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Our guest on 07.12.2008

André Sarrasani, Circus Director and Illusionist

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André Sarrasani is the director of one of Germany's biggest and most popular circuses. He took on his difficult task back in the year 2000, and at 28 he was the country's youngest circus manager.

André Sarrasani is an internationally acclaimed illusionist and sees himself as a modern entertainer, hoping to inject some new ideas and show creations into the struggling circus business.

André Sarrasani was born in Heidelberg in 1972 when the circus happened to be there on its travels, but he has much closer ties to his chosen city Dresden, in the east, where the century-old Sarrasani circus dynasty has its roots. The circus is based in the city during the winter.

Founded by Hans Stosch-Sarrasani, it was once the biggest in Europe and in 1907 boasted some 600 circus animals, and the stylish Sarrasani circus building - the world's largest - could house audiences of well over 5,000. It was totally destroyed in allied bombing during the war, and was never rebuilt.

André Sarrasani has been travelling with the circus since his childhood, first performing when he was five. He was educated in circus school before entering boarding school. Afterwards, he did his practical circus training, doing lots of menial jobs, such as feeding the animals. When his father turned 60, André performed magical tricks for him. He enjoyed it so much that he went to Las Vegas to learn more about the illusionists' trade, He became the circus director - the youngest in Germany - at the tender age of 28, saying it was a necessary and sensible step because many traditional circus families had lost touch with modern reality. His recipe is a mixture of the conventional and the innovative, and adapting to changing audience tastes, Importantly, he sees himself as a modern-day circus entertainer, also relying on the charisma and the fame of his circus ensemble.

A lot to talk about with "Talking Germany" host Peter Craven.

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