Cirque du Soleil's 'Ka' Reopens in Vegas After Performer's Death

4:52 PM PST 07/17/2013 by Associated Press
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Sarah Guillot-Guyard

Tuesday night's show included a memorial announcement and standing ovations in memory of Sarah Guillot-Guyard, who died during a June 30 performance.

LAS VEGAS -- The Cirque du Soleil show Ka has reopened on the Las Vegas Strip 17 days after an acrobat fell to her death during its closing scene.

The Tuesday night show was marked by a memorial announcement and standing ovations in memory of 31-year-old Sarah Guillot-Guyard.

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The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported that the audience was on its feet at the MGM Grand Hotel and Casino before the start of the show dedicated "to the loving memory of an exceptional artist."

"Her passion will guide us in a common dream, the pursuit of a better world," an announcer told the crowd.

Producers suspended the production after Guillot-Guyard died June 30 in a 90-foot fall during the show's climactic battle scene.

Guillot-Guyard had been with the original cast of Ka since 2006. The aerial performer was a French citizen and mother of two who lived in Las Vegas and also ran a training program for kids called Cirquefit.

She was the first Cirque du Soleil performer to die in an onstage accident in the company's 29-year history.

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Cirque has cut the climactic scene that resulted in the death and replaced it with a "dressing-ritual" scene that it says maintains the story line of the production and its 90-minute length.

"It was already an existing act that had been used previously when there was technical difficulty," Cirque du Soleil spokeswoman Renee-Claude Menard told the Review-Journal.

Ka is expected to return to its regular schedule of two shows a night by July 23.

Coroner's officials said Guillot-Guyard's death by blunt force trauma was an accident. She still was in her harness when she fell. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration has launched an investigation that could take six months.

Horrified audience members who witnessed the fall initially thought it was part of the show and only realized something had gone wrong when they heard the cries of performers.

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