-old artist Sarah Guyard-Guillot's life unexpectedly during a live performance of . "Our company is deeply saddened by the loss of one of the talented 'Ka' artists," Cirque's announcement read. "The thoughts and prayers of our employees are with the performer's family, the cast of 'Ka' and the entire Cirque family during this difficult time." Cirque du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte added: "I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of 'Ka' since 2006 and has been an integral part of our Cirque du Soleil tight family. We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as a family." Though the death was ruled an accident, OSHA did fine Cirque du Soleil as artists "were not protected or prevented from striking the overhead forest grid as they used wire rope, controllers, and winches to ascend from the Sand Cliff Deck to the Forest Grid Catwalk." Guillot-Guyard reportedly hit that apparatus on ascent, causing her wire rope to be jarred out of its pully and severed by the edge of that pully, leading to her 94-foot fall. Her death – and other artist injuries around the same time – would shake Cirque's confidence in its safety procedures. KÀ would go dark for several weeks. Although Guyard-Guillot's death was the first such reported from an accident onstage in the company's 30-year history, there were a number of bright spots for Cirque to celebrate as well.


Following in the successful footsteps of Michael Jackson THE IMMORTAL World Tour, and after much anticipation throughout the entertainment community, the Michael Jackson estate and Cirque unveiled Michael Jackson ONE, directed by Jamie King, to be presented exclusively at Mandalay Bay. Michael Jackson ONE would join a newly transplanted ZARKANA at Aria as Cirque's newest shows in Las Vegas. ONE NIGHT FOR ONE DROP would also make its debut. For one extraordinary night, and in an unprecedented manner, seven Cirque du Soleil Las Vegas resident productions became one for ONE DROP, the non-profit organization established by Guy Laliberté for the conservation of water. The evening featured more than 230 artists (and other guest performers) in an once-in-a-lifetime performance on World Water Day, Friday, March 22, 2013, at the "O" Theatre at Bellagio Resort & Casino.

And to kick-off the World Slackline Federation's World Cup Finals, Cirque partnered with Gibbon Slacklines to perform a daredevil stunt on lines stretched between Mandalay Bay's two towers. Andy Lewis attempted to set the world record for walking the longest urban highline: 360 feet across and 480 feet in the air. While Lewis traversed his line, three of the world's best professional slackliners - Hayden Nickell, Josh Beaudoin, and Mickey Wilson - performed their own stunts and tricks on individual slacklines rigged at the same height.

Cirque was active outside of Las Vegas too: SCALADA, a unique and free outdoor event, was developed by Cirque for the Principality of Andorra; its acrobats helped introduce the Infinity Q50 in one of the more creative car reveals during the North American International Auto Show; held Quebec City enthralled one last time for the final chapter of LES CHEMINS INVISIBLES, and inked a deal with Mall of Qatar to create about twenty-five 30-40 minute performances staged as vignettes throughout the day throughout the mall.

Unfortunately, while we did have to say goodbye to Alegria by year's end (December 29th), we did get to congratulate La Nouba on its 7,000th performance (September 12th) and Amaluna on it's 500th show (September 29th). And watch as Cirque comes to Video on Demand through Gravitas Ventures, and KA became a comic book, how cool!


On May 17, 2013, two of the world's most iconic entertainment brands - Cirque du Soleil and Macy's - joined forces to bring awe-inspiring entertainment to audiences in one of the most unique ways. "We are delighted to partner with Macy's for these spectacular events across the United States and to bring the imagination of Cirque du Soleil to Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade," said Mario D'Amico, chief marketing officer of Cirque du Soleil. The magic began with special performances of select acts from the Cirque during the Macy's Passport presents Glamorama events. Taking place at theatres in Minneapolis (Aug 2nd), Chicago (Aug 9th), Los Angeles (Sep 12th) and San Francisco (Sep 19th), Macy's iconic high-fashion and entertainment extravaganza showcases the latest fashion from the hottest designers, show-stopping dance, visuals and staging, as well as incredible musical and other performances. The partnership continued later with the debut of a new Cirque du Soleil float and performance in the 87th annual Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade. A wonder to behold, DREAMSEEKER combined the whimsical Macy's parade magic with the extraordinary artistry of Cirque du Soleil.

At more than 52-feet long, 23-feet wide and 35-feet high, the ship is the one of the longest, tallest and widest floats in the Parade. Cirque du Soleil collaborated closely with the Macy's team on the design of the float, constructed by the artists of Macy's Parade Studio. The giant ship seemed to take flight thanks in part to hulking antique wings, and came complete with custom-designed trampolines and Chinese poles. As it glided through the streets, spectators got a glimpse of an entire crew instantaneously springing into action, leaping at the opportunity to touch people's hearts and to reignite their dreams. Fans along the route and in homes across the nation were in for an incredible spectacle as the troupe of more than 20 acrobats and characters perform unbelievable feats of fantasy.

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