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LETTERS

Cirque success

October 12, 2003

In your fine report on Cirque du Soleil's astonishing success ("Cirque City," by Diane Haithman, Sept. 21), Samuel Tetreault gives questionable credit to an imagined European circus scene full of superior innovation. The finest performers may come from abroad, though rarely the greatest shows. Cirque brilliantly extended an artistic approach to circus performance art that was advanced in the old Soviet Union.

Cirque virtually came of age overnight during the 1987 Los Angeles Arts Festival under a small tent in Little Tokyo. After taking in a performance of the show, which was awarded a five-minute standing ovation (trust me, I have it on tape), my enthusiasm was met with resistance the following Monday during the weekly Paul Eagles Circus Luncheon Club at Philippe's. Local fans and performers thought it not "traditional" enough.

Neither was Variety much impressed. Then a freelancer for the Weekly, I filed two rave reviews, reporting on the show's L.A. and Santa Monica dates. Both notices went ignored.

It seemed that Cirque was about to revolutionize the world of the big tops. And what an extraordinary feat: In my lifetime, I have seen the center of creative influence shift from Ringling to Montreal.

David Lewis

Piedmont

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