Cirque du Soleil will be restoring an important battle scene to their Ka show in Las Vegas after over a year and a half of its omission. The portion of the show was removed after an acrobat fell 94 feet to her death.
Starting next week, the company plans to intermittently bring the scene back into regular public performances. By December 12th, they hope to have reinstated it for every show. Alexandria Baum, a spokeswoman for Cirque du Soleil, explained that they have made changes to the equipment and choreography used in the stunt.
Representatives of Cirque du Soleil have invited the press to an exclusive preview of the returning scene. Eyes will be on the ropes during the upcoming December 3rd performance at the MGM Grand Hotel & Casino on the Strip.
The tragedy that caused the scene to be removed was the first onstage death in the 30-year history of Cirque du Soleil. Sarah Guillot-Guyard, an acrobat from Paris, France, was performing on June 29th, 2013 when her equipment failed. During a quick ascent, the wire safety rope she was suspended from came out of a pulley and severed. Guillot-Guyard fell nearly 100 feet to an open pit below the stage.
After her death, Nevada’s Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) informally settled with Cirque du Soleil Nevada and MGM Grand. OSHA issued several citations and proposed penalties, eventually citing Cirque du Soleil on two counts. The company was fined $7,000. MGM Grand was cited on one count, but was not subject to any fines.
The show reopened 17 days later without the battle scene, and another scene eventually took its place. In November 2013, a projected version of the original battle scene was used in lieu of a live one.
Several other Las Vegas Cirque du Soleil accidents followed Guillot-Guyard’s death, one of which took place just a few months later. During a performance of Zarkana at the Aria Resort and Casino, a male performer fell while executing a stunt called the “Wheel of Death.” He was hospitalized, and Cirque du Soleil removed the act from the show.
In August, another accident occurred during a performance of O at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino on the Strip. An acrobat was injured while using the show’s Russian Swing, which is designed to launch the performers into the air and then into water.