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Cirque du Soleil performer injured in new act during Strip show | Las Vegas Review-Journal
Cirque du Soleil performer injured in new act during Strip show | Las Vegas Review-Journal

Performers with Cirque du Soleil rehearse a scene during a sneak preview of the “One Night for One Drop” event at the “O” Theatre in February 2019 at Bellagio. (Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cast members of “O” pose for photos at the entrance of the show’s theater at Bellagio in July 2021 in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)
Cast members of “O” and Cirque du Soleil CEO Daniel Lamarre, center, pose for photos at Bellagio in July 2021 in Las Vegas. (Ellen Schmidt/Las Vegas Review-Journal)

An artist in Cirque du Soleil’s “O” at Bellagio was injured and taken from the stage on a stretcher during Wednesday’s 9:30 p.m. performance.

Cirque spokeswoman Ann Paladie confirmed Thursday morning that an artist had been injured in the show, and would be issuing a statement “shortly.”

According to sources on the scene, the artist, who is not yet identified, was involved in an accident during an act that just debuted Wednesday. The night’s second performance was the second time the number had been attempted in the show.

After the incident, the performance was reportedly halted, the curtains drawn, and the artist strapped to a stretcher and taken from the theater. Witnesses said the performer was in convulsions in the moments after the accident.

The performance resumed after the performer was taken from the stage, with an announcement to the audience that the performer was OK.

In the routine, a performers stand on top of one another’s shoulders to form two three-person pyramids (two males at the bottom, a female at the top). They fall into the water, facing the audience.

A pair of two-man acts then then appear at the back of the stage, facing the audience from, and also jump into the water and onto a lift that rises from the stage. The artists reportedly jumped after the lift began to rise, with one suffering scrapes on his chest and abdomen, and the other seeming to strike his head. The show was then immediately halted.

OSHA spokeswoman Teri Williams said Thursday morning she was not aware of any reports of an incident from Wednesday’s show, but is looking into the matter. Employers are required by law to report any on-the-job fatalities to the federal government labor-safety agency within eight hours; and injury resulting in hospitalization, eye loss or amputation within 24 hours.

The incident occurred 10 years almost to the night after Cirque suffered its only fatality in a Strip production. On June 29, 2013, “Ka” performer and French acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot fell some 95 feet from the show’s rotating stage into the pit after the cable connected to her harness snapped.

In 2020, just before the pandemic shutdown, OSHA investigated two accidents in Cirque shows.

In January of that year, an artist in “O” fell 15 feet from the show’s Russian swing apparatus and suffered multiple fractures to his back and ribs and damage to his kidney and lungs and required hospitalization. The following February, an artist in “Love” fell some 20 feet to the stage during the show’s closing number and suffered injuries to his arm and back, along with internal injuries. He was treated on site, hospitalized and returned to the show

“O” is Cirque’s flagship production and top-selling show, performing two times a night, seven nights a week. The show celebrates its 25th anniversary in October, in a string of landmarks for the Strip’s predominant production company. “Michael Jackson One” celebrates its 10th anniversary Thursday. “Mystere” marks its 30th anniversary this Christmas Day.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

John Katsilometes’ column runs daily in the A section. His “PodKats!” podcast can be found at reviewjournal.com/podcasts. Contact him at jkatsilometes@reviewjournal.com. Follow @johnnykats on Twitter, @JohnnyKats1 on Instagram.

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