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Cirque Du Soleil Exec: Battle Scene Had To Return To 'Ka', New Safety Measures In Place

New computer controls that weren’t available when ‘Ka’ first opened have allowed for the return of the final battle scene that was removed from the show, following the death of a performer in June, 2013.

Jerry Nadal, senior vice president of Cirque du Soleil’s Resident Shows Division, told KNPR’s State of Nevada that company installed computers that control the performers ascent and descent. He said that these and other measures have made the scene in 'KA' safer.

“It is an integral part of the show. That is the climactic scene in the show. It is the high point. It is like watching a massive video game playing out in front of you,” Nadal said.

The scene returned Dec. 12 after the death of Sarah Guillot-Guyard, who fell 94 feet to her death in June 2013.

During the scene, performers costumed as warriors fight on a vertical stage, held aloft with cables. In the accident last year, Guillot-Guyard’s cable was severed and she fell. He said human errors contributed to the failure of equipment.

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Following the accident, 'Ka' temporarily went dark, and then resumed in July, 2013, with the final scene taken out of the performance. Nadal told KNPR the day after Guillo-Guyard died,  he and other execs at Cirque du Soleil visited every resident show on the Las Vegas strip, offering aerial acrobats the opportunity not to perform if any of them felt unsafe.

Nadal described going over Cirque du Soleil productions with a “fine tooth comb” to ensure the safety of performers and crews.

At the ‘Ka’ theater, they took a year and a half to rework all aspects of the battle scene and install new equipment, like the computer controls, to prevent another accident.

According to Nadal, some performers in 'Ka' wanted to bring the scene back as soon as the show reopened, but the team knew it had to be reviewed for safety.

“We worked towards reopening the show but we took a long time to do it so we had it right before we brought it back,” Nadal said. 

The company spent an estimated $500,000 on the new safety equipment.

Nadal said that everyone felt the final battle scene should return to the show because of its importance to the story in ‘Ka’ and because Guillot-Guyard loved that part of the show.

“Everybody knows she loved doing it. She just loved, loved, loved doing it,” Nadal said.

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