Cirque du Soleil, the popular circus show that combines creative, daring acrobatics with live music and colorfully trippy production, has taken its first victim: Sarah Guillot-Guyard, a performer at Cirque’s “Ka” at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Guillot-Guyard, 31, snapped out of her harness while being lifted from the stage, falling nearly 50 feet into a pit outside the audience’s view. An eyewitness reports hearing “screaming, then groaning, and … a female artist crying from the stage.” The accident occurred during a June 29 performance.
Guillot-Guyard, who had two young children, is the first Cirque performer to die on the job, though certainly not the first one injured: Other performers have faced concussions and paralysis following slipups and technical difficulties. One of Cirque’s founders, Guy Laliberte, issued a poignant statement of regret on Sunday, and all performances of “Ka” have been canceled until further notice. The company’s website still proudly boasts that Cirque is safer than “football, hockey, soccer, basketball and gymnastics in the United States.”