A look at Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity
Not everything Cirque du Soleil does lends itself well to a write up for a male-driven outlet. As an unintentional result, CraveOnline hasn't covered the French Canadian entertainment giant heavily.
So, when the invitation arrived to review Zumanity – Cirque's sensual-themed adult show at New York, New York in Las Vegas – it was clearly the perfect opportunity to explore what "the sexy side of Cirque du Soleil" is all about.
The show is a no holds barred exploration of human sexuality by way of music, dance, gymnastics and acrobatics. There are few taboos. Obviously, animals and kids aren't in play, so there's no need for Dateline NBC to spoil the show. Otherwise, it's men with women, men with men, women with women. Different ages. Different attitudes. Big people, little people – but primarily gorgeous people in their absolutely fit prime.
During an interview before the show, Agnes Roux shared a little of what life is like for one of Zumanity's elite dancers. She's a natural personality for Zumanity – the walking, talking embodiment of a fantasy. A native of Paris, the redhead combines natural beauty with the effortless grace of a dancer and the class of a well-bred European lady. The central casting French accent and frayed (but not broken) English only serves to complete the arousing final effect.
"(Performing in Zumanity) never feels like work," Roux said. "We rotate, so we often get to do new numbers in the show. And, when we're not rehearsing, we train. I take dance classes to stay in shape – along with Pilates, Zumba and kickboxing."
"The backstage environment is even more fun than performing on stage," Roux added. "It's very sexy – a very comfortable, friendly environment. And, when show is over around midnight, life in Las Vegas is just getting started."
Vanessa Convery, another sexy on-stage performer and the show's Dance Captain, explained that it's only natural for some of Zumanity's human population to come together.
"We have performers dating performers," Convery said. "We have performers dating musicians. We have crew dating crew. Some get married. We're all a big family here. But, I don't look to date artists. I look more for the 'real man' type."
Once the eager audience settles into the seats, Zumanity is free of an overall narrative like other Cirque shows like KA and Viva Elvis. It unfolds in individual acts with separate themes. The nude water acrobatics of two young women experimenting with each other drives "Water Bowl," while male aerial performers explore gay and bondage themes.
The highlight of the show might be the Hoops act, performed by the beautiful, lithe and charismatic Julia Kolosova. She begins with a few rings whirling around her well-muscled waste line and slowly builds adds to her collection until she's suspended by one hand on a stage rope high over the stage, rotating countless hoops from her body and down the rope to the stage below. Any man who doesn't miss the vision of her as she ascends out of sight into the riggings needs to stop deceiving themselves as to their sexuality.
Zumanity is also one of the only Cirque shows inviting audience participation. The hostess (Edie, Mistress of Sensuality – portrayed by the quick witted drag queen Christopher Kenney) speaks casually with many happy faces in the crowd, while some daring attendees find themselves on stage.
Late in the show, all of the performers gather on the central rotating stage – sort of a gigantic lazy susan of debauchery. Two audience members – one male, one female – are pulled from the crowd and asked to join the party. That night, a husband and a father from Indiana lounged shirtless on the stage while Zumanity's ladies caressed and writhed away on him.
He was joined by a 62-year-old local woman – a veteran dominatrix who went by the name of Lady Rose. Once let loose on stage, she proceeded to hump and grind every male performer she could grab until she was ushered away in heated, post-menopausal confusion. It's an image I won't soon forget, and I have tried.
Was it a real, random occurrence? Was she an audience plant? Does it matter? The end result was wildly hilarious and a highlight of the night.
For the record, Google digs up several hits for "Lady Rose"If she was of the show, her act was pulled off exceptionally well as she didn't seem like any sort of a professional performer. She came off as just a visitor to the world of Zumanity who got caught up in its life-affirming insanity.