During my most recent girls' getaway weekend trip, we checked out Zarkana at Aria. It was a spectacle to behold!
When I was little, it sounded ridiculous to say I wanted to run away with the circus. But thanks to Cirque du Soleil, who has transformed the world of big tent entertainment, it actually sounds cool -- completely implausible, since I can't do a backbend these days to save my life, but still: cool.
Today's Travel Bliss post is the lastest in my Las Vegas travel guide. You can read all about Las Vegas Eats, Las Vegas Hotels, and a great Las Vegas cocktail experience. When in Vegas, you also MUST go to a show -- at least one. It is, after all, the entertainment capital of the world.
Cirque du Soleil has seven different productions happening on an ongoing basis at seven different hotels in Las Vegas. During my most recent girls' getaway weekend trip, we checked out Zarkana at Aria.
I think it's important to note that this is the first Cirque du Soleil show where we were not only allowed to take photos during the show, but we were actually encouraged by the theater staff. As a writer, I was SO excited about this! So all of the photos you see below were taken with my iPhone, with permission from the theater staff.
The storyline behind Zarkana is a little more loosey goosey than other Cirque shows, and features more than 70 international acrobats, aerialists, jugglers, high wire and trapeze artists. From the Zarkana website: "Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil is a spirited journey through an abandoned theater where an extraordinary circus comes back to life. Populated by a motley collection of off-the-wall characters and incomparable acrobats, Zarkana is a visual vortex set in a twisted acrobatic fantasy universe where, little by little, chaos and craziness give way to a true celebration."
I think the creators of this particular show set the stage well, in that there's not a very specific storyline to follow, so it's really more about the stunning visuals and performances coming together versus a singular plot.
Our seats were AMAZING. We were just a few rows from the front, and were right in the center. So when one of the clowns flies out from the stage, he's right above us. It was a very cool experience.
The flag dancers provided a vivid, colorful performance in rhythmic precision with drumbeats.
Another cool fly-over-our-heads moment was the Aerial Strips act: identical twin brothers use aerial straps to gracefully fly and move over the audience and up to the top of the stage.
In all Cirque shows, there is at least one act in which I worry about the performers' safety. In Zarkana, it was the Ladder Duo. Using a straight ladder as prop and stability, these two progressively climbed up and up and up. The incredible focus and balance that this must take is mind boggling to me.
In Banquine, acrobats fly through the air and form various human pyramids with fun and playful choreography.
The one act that I unfortunately did not get good photos of was the sand painting act. A performer, known as The Oracle, stands over a table with sand and begins to draw out, in sync with the music, the events that have unfolded until that point in the show. It was truly fantastic to watch as she created scenes from the sand like magic.
Where to watch
While I would have also loved to have seen some of the other Cirque du Soleil shows playing in Las Vegas, and this wasn't my favorite of all of the Cirque shows I have seen in the past, I really enjoyed Zarkana. If you have never seen a Cirque show before, Zarkana is a good introduction to the wonders of Cirque du Soleil.For one thing, it is a lot shorter than all of the other Cirque shows I have seen outside of Las Vegas, with no intermission. This is actually a plus for me when on vacation, because while I want to see the shows, I also want to go out and eat and drink. This is definitely a plus if you are visiting Las Vegas with children. Zarkana was just the right length for me -- long enough to make you feel like you got your money's worth, but short enough to keep your attention the whole time.
It also has all of the classic markers of a great Cirque show: the colorful costumes, the vibrant sets, the amazing acrobatics, the whimsical characters and crazy big props.
Zarkana is playing at Aria in Las Vegas indefinitely. Prices currently range from $69 to $180. Buy tickets to Zarkana online here.
Thanks so much to Cirque du Soleil for giving us complementary tickets to see this show. As always, all opinions and photos are my own.