Countdown Shanghai: Canada calls on Cirque du Soleil to add a little Expo magic

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The Independent Online

Canada wanted something a little different for its pavilion at World Expo 2010. And when it comes to being a little bit different, the people behind the nation's famous Cirque du Soleil set a pretty high standard.

That's why when the curtain comes up on the May 1 to October 31 Expo, the Canadian Pavilion ( will be high on art - and high on action.

Around C$58.5 million (€40 million) has been spent on the site, which has been designed and is being managed by Cirque du Soleil.

They have hired more than 150 artists to perform in and around the site for the duration of the event too, and have themed the whole thing "The Living City: Inclusive, Sustainable, Creative.''

The chosen performers were selected from around 1,500 applications received through an open audition that was watched over by Cirque staff, the Canada Council for the Arts and various provincial arts organizations.

"This program is an opportunity to demonstrate the diversity of Canadian artistic forms in a whole new way,'' Cirque executive producer Jacques Méthé told Canadian media this week.

Canada is lining up the likes of the band Bedouin Soundclash to perform alongside Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

Meanwhile, filmmakers Cordell Barker and Denis Villeneuve and photographer and video artist Scott Connaroe have been commissioned to produce pieces that will screen and go on display inside the pavilion.

In total, there will be 45 short films screened, representing Canada's rising generation of filmmakers and those already established.

And of course the performers from Cirque itself will be front and center. The circus is programming five central "celebration performances,'' for audiences of more than 3,000 people.

The Canadians are expecting more than five million visitors to cruise through their pavilion - at an average of about 30,000 per day.

The Expo itself is hoping to draw around 70 million visitors in total and has signed on pavilions representing more than 200 nations and organizations.