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Celine gives up glitz for grime

La Louviere (Belgium), Oct. 22 (Reuters): Canadian pop diva Celine Dion has glowed in the glamour of Grammy awards and is preparing to hit the capital of glitz with her own Las Vegas show, but for now its rehearsals in rainy Belgium.

Dion has teamed up with Belgium-based director Franco Dragone, best known for his flamboyant, colourful Cirque du Soleil productions, to create a musical extravaganza called A New Day, in which Dion said she would sing, dance and even fly.

The Quebec-born singer, famous for hits such as My Heart Will Go On from Hollywood blockbuster Titanic, said she was soon drawn back to the entertainment world after shocking fans by calling a two-year break at the height of her career.

“I think it was only one week into my holiday and we were already talking about showbiz,” Dion told a news conference overlooking a grimy railway on one side and a factory puffing out black smoke on the other.

“I’m having the best time of my life right now. It’s really, really amazing,” said Dion, who gave birth to a son Rene-Charles last year.

The Grammy winner will perform 200 New Day shows a year — singing in English and French — as part of a three-year contract reported to be worth $100 million.

Dion said she was so inspired to work with Italian-born Dragone after seeing one of his shows that she agreed to swap glitz and glamour for his base of La Louviere — a town in southwest Belgium known for its declining heavy industry and “Wolves” soccer team — which Dion called a “wonderful place”.

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