A female Cirque Du Soleil performer died after falling 50 feet from the stage during a performance in the MGM Grand show in Las Vegas on Saturday night.
The performer, identified as a 31-year old mother of two named Sarah Guyard-Guillot, was performing during the show’s final ‘battle’ scene of the show called ‘Ka’ when the incident happened. According to eyewitnesses, she fell into a pit below the other performers after slipping from her safety wire, and the show initially continued as if nothing happened.
It was not until she let out a terrifying scream of pain heard by the audience that the music was abruptly stopped and the show cancelled. Sarah – popularly known as Sasoun or Sasoon – was later pronounced dead at 11:30 pm that night.
‘(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,’ audience member Dan Mosqueda told Las Vegas Sun. ‘Initially, a lot of people in the audience thought it was part of the choreographed fight. But you could hear screaming, then groaning, and we could hear a female artist crying from the stage.
Sarah was a professional acrobatic performer with more than 22 years of experience. Born in Paris, she graduated from the Annie Fratellini Art & Circus Academy.
Cirque Du Soleil has released a statement, saying, ‘The entire Cirque du Soleil family is deeply saddened by the accidental death of Sarah (Sassoon) Guyard, artist on the production ‘Ka,’ that happened on Saturday, June 29, in Las Vegas. The artist’s immediate family has been informed of the accident. Our thoughts are with her family and the entire Cirque du Soleil family.’
Added Cirque Du Soleil founder Guy Laliberte, ‘I am heartbroken. I wish to extend my sincerest sympathies to the family. We are all completely devastated with this news. Sassoon was an artist with the original cast of ‘Ka’ since 2006 and has been an integral part of our Cirque du Soleil tight family. We are reminded, with great humility and respect, how extraordinary our artists are each and every night. Our focus now is to support each other as a family.
‘We have been working with the appropriate authorities and have offered our full cooperation. Performances of ‘Ka’ will be canceled until further notice.’
Sarah Guillot’s death is the first in the company’s history since its establishment in 1984. An investigation into the incident has already begun.
[Images: Cirque Du Soleil, Facebook]