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Cirque performer, mother of two, killed in fall at performance

The final fight scene, performed on a vertical stage during Cirque Du Soliel’s “Ka” at the MGM Grand Friday, Nov. 28.  (Leila Navidi/LAS VEGAS SUN)
The final fight scene, performed on a vertical stage during Cirque Du Soliel’s “Ka” at the MGM Grand Friday, Nov. 28. (Leila Navidi/LAS VEGAS SUN)
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Updated: 6/30/2013 5:29 pm
By John Katsilometes
LAS VEGAS SUN

Sarah Guillot-Guyard, an artist in "Ka" at MGM Grand and a mother of two young children, was killed Saturday night after a fall from the show's stage at MGM Grand. The Clark County coroner's office confirmed this morning that Guillot-Guyard, listed as age 31, died Saturday night.

No formal cause of death has been determined pending further examination of Guillot-Guyard's body. She was born in Paris and had spent more than 22 years as an acrobatic performer.
It is the first reported death from an accident onstage in Cirque's 30-year history.

According to reports from audience members, the incident occurred Saturday night during the latter stages of the production at MGM Grand. Guillot-Guyyard was one of the artists suspended by a wire from the show’s vertical stage in the show-closing Final Battle scene. As she ascended to the top of the stage, she slipped free of her safety wire and dropped to the open, unseen pit below the performers.

After the incident, one eyewitness seated in the middle of the audience and just a few rows from the lip of the stage said Guillot-Guyard dropped from the left side of the set (or on the right side, as audience members face the production) over a distance of at least 50 feet. The show momentarily continued, but then the music halted, and the performer’s screams and groans could be heard from below the stage. One source close to the production said she died on the way to a hospital.

“(The artist) was being hoisted up the side of the stage and then just plummeted down,” said Dan Mosqueda, visiting with his wife and 10-year-old son from Colorado Springs, Colo. “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.” Mosqueda’s wife, Annie, has a background in theater and tweeted about the incident soon after it occurred.

Minutes after the artist’s fall, a recorded announcement was played on the theater’s sound system informing ticket-buyers that refunds or vouchers to future shows would be offered to those in the audience, and the crowd was dismissed.

Cirque officials have yet to comment on the incident. It was the second time in less than a week that a Cirque show on the Strip was halted for an accident involving one of its artists.

On Wednesday night, a performer in one of the final preview performances of “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay suffered a mild concussion after slipping through the slack rope in the show’s “Stranger in Moscow” scene, missing the protective pad below the act and landing hard upon the stage. That performer is expected to return to the show.

The incident coincided with the celebration of the world premiere of “Michael Jackson One” at Mandalay Bay. During the red-carpet walk before the 7 p.m. performance, Cirque President Daniel Lamarre was asked about the danger the company’s artists face and also said the reason Cirque does not release names of artists injured onstage is so officials can first notify their families when such an incident occurs.

“The one thing that people maybe don’t realize is how hurt we are when something like that happens,” Lamarre said, standing just a few off the red carpet. “It’s almost like a family member. We are protective of the artist, first and foremost, and keep focus on the artist.”

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