Cirque du Soleil’s weekend show in Tampa, FL took a tragic turn. During the Saturday night production of Volta, an aerial straps number took a devastating and ultimately fatal turn, resulting in a seasoned performer falling onto the stage. The acrobat died in the hospital shortly after the accident.
Following the incident, the aerialist was later revealed to be Yann Arnaud. According to a since-deleted video of the incident, Arnaud was swinging in the air when he lost his grip on the double rings, falling 20 feet and landing head first onto the stage floor. The crew rushed onto the stage to assist him, while the audience was left stunned by the incident that happened before them. TMZ says Arnaud was instantly rushed to the hospital to treat his injuries, but the acrobat died early Sunday morning. Yann Arnaud was 38 years old at the time of his death, and had 15 years of experience with the popular Cirque du Soleil company.
Cirque du Soleil and the team behind Volta released a statement in mourning yesterday. Daniel Lamarre, the president and CEO of Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group, said the following about Yann Arnaud’s death.
The entire Cirque du Soleil family is in shock and devastated by this tragedy. Yann had been with for over 15 years and was loved by all who had a chance to know him. Over the coming days and weeks, our focus will be on supporting Yann’s family and our employees, especially the Volta team, as we go through these difficult times together.
In light of this accident, Cirque du Soleil canceled the last two shows scheduled to be performed on Sunday. The company has since been gathering more information about the tragedy and is offering “full and transparent collaboration to the authorities” as the incident is investigated.
Details have been coming to light since the accident occurred on Saturday night. Yann Arnaud even took to social media to explain he was working on a new act that was expected to debut as part of the Volta show this weekend.
After so much work and training and staging, our straps duo act is finally in the show tonight. It’ s time to go for it @pawel_walczewski . #volta #cirquedusoleil #strapsduo #aerial #aerialarts #aerialacrobatics #florida #tampa #acrobatics #gymnastics #duo #hallofequals #cirfit #cirfit_lifestyle #cirfit_usa #cirfitapparel #cirfitworld #teamcirfit Thanks @andregymbrasil for the picture.
Yann Arnaud’s death is not the first fatality to come from a Cirque du Soleil show. In 2013, veteran acrobat Sarah Guyard-Guillot fell 94 feet to her death towards the end of her performance. That incident marked the first time a member of Cirque du Soleil died onstage. Meanwhile, in 2016, Lisa Skinner fell 16 feet to the floor during a solo aerial hoops act. Thankfully, she lived. Skinner was placed in a neck brace and she was raced to the hospital.
Our thoughts and condolences go out to the family and friends of Yann Arnaud during this difficult time.