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Producer's pride as circus rolls into his home town

It's 1996, David King, Leeds-raised entrepreneur is standing at the back of the Hippdrome Theatre in Bristol, sweating.

He's given up his day job, mortgaged the house, the car, the family silver.

The show he's about to watch, the show he has produced, has to be a success – or he's seriously in trouble.

Spirit of the Dance, similar to Riverdance, but different in that the style of dance on stage is taken from around the world, is a hit.

Thirteen years on, the show is still running around the world. David King has two theatres in America where he stages his shows permanently, he has residences in Las Vegas and has 12 shows that tour the world.

His newest show, Le Grand Cirque, is in Leeds at the Grand Theatre next week.

"The show originally premiered at the Palace Theatre, South Carolina in 2004. But the story actually starts in 2000 when we began our journey around the globe in an extensive hunt for specialist circus talent,"says David.

"I visited training schools in Asia, Africa, Russia and Europe asking only the best to audition and join the company.

"I also attended the Monte Carlo Circus awards, where the crme de la crme of the circus world come together to compete; in fact, many of the cast are award winners and even Olympic champions.

"The production follows the adventures of a clown that has happened upon a strange land. He experiences unusual goings on and meets extraordinary characters along the way, not to mention some death-defying stunts and astonishing feats, the stuff that dreams are made of."

All the performers involved are multi-talented and world class.

"The performers cannot be simply classified as acrobats, dancers or jugglers. They are first and foremost artists performing visual poetry of unbelievable physical talent, excellent skill and first-class choreography. They are all world class and there is no other troupe on the planet to compete with the skills and talent of Le Grand Cirque."

The show is highly technical and a dedicated crew travels with the show wherever it goes to ensure safety and the very best visual effects.

"All of the crew we tour with are very important to the quality of the show and the safety of the performers," said David.

"We have lighting operators, sound operators, stage management, riggers, winch operators; carpenters are just a few of the members we tour with.

"I enjoy coming up with new and exciting ideas, and then challenging the production team to pull them off! This year we have 16 people balancing on one bike, the clown climbing in a giant balloon, kites flying high in the auditorium – with absolutely no wind and a performer balancing on top of a ladder with two others on his shoulders."

David certainly doesn't rest on his laurels. He ensures he sees the show settle in to every location to ensure the audience get the best possible experience.

"I will oversee each new production of the show and travel to the opening venue. Quality is of the upmost importance and I like to know that the show is the best it can possibly be.

"There are many people who have joined me on this fantastic adventure.

"All of them have contributed to the production. From the set and costume designers, to the acrobatic choreographers and riggers. Probably more than 100 people have been involved in making the original show.

"We tour with over 70 people a week. The cast, the crew, riggers, costume supervisors, personal trainers, catering, translators, carpenters, health and safety officers, and many more.

"It's the most amazing feeling to watch the audience's reaction. I love to see the response of the crowd, the gasps as the cast fly above the audience's head, cheers when the clown squeezes into a giant balloon, and the standing ovation that lasts for the entire finale every night."

 
 
 

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