Approximately 90 million people have experienced Cirque du Soleil around the globe. The show originated in 1984 when Canadian street performers began touring as a troupe. Although the word "circus" was often linked to their production, this wasn't your typical Barnum and Bailey fare. With its theatrical bent and focus on the wildly creative, it was dubbed "noveau cirque" and shows like Saltimbanco opened in cities on every continent.
Typically, Cirque du Soleil productions travel the world carrying all of their staging with them. Their trailers pull into a city and like magic, tents are up and people are flocking to the show.
In Las Vegas, Nevada Cirque du Soleil has become somewhat of a phenomenon. Rather than pitching tents and travelling from venue to venue, Vegas creates custom venues to accommodate each show. There are currently an impressive seven Cirque shows housed in Vegas hotels and casinos, the largest collection of Cirque du Soleil troupes in any one city.
Although each Cirque show is unique, most follow a formula in that the performance originates from a story line. Wildly nimble stunt people play out roles just as actors might in a movie. The difference here is, performers may bend in half or fly over the audience without the help of CGI.
Each Cirque du Soleil show has a theme and a look all its own. Some critics say that if you've seen one Cirque show, you've seen them all. That opinion might come from the viewer's inability to understand the underlying story of the individual shows.
The number of people who view Cirque shows are no doubt limited by the high cost of tickets. But what many people don't know is that if you are spontaneous you can get show tickets at half the normal price. You have to be willing to see the show on the same day you buy tickets. Companies like Tix 4 Tonight and others, have booths situated all over Vegas. The booth in the Tuscany Casino on Flamingo, one block east of the strip, offers half-off box office prices in addition to as much as 50% off dinners. Google "Tix 4 Tonight" to see other locations. Tix 4 Tonight can get you into a long list of shows including the Cirque du Soleils.
Here is a list of the Cirque shows currently in Las Vegas, a short description, and where they are located.
Treasure Island - Costume designers must have been on drugs when they created costumes for Mystere. How else could the mere mortal mind conceive of such colorful and extravagantly entertaining costumes? Mystere focuses heavily on amazing acrobatics and athleticism. This is pure Cirque as it was originally intended.
The Bellagio – Like the French word "eau", this show is all about water. One minute the pool is bottomless, the next only inches deep as a gasping audience watches a diver leap from the "big top" into the puddle below. Jaw dropping illusions
New York-New York – Very lavish costumes for a show so short on fabric. Explores sensuality in a cabaret-style production.
MGM Grand – May have one of the strongest stories in the Cirque collection. Jackie Chan to the nth degree through martial arts, and gravity-defying stunts.
The Mirage – With original Beatle music as the backdrop, the evolution of the fab four is explored in a musical timeline. Photos of the group fill the venue on soft canvasses that magically disappear. Generous with whimsy and stunning visuals.
Criss Angel Believe
The Luxor – A journey through the imagination of magic-maker Chris Angel known for his Mindfreak act.
Aria – A tribute to the life and music of Elvis. If you're an Elvis fan, you'll enjoy it, although some songs are sung by stage performers instead of Elvis. If you care strictly for the Cirque aspects, this show bears the weakest Cirque Du Soleil imprint.
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