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Cirque du Soleil’s Zumanity at New York New York

The tag line for Zumanity is “The Sensual Side of Cirque du Soleil,” and the premise of the show is simple: Intimacy and sex should be fun.

Edie, a crude and flirtatious drag queen, emcees the show with promises of lust, sensuality and skin. Cast members wander through the audience, bending over people in bizarre positions as they seductively feed others strawberries. This is a relatively audience-centered show, and people sitting in convenient aisle or front-row seats are fair game for awkward bantering about sex.

Zumanity twists reality into a risque, tantalizing production that mixes classy cabaret with raunchy burlesque … but don’t forget this is a Cirque du Soleil show. There are still elements of circus-worthy “wow” in Zumanity, including a woman in a schoolgirl outfit who performs with hula hoops, a couple that performs a sensual aerial ballet and two women who gracefully do a synchronized swimming act in an oversized fishbowl.

Between the acts, Edie returns to the stage to guide the audience through the many emotions tied to sex and love. Throughout the show, you’re meant to feel excited, flirty, sensual, sexy, awkward, sinful and romantic.

Though the show is provocative and memorable, it does come with a few drawbacks. Many people who have seen the show feel like the addition of an emcee breaks up the flow. Others find that Cirque du Soleil did too much when it tried to combine a risque burlesque show and accommodating commentary with the flexibility, acrobatics and flair people have come to expect from the company.

Nonetheless, Zumanity is a fun outing for adults in search of something more risque and grown-up than Cirque du Soleil’s other shows, such as Mystere. Couples and people in Las Vegas for bachelor or bachelorette parties in particular will most enjoy the show. People must be 18 or older to attend the performance, which shows on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday through Sunday at 7:30 p.m. and 10:30 p.m.

Photo credit: Uncleboatshoes