Cirque du Soleil KÀ

Cirque du Soleil KA

Ka is a show at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas with an emphasis on aerial acrobatics like no other show I know of. $225 million dollars was spent developing a custom built theater with seems to have no floor but only cat walks and aerial platforms.

The New York Times Travel section says:

The story is by turns funny, tragic, and whimsical. There are at least two moments that are nothing but simple stagecraft and yet are exquisite, among the most memorable of any current Vegas show. The theater is cavernous, but extensive catwalks and other staging tricks mean that those in the back won’t feel far from the action. It might be too long and intense for younger children, but older ones will be enthralled — and so will you.

This TechCrunch article describes the marvelous technical achievement.

Wikipedia says:

Due to the speed in which artists fall from the decks, an array of airbags had to be used en lieu of traditional nets alone. These airbags sit atop two nets, which at times are 70 feet (21 m) below the point the artist begins the fall. The airbags contain individual cells which can inflate and deflate independently. In case a power outage occurs, each airbag has its own uninterruptible power supply which can last up to 30 minutes.

This video briefly describes some of the incredible moving platforms in the theater.

Patty Wagstaff

Patty Wagstaff in an Extra 300 airplane
Patty Wagstaff is an aerobatic pilot from the United States. In 1985, Wagstaff qualified for the US Aerobatic Team and competed until 1996. She was the top U.S. medal winner, winning gold, silver and bronze medals in international competition for several years. [Note: The article does not say she was the top female medal winner. It says she was the top U.S. medal winner.] In 1987, she earned the Rolly Cole memorial award for her contributions to the aerobatic sports, and in 1991, she won her first of three US National Aerobatic Championships. In 1991, Western Flyer’s Magazine readers chose her as their favorite pilot. She was the International aerobatic champion in 1993. In 1994, her Goodrich-sponsored Extra 260 airplane was put on display next to Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Vega at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Air and Space Museum. – Wikipedia

Cirque Du Soleil Midnight Sun

I just watched Midnight Sun on DVD. Here is some of what I saw:

An acrobat hanging by his hands from a bar suspending high above the stage. • A man performing with a German Wheel. • A woman performing in a transparent plastic box just barely big enough to turn around in. • Acrobats who flung themselves at a transparent plastic wall. • Tai chi performers. • An opera singer. • Chinese Dragon dancers. • Capoeira performers. • A tree made of balloons that seemed to be lit from within. • African singers and choir. • An accordian player and bagpipers. • Some sort of stringed instrument with about 20 strings that were plucked like a guitar. • Singer/cellist. • Stilt walkers. • Aerial silk performer. • A Wheel of Death performer wearing a suit and tie. • A man and woman strength acrobatic performance. • Fire stick dancers. Fire poi. Fire whips. Fire eating. Fire juggling. • A man who wrote notes on large pieces of paper. He tied the notes to balloons and released them over the heads of the crowd. • A performer on a huge see-saw that was balanced so she seemed weightless. She was strapped in at the waist and her end of the mechanism was fee to rotate along two axes while the whole see saw rotated and tilted. It was not motorized, but was propelled by the efforts of the woman and her fellow performers. • A man who put on many, many layers of clothes so when he was done he looked about three times as big as when he started.