Monday, June 13, 2016
The Elegance of Water’s Purest Form with "O" at the Bellagio
Edible Skinny was lucky enough to have recently attended a performance of Cirque du Soleil’s water ballet “O” at the Bellagio.
Playing off the sound of the French word for water (eau), “O” is a wonderment into the world of water with the entertainers performing in, on, and above a 1.5 million-gallon pool. The show has been running exclusively at the Bellagio since its opening in 1998. “O” was inspired by the concept of infinity and the elegance of water’s purest form. The result is a breathtaking experience that’s a self-proclaimed aquatic tapestry of artistry, surrealism, and theatrical romance.
This Cirque show really makes a splash with an international cast of world-class acrobats, synchronized swimmers, divers, and characters. At any given time the cast 75-90 performers represent over 16 countries around the world. Needing multitalented artists who can perform in both water and on land means the O has more Olympians in it that any other Cirque du Soleil production.
Along with feats in human embodiment is the performance space itself, a magnificent theatre reminiscent of a European opera house. “O” has quite literally plenty of liquid assets costing about $40 million to develop the show and $80 million to create the stage.
The show’s 25-foot-deep pool is kept at a comfortable 88 degrees. At its widest part the pool measures 150 feet by 100 feet. The water in the pool is cycled through a complex filtering system that takes six hours for all the water to pass through. The pool takes about 12 hours to fill, and it’s drained once a year for maintenance. When the pool is drained the water flows into the 22-million gallon lake at the front of the Bellagio, raising the water in the iconic aquatic feature about one inch.
Beneath the surface of the pool are seven hydraulic lifts that create a conventional stage surface or reshape the surface of the water. Measuring 53 feet by 90 feet, the performance space is constantly changing. The lifts enable the set to transform from an underwater spectacle to dry land in a matter of seconds.
The platforms that create the stage are covered with an athletic surfacing material called Mondo. In order for the platforms to be raised and submerged underwater without disrupting the surface of the pool, the show has the material sent to an outside company that drills thousands of holes in it. In just a four-foot by eight-foot piece there are about 5,200 holes.
Also at the bottom of the pool is more than a mile of perforated hose that produces air bubbles that hide underwater activity and the 14 scuba divers at work during every show. The entire cast is scuba certified and can utilize any of the 18 underwater breathing stations.
To learn more about the artistry and wonder of “O” you can check out the official documentary by Cirque du Soleil “Flow.”
Here’s to life being delicious and celebrating the concept of the elegance of water’s purest form!