Cirque du Soleil returned to performances on Friday in New Jersey, offering a tribute to the aerialist who died last month on stage. It was the first show since the March 17 accident that claimed the life of Yann Arnaud.
The show, titled VOLTA, began with a tribute to Arnaud, the 38-year old aerialist who perished after falling about 20 feet to his death. The accident happened March 17 during an aerial straps routine in Tampa.
New Jersey’s show was postponed in the wake of that death, and opened with an on-stage speech honoring Arnaud, as the performers hugged each other while surrounding a tribute wreath dedicated to his memory.
“Yann loved to perform,” said an unidentified speaker at the start of the show. “He performed in Paris, in Las Vegas, many cities around the world. In our production of TOTEM and more recently in VOLTA and he gave joy to many, many people. And I believe it is the only way to bring honor to him by also doing what we love. To inspire dreams to touch hearts, and share with you our entertainment,’ a speaker said at the beginning of the performance.
“So I’m going to ask for your love and support tonight to raise the roof with your applause in celebration of Yann. On behalf of the VOLTA family, our largest Cirque du Soleil family. I have the great honor to dedicate this show to our Superman, our hero, our papa, Yann Arnaud. Yann, this is for you!”
The show ended with a moment of silence in Arnaud’s memory, as the performers kneeled around the memorial wreath.