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News, City Council, Theater, Santa Monica, Pier

Cirque Du Soleil To Bring “Totem” To Santa Monica Pier In 2014

Posted Apr. 26, 2013, 9:11 am

Parimal M. Rohit / Staff Writer

“Totem” will be the new Cirque du Soleil production that will call the parking lot just north of the pier home in 2014, as Santa Monica City Council members unanimously approved City Manager Rod Gould to finalize a contract to bring the acrobatic performances back to Santa Monica.

The show will kick off January 17, 2014 and run through March 16, 2014.

Cirque du Soleil will arrive two weeks earlier to set up its recognizable tent and remain in town through March 29, 2014.

As has been the case for years, Cirque du Soleil will set up shop at the 1550 PCH Parking Lot.

 According to City Hall, the proposed rental fee for Cirque du Soleil’s three-month occupation of the 1550 lot is $1,088,808. That amount benefits the City’s “Beach Fund.”

Additional anticipated economic benefits to the City include patron parking revenues at the Civic Center parking structure, purchase of local supplies and services by Cirque du Soleil for its operation, and collateral spending by visitors in local restaurants and businesses, according to City staff.

Cirque du Soleil, which was one of two productions companies seeking to host a show at the pier in 2014, had previously staged productions at the 1550 lot in 2009 and 2012.

Cavalia was the other potential production company considered to host a show at the pier but was not selected because it needed more time to set up and tear down.

City staff added Cavalia’s proposal “included a larger footprint” than Cirque du Soleil and “provided a much lower financial offer.”

According to Cirque du Soleil’s proposal to the City, “Totem” will be “a visual and acrobatic exploration of the evolutionary progress of the human species” and would run Jan. 17 to March 16, 2014 “with one show per day on Tuesdays through Fridays, two shows on Saturdays, and Sundays, with an option to add six additional Thursday or Friday shows at the discretion of the Cirque.”

The proposal also includes a free pier shuttle for weekend performances, increased cross promotions to benefit the pier and its tenants, educational outreach support for the Police Athletic League, a recycling program, and payment for “all City costs and services associated with the event” such as police and fire services, parking staff, utility charges, maintenance services, and the like.

“All direct City staff time and expenses will be reimbursed by (Cirque du Soleil) to achieve full cost recovery by the City,” City staff stated.

With the formalization of the license agreement between Cirque du Soleil and City Hall, the production house would next approach the California Coastal Commission to seek approval for the event.

City staff estimated, based upon the 2012 production, parking revenues will increase by as much as $60,000 because of the event.

Also according to City staff, a $200,000 increase in sales and transient taxes is anticipated as a result of “Totem,” an amount based upon a 2009 economic impact study.

In 2012, Cirque du Soleil presented “Ovo,” an insect-themed production, at the pier.

The Quebec-based dance troupe first pitched its tent in Santa Monica in 1987. This year’s run will be one-week shorter than the 2012 production, according to City staff.

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