FOR DANIEL LAMARRE, going to work means going to the circus. As CEO of the Montreal-based performance group Cirque du Soleil, he heads a cult company that has redefined the circus arts and taken live entertainment to spectacular new heights in 450 cities around the world.
Since it was founded in 1984 by two street performers the Cirque has become, in many respects, “The Greatest Show on Earth” – a title once reserved for a circus of a more traditional kind. The travelling Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus closed two months ago after a 146-year run and now, whenever Big Top springs up, you can be sure Cirque du Soleil is in town.
There are no animal acts in a Cirque show, only themed, theatre-style acts featuring multi-talented performers such as acrobats and gymnasts, mimes and musicians. Last year, this circus for the new millennium drew over 10 million people, with 10 permanent and nine touring shows. In a recent New York Times interview, filmmaker Judd Apatow said Cirque shows were “scary and funny and beautiful and experimental” – as good a way as any to describe a live entertainment experience that often defies belief and always evokes wonder.
Mr Lamarre, 64, has been with the company since 2001, working with owner-founder Guy Laliberte to grow the brand and ride out tough financial times…
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