The Spectacle of Cirque du Soleil’s Ka – MGM Grand – Las Vegas

categories: USA Travel

StormThe theater was cavernous, much larger than I was expecting. Smoke and occasional fire was coming out of the area that was the stage. Along the left and right of the stage were large columns and numerous walkways that looked to be made of brass in an effect that reminded me of Jules Verne. Ushers in some vague oriental-style costumes directed us to our seats and just before the show started one tourist learned the hard-way that cell phones and cameras were not allowed. That was my introduction to the Cirque du Soleil show Ka which is playing at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas.

I was in Las Vegas for BlogWorld and can’t imagine that I would have decided to attend a Cirque du Soleil show or any show on this visit, but the social media manager for Cirque du Soleil was offering free tickets to bloggers in exchange for a review of the show. I jumped at the chance because my wife has never had any desire to see any show with “circus” in the name (possibly some traumatic childhood experience with a clown but she will not say).

Long lines snaked through the halls of the MGM Grand casino as the audience filed into the theater. I knew nothing of the show ahead of time except that Cirque du Soleil was known for their acrobatics and that somehow Ka was described as a surprisingly “vertical” stage. That was an understatement.

The show has no dialog in English (nor any other real language) except for a short opening narration that this is the story of a prince and princess, brother and sister, who are separated and reunited.

From there the performance becomes increasingly difficult to describe and I am hesitant to give too much away. Despite the lack of dialog the show has a definite plot. There are heroes, villains, and love interests and there is comic relief.

To describe Ka as an acrobatics show would fall way short of the mark. The closest analogy I could come up with is that it is operatic, but not in the sense that people are singing but in its sense of scale and spectacle. Imagine that Wagner had had access to a troop of dancers, acrobats and baton twirlers who could not sing. Also imagine that he had access to an incredible (and I mean this in the real jaw-dropping eye-popping way) stage that could become a boat, a palace, an ocean, a beach, a mountain, a death machine, and a fantasy world. The stage is horizontal one moment and vertical the next. At one point the audience appears to look down on the action instead of across at it. Imagine if you will that your actors seem not just acrobatic but expendable. You would swear at times in the show that characters fall to their death not just their dramatized death. Mix in actors spinning, sailing, sinking and occasionally soaring overhead. Add a dramatic musical score and you have Ka. Does that paint a good picture for you? Ka is a show that defies description except perhaps “wow!”

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Chris Christensen

by Chris Christensen

Chris Christensen is the creator of the Amateur Traveler blog and podcast. He has been a travel creator since 2005 and has won awards including being named the "Best Independent Travel Journalist" by Travel+Leisure Magazine.

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Of the four Cirque shows I’ve seen, KA is still my favorite. The music is phenomenal!



Great description Chris! I also went to my first Cirque show with no preconceptions of what it was like and it was really, unbelievably amazing. Your descriptions are far better than anything I could ever come up with! I always tell people that it is worth the price tag to go to one if they are in Vegas. Whether it was the first show I saw, I am not sure, but I think Mystere at Treasure Island is the best Cirque show- I have actually seen all the Vegas Cirque shows now.



Great descriptions, Chris! I went to my first Cirque show with no preconceptions of what it was like and it was really, unbelievably amazing. Your description is much better than anything I have come up with to describe it! I always tell others that it is something that is worth the price tag, even though I normally wouldn’t consider getting $100+ tickets for many things. 🙂 Whether or not it was my first show, I am not sure, but Mystere at Treasure Island was my favorite show… and I have now seen all the Vegas Cirque shows.

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