On my last trip to Las Vegas I was fortunate enough to score a couple of tickets to see the ‘sensual side of Cirque du Soleil’, Zumanity at New York, New York. Now, I’ve been to several Cirque shows before, but I’m by no means an aficionado and to be honest, I’m not the Cirque’s biggest fan. Don’t get me wrong, I can’t help but be impressed by the incredible feats of the performers, and I will freely admit to being transfixed at times by the visually arresting nature of the performances. But I’m not one of those Cirque fans that goes to a show every time I’m in Las Vegas, nor do I go back and see the same show several times over. It’s just not my sweet spot, that’s all.
Until now, that is. Perhaps it was the fact that Zumanity is formatted more like an actual circus, with a ringleader (in drag!) introducing amazing acts, as opposed to other shows like Le Reve, that attempt to weave a theatrical (and somewhat obscure) story into their performances. Maybe it was because this show was more interactive than others I’ve attended – willing participants from the audience were placed in some pretty compromising, if somewhat enviable, positions on stage that served to break whatever sexual tension had built up in the audience during the show. Then again, it could have been that this was the first Cirque show I have seen that didn’t seem to take itself too seriously. The ringleader was mostly responsible for that, with her (his?) self-deprecating humor and open sexual dialogue with the audience. Whatever the reason, Zumanity seemed to strike just the right balance between the traditional strength of Cirque du Soleil, the performers and performances, and the sin that has made Sin City the destination that has served as the singular foundation for Cirque du Soleil’s explosive growth in the US.
The acts were fabulous. Julia, the hula hoop aerialist, had me from the first twirl. Her amazing skills, combined with her strong but beautiful body, barely covered by a school-girl outfit, were enough to make me blush (like a schoolgirl). My wife’s favorite act was ‘love birds’, with an aerial male/female couple that moved so gracefully it almost brought her to tears. And while there was some nudity in the show, that’s not what it was all about. If you really want to see nudity, hit up one of the revues. This was a different vibe for sure.
I’d like to give a nod specifically to the performers in this show, because I felt like they were featured more prominently in Zumanity than other Cirque shows I’ve seen. I’m a fan of college and professional sports, and I couldn’t help thinking that these people are professional athletes. Skilled, trained and well-rehearsed, their movements reminded me of athletes, where seemingly impossible feats are accomplished with apparent ease as muscle-memory accounts for incredibly precise and dangerous movements without error.
This is a great show to attend with your partner, and it appeals equally to men and women. I could go on and on about all the acts, but instead, I’ll just tell you to grab someone you really, really like, and go see the show.