Sat, Jan 17, 2009 - Page 16 News List

Taiwan, we’ll be back: Cirque du Soleil

By David Chen  /  STAFF REPORTER

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Cirque du Soleil’s 56-show run of Alegria in Taipei sold out months before the premiere, which was a pleasant surprise for the internationally renowned circus.

“It actually doesn’t happen in many places in the world,” said Milan Rokic, Cirque’s Vice President of Marketing Asia-Pacific, in an interview with the Taipei Times. “We were very surprised and thrilled with the response. I think there must have been a pent-up demand or expectation for Cirque du Soleil’s arrival.”

Those who missed out on tickets to see Canada’s most famous theatrical export will have more chances to come.

Rokic said that Cirque plans to bring a different show to Taiwan within two years. “Our global tour plan will now include Taiwan, so it will become part of an Asia touring schedule,” he said. The group currently has six shows touring globally.

Cirque has grown quickly, having started as a “ragtag” group of Montreal street performers in 1984. It now has over 4,000 employees in 40 different countries, with 19 productions being performed simultaneously around the world.

While the group now enjoys worldwide recognition, it has had to make a few adjustments for the Chinese-speaking market, said Rokic.

“We’ve had to look at the name of our show in Chinese,” he said. “We were known in Hong Kong and mainland China after a while as Taiyang Maxi Tuan (太陽馬戲團). ‘Maxi’ (馬戲) was the traditional translation for circus but was more linked to an animal circus. So we renamed ourselves as ‘Taiyang Jutuan’ (太陽劇團), to get closer connected to international performing arts.”

Part of Cirque’s appeal is that it is not a “traditional circus,” said Rokic, who noted the Chinese name was meant to reflect a “more theatrical” aspect.

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