Accident At Live Show Results In Death of Preformer


Jessica Ilgner, Staff Writer

      Yann Arnaud was a Cirque du Soleil performer in the show VOLTA, who tragically fell to his death during a live performance in Tampa, Florida. Arnaud, 38, was performing an aerial straps number when he fell over 20 feet and was rushed to the hospital were he later died from his injuries. Arnaud had been performing with Cirque du Soleil for over 15 years. He had practiced this routine for two months but it was only his second time performing it live.

      Cirque du Soleil canceled the last two shows in Tampa and are looking into gathering more information on the incident. President of the entertainment group, Daniel Lamarre, said, “the entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. We are currently gathering more information about this tragic event. We are offering our full and transparent collaboration to the authorities as they look into the circumstances of this accident”.

      Cirque du Soleil or “Circus of the Sun” is the largest theatrical producer in the world, and was founded in 1984 by two street performers. Since it does not have regular appearances of animal acts, it is considered a contemporary circus due to it’s nontraditional combination of acrobatics, dances and stunts. All of the shows have unique storylines and performances, with the performers changing the sets instead of stagehands. All acts have continuous live music and there is usually no “off stage” because this is seen as breaking character. Cirque du Soleil has gotten increasingly popular in recent years and has won a myriad of awards for its incomparable approach to circus acts.

      There have been two other deaths associated with Cirque du Soleil. Technician Olivier Rochette, who was the son of the circus’ founder, died in 2016 after he was struck by a telescopic lift setting up for a performance in San Francisco. In 2013, performer Sarah Guyard-Guillot died after she fell 94 feet when a safety wire detached during a stunt.

Taylor Goodman (12) weighs in her views on the incident.

      “I feel like there could be regulations to the Cirque Du Soleil sets, [such as] installing a mandatory safety net. I feel like the performers should be protected on every act”.

Kaitlyn Mitchell (12) adds her points to the issue.

      “There should have been more safety precautions. [I think there was no safety net because] it adds to the entertainment factor and the suspense”.

      The tragedy is met by the sadness of the public and the hopes for increased safety during performances. The lives of the performers are priority over the entertainment factor of the risky stunts.