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Cirque Set To Expand Over Russia

“Corteo” uses the tale of a dying clown to show off acrobatic midair stunts. Denis Sinyakov

Canadian circus company Cirque du Soleil wants to expand its business in circus-loving Russia and create a permanent presence by 2015, its president said.

“They [Russians] do not even see us as foreign as they have so much influence on our circus,” president and chief operating officer Daniel Lamarre said ahead of Cirque du Soleil’s “Corteo” premiere in Moscow on Saturday.

Lamarre said his confidence in the Russian market stems from Russia’s “extremely strong roots in circus.”

He wants the Montreal-based company to visit 10 Russian cities annually by 2015, up from the three it is currently touring.

Having first come to the Russian capital in 2009, the fast-moving show is this year in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Kazan.

“Corteo” had input throughout from Russian directors, Lamarre said.

The new show, which premiered on Saturday in Moscow, is based in a “Grand Chapiteau,” or Big Top, a huge site that takes seven days to set up and that is completely self-sufficient for electrical power.

Cirque du Soleil, which was founded in 1984, has said it would invest $30 million to $50 million in creating a permanent show in Russia.

“We want Russia to become a country on a par with what we have in the United States and Japan,” he said, adding that it will take five years before establishing this sort of presence.

Twenty percent of the company’s 1,000 artists are from Russia, Lamarre said, which is the same amount as Chinese.

“Russians are the best performers on the planet. Any time we have a Russian, we take them,” he added.

Earlier this year, Cirque du Soleil announced plans for a series of shows based on the music and songs of Michael Jackson in 2011 in Las Vegas, following the success of its “Viva Elvis” show there.

(Reuters, MT)

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