Cirque de Soleil comes to town

I can exclusively reveal that one of the world’s most successful and extravagant stage shows, Cirque de Soleil, is coming to the Middle East. Plans will be unveiled this Tuesday at the Fairmont Hotel, for a regional tour likely to start later this year.

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By  Ben Dawson Published  September 10, 2006

|~||~||~|I can exclusively reveal that one of the world’s most successful and extravagant stage shows, Cirque de Soleil, is coming to the Middle East. Plans will be unveiled this Tuesday at the Fairmont Hotel, for a regional tour likely to start later this year. Cirque de Soleil was founded by Canadian dancer Guy Laliberte, who teamed up with 20 fellow street performers – initially performing on the streets on Canada. That was 21 years ago, and today Cirque de Soleil is an incredible success story. The company’s ticket sales top seven million a year – that’s 135,000 a week, and annual revenues are close to the US$600 million mark. Amazingly, in Interbrand’s 2004 poll of the brands with the biggest global impact, Cirque de Soleil registered at No.22. My sources suggest that the tour will begin in Dubai, before moving on to Doha, Bahrain, Muscat and Beirut. Sounds good to me… What du you mean? I wonder what is happening at du, the UAE’s second telecoms provider (or soon to be). As I have reported many times, the launch has been repeatedly delayed, with rumours now circling that du may not be up and running until late next year. There certainly seems to be some uncertainty internally at du. On 30 August I received an invitation from du CEO Osman Sultan to attend a “meet the press” brunch gathering at the Royal Mirage Hotel. Then, shortly before it was due to kick off, I received an email saying the whole event had been canned, with no reason given. So I emailed the crew at du, using the email of the website we-mean-business@du.ae. And guess what? It bounced back! Clean cut To the Mall of the Emirates on Tuesday night for the launch party to celebrate the arrival of Swedish fashion giant H&M in the Gulf. As you will have seen from our cover story this week, my colleague Andrew White had a lengthy and fascinating chat with H&M boss Stefan Persson, one of the world’s richest men. H&M boasts more than 1200 stores in more than 22 countries. With pop superstar fronting the company’s advertising campaign, I have every confidence that the retailer’s cut price clothing will go down a storm in this region. Which is just as well. The launch party saw over 2000 guests invited to sample the first store in Mall of the Emirates, each guest being offered a 20% discount on clothing. Mixed with loud music and fruit cocktails being served, things got a little crazy. So much so, I hear that by the end of the night, over US$5000 worth of H&H clothing had to be binned, after having various juices spilt over them. Game on I hear that at long last, English Premiership club Arsenal is planning a Dubai visit. Arsenal’s new stadium is of course branded “Emirates Stadium” and the team is sponsored by Emirates Airline. Talks are underway to schedule a two day winter training session for the team, most probably in March next year – depending how Arsenal are performing. Being a huge fan of the team, I can’t wait…||**||

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