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Permanent LinkJun 8, 2009 
MONTREAL (AFP) — Canadian acrobatic troupe Cirque du Soleil, created in 1984 and now performing in all corners of the world, is celebrating its silver anniversary with the launch of its 25th show "Ovo," about insects.

The circus company, with 19 traveling and permanent shows now playing, sold 11 million tickets worldwide last year and has brought wonder and delight to almost 90 million spectators in over 200 cities on five continents since 1984.

What started as a ragtag group of 20 street performers has blossomed into a global entertainment empire with an estimated net worth of three billion dollars and 4,000 employees in 40 countries.

Founded by former fire-eater Guy Laliberte, whose idea to transform circus acrobatics into sensational, plot-driven theatre has revolutionized this sector of the entertainment industry, it has however always remained true to its root

The performers originate from no less than 13 countries -- a nod to Cirque du Soleil's tireless worldwide search for talent.

Chinese, Russian, American, Canadian or Belgian -- 40 nationalities in all are represented among the Montreal-based company's total 1,000 artists.

From Auckland to Zurich, Cirque du Soleil has traveled the world over, setting up its big tops in vacant city lots for weeks at a time, as well as permanent installations in Las Vegas, Florida's Walt Disney World, and next year in Dubai.

In the same way the biggest clothing labels have set up shops in the greatest cities to market their wares, Cirque du Soleil has set up permanent shows in most major entertainment hotspots.

This strategy is what helped make Cirque's Laliberte a billionaire, according to Laurent Lapierre, a professor at Montreal's HEC business school.

"Every three or four days, new tourists arrive in these places, and potential audiences constantly change," he explained.

Its next challenge is Europe, where Cirque du Soleil has yet to establish a permanent show.

"You need a partner to develop a permanent show and market conditions in Europe are very different," said Mario D'Amico, Cirque vice president of marketing.

2009 AFP


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Bwana Busker

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