“O”, from Cirque Du Soleil at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas is a fluid theatrical gift from the goddesses.
This stirring experience resuscitated my spirit and quenched my imagination’s thirst for divine beauty. It is an aquatic tapestry of surreal romantic theatre inspired by the elegance of water’s pure form. The images, performers, sounds, sets, costumes, lighting, and makeup submerged my senses into an innovative and breathtaking masterpiece that is shown with illusory splendors.
"O" inspires the senses.
At the heart of the production is a large 1.5 million-gallon pool of water center stage that emerges and disappears supplying the cast of characters with a set that is liquid beauty. The fluid choreography provided the necessary link between the elements of fire, earth, air, and water, and pushed for me the creative envelope of what beauty could be!
As I watched the performance unfold before me I gasped in astonishment! I realized that “O” was a true visual. The show is comprised of individual vignettes with solid performances by a team of talented acrobats performing atop a floating raft in the Barge act. The core group is comprised of eight female world-champion sports acrobats. Their act combines innovative gymnastic performances with the traditional circus act of banquine and the balletic adagio. Showcasing these skills in a water environment completes this high-energy act, which also includes synchronized swimmers and Olympic divers.
The momentum of energy built as the stage transformed itself into the performance of Fire. I watched with a deep fascination as the performers incorporated the rage of fire from ancient folklore with the precision of the martial arts. As the water purified the performance the stage merged into one brilliant scintillating visual. Passion controlled by beauty. The act invokes rituals from lands around the world, including Hawaii, Samoa, New Zealand, and Australia.
As passionate as the evening became, there was immense pleasure in watching the beauty in celebration. It cast a spell over the entire theatre during the Aerial Hoops, an act that dizzying aerial choreography with powerful gymnastic routines. Water is incorporated as both an atmospheric and a choreographic element. This traditional circus act is reinvented with the addition of water and its relationship to the sky.
The show continued to astound and fascinate me as a Cadre of performers dressed in zebra stripes displayed how to maintain balance in this stormy staged universe. They were constantly realigning themselves, hanging on until the very end. The entire number took place suspended in mid-air between the sky and the water. I decided that even living on the edge could be beautiful when we are resilient.
In the heart stopping High Dive, four world class high divers leapt from a 60 foot grid level to a small exposed section of the pool. Taking the plunge from this high dive is a scary proposition for anyone. But I was terrified when one of the diver’s pulled from the audience a seemingly innocent spectator, and coerced him into taking the leap! What was the beauty in that? As the spectator took the plunge and expertly executed his dive, I realized that beauty was found in ALL that is possible. The dive team is made up of cliff and exhibition divers.
The beauty in precision was demonstrated with the Trapeze Washington. Unlike the tradition rope-hung trapeze, this was built on a fixed metal frame and swung in a long pendulum motion. Because it’s attached to a revolving carousel, while descending from the grid at four feet per second, it heightened the degree of difficulty in this act. This segment fused slack wire and tightrope elements with the high technology of the “O” Theatre. This precision of the symmetry was beautiful.
The human body can be a wondrous expression of beauty and when Mongolian girls who have been performing together from the age of eight took the stage in Contortion with their graceful body language and lithe movements expressed beauty in perfection of the female form. With the added dimension of water surrounding them, these aerial goddesses understood how to visually please an audience.
In the Duo Trapeze two aerialists performed their dance in the air, sharing a single trapeze designed to coexist with the water and machinery of the "O" Theatre. This visually stunning mirror image reflects the special bond shared by the twins performing the act. Their maneuvers and feet-to-feet catches emulate the beauty of harmony and complete trust.
The Solo Trapeze was a dynamic yet dramatic act, the aerialist became one with her trapeze, performing a gymnastically challenging routine. The performance concludes with a spectacular dismount, which links together the elements of air and water.
Bateau charting the course of life and the pursuit of dreams; this steel-frame ship floats above the water providing the setting for this unique display of acrobatic timing and strength. The origin of the Bateau (French for "boat") is the traditional circus discipline of the aerial cradle, combined here with the parallel bars for the very first time. This dynamic presentation brings the delicate balance of air and water to life. The team of 11 performers, including four women, is made up of flyers and catchers.
Cadre emphasizes the struggle to maintain balance in a stormy universe - the zebras constantly realign themselves, hanging on until the very end. Resembling a playground jungle gym, this giant aerial frame was created by Cirque du Soleil specialists to facilitate choreography and gymnastics in an aerial space between the sky and the water. Performed by the same group as the Bateau act, the entire number takes place suspended in mid-air.
In Clowns simple, poetic gestures convey the many complexities of life. Two unpretentious souls on a search for answers, Leonid and Valery provide the light that balances the dark part of humanity. This team, originally from Russia, has been performing together since the early 1980s and were both featured in Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría.
The Russian Swing is comprised of pleasure, envy, passion, and temptation during the honeymoon celebration. Drawing its inspiration from the many wedding chapels of Las Vegas, the church bell atop the largest swing beckons all to join the party… of life, love and death. The cast includes expert divers using three sets of Russian swings. The swinging movement creates a different trajectory of flight, presenting a unique challenge even for the most seasoned diver. Moving from ground level to the highest point at 32 feet creates a momentary weightlessness at zero gravity, followed by tremendous acceleration down to the water.
Of course O features Synchronized Swimming; just as water is essential to all life, the swimmer's graceful presence during the acts and segues is essential to "O". At the heart of the production, the swimmers provide the necessary link between the elements of fire, earth, air, and water. Choreographed by Debra Brown and Olympic gold-medalist Sylvie Fréchette, the synchronized swimming team is made up of 17 world-class swimmers.
The images that “O” created for me that evening delighted my senses and excited my mind. Even the clowns with their simple, poetic gestures that conveyed the many complexities of life brought a smile to my heart and a tear to my eyes. These two unpretentious souls on their personal search for answers were infectiously charming and beautiful.
The show’s beauty enraptured me as my senses feasted on the exquisite costume designs that were reminiscent of several periods from the 15th to the 20th centuries, with a special emphasis on the Romantic period of Venice where the European meeting point between East and West converged and all styles and forms came together with stunning beauty.
"O" has exquisite costume designs.
The expert lighting effects drenched the evening in beauty by mysteriously, majestically, and magically illuminating the fluidity, and the precision of all the performers.
There is an ocean of difference between what is beautiful and that which is divinely beautiful. Millions of people have experienced this enthralling majestic production of “O” and they understand the difference. So if you need to resuscitate your spirit and renew your life, the divine beauty of “O” at the Bellagio Hotel will forever change your life.
Feature by Janice Wilson, Las Vegas Jetsetters Magazine Correspondent; photos courtesy of Cirque du Soleil.