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Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil

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Aria Resort & Casino

Venue: Aria Theatre

3730 Las Vegas Boulevard

Las Vegas, NV

Show Times: 7pm & 9:30pm

Age Restriction: 5

Show Length: 90 minutes

$69, $99, $130, $140, $150 & $180

Rock music combines with incredible acrobatics and other circus arts to create the visually stunning modern acrobatic spectacular Zarkana by Cirque du Soleil at Aria Resort & Casino.

Before its Vegas premiere, Zarkana had successful engagements at Radio City Music Hall in New York City, the Madrid Arena in Spain and the Kremlin State Palace Theatre in Moscow. Zarkana's roots as a touring show are evident in the high-energy presentation and soundtrack that work to capture the audience's attention and then take it on a whirlwind ride through a series of unique vignettes.

With a hint of steampunk art, Zarkana combines the feel of a vaudeville show and circus sideshow with unique characters and acts.

The performance includes music performed with different costumed female characters -- the snake-woman Kundalin, Tarantula the spider-woman and Mandragora the plant-woman. The songs are sung in Cirque du Soleil's Cirquespeak, a made-up language that combines Italian, Russian, Spanish, French and more. These songs provide a backdrop to the featured artists who perform acrobatic feats and other circus-style acts.

It is these featured acts who are the stars of the show. Early on, the audience is captivated by the aerial acrobatics of the Atherton Twins, who soar through the theater on aerial straps.

Amazing work is also done by Cirque's acrobatic performers in the Ladder Trio, Rope Duet, Russian Bar, High Wire and more. The showstoppers are the hand-balancing act performed by Anatole and the Banquine at the show's end that features 15 acrobats performing jaw-dropping athletic throws, pyramids and flips. A sand-painting performance midway in the show is also an elegant and relaxed moment that provides a perfect pause in the action.

The show utilizes LED screens and projected images to create ever-changing scenery themed to each of the featured acts. One of the best examples of this is when the snake-woman Kundalin enters the stage sprouting from a pile of coiled serpents. Along with her, the LED screens display large snakes that slither around the area framing the stage. Kundalin sings a bewitching song as two men perform a high-wire routine while also trying to avoid a swinging ball of fire.

Aside from the suspenseful moments, the show has plenty of comedy too. Cirque's trademark hodgepodge of off-the-wall clowns make an appearance throughout the show providing moments of humor and a break from the crescendo of fast-paced action and music.  

Unlike other Cirque shows where the set is constantly moving, Zarkana puts more emphasis on the performers and their incredible talents. In another number Tarantula appears over the stage. She sings while hanging upside down. Her lyrics create the background for a flying trapeze team that soars through the air on one of the highest trapeze rigs in the world. Along with this spider-woman the stage is filled with webs, just out of range of the performers flipping and spinning in mid air.

For Cirque aficionados or newbies who have never been to a show created by the French-Canadian production company, Zarkana offers excitement and a bit of whimsy to audiences in Vegas. The singing, paired with the outlandish characters and incredible acrobatics, represent Cirque's signature show elements from A to Zarkana.

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