Travel Diaries – Bellagio Kabuki Water Show 2015

Although I live in Las Vegas, I do enjoy playing tourist every once in a while. About 3 weeks ago, there was an article going around talking about a twist to Bellagio’s infamous Dancing Waters. They were going to incorporate traditional Japanese Kabuki theater into the show. I was definitely interested by the overall concept and the photo they included in the article. 

Let me tell you my expectations of what the show was going to be. I imagined a huge stage that would be in the middle of the water area, with a bigger screen so that way you can see what the performers were doing. The stage that the performers would be on would be rounded, that way you can see what was going on from all angles. I expected to have the same amount of room that I usually have when it comes to their water shows. I basically expected to see something like this:

kabukiLooks amazing right? I know it’s an artist rendering, but still, it looks magical, eye-catching, and like you’d be able to see what’s going on from miles away. Well let me just tell you it was a huge disappointment and an even bigger waste of time.

First off, traffic was horrible trying to head down the strip because they had closed one lane to act as a side walk for those who were watching the show. Once my boyfriend and I started to make our way to Bellagio, we didn’t immediately see any special stage, in fact, they had a normal water show going on. As we walked down more and more we then saw a teeny tiny little stage. We thought that can’t possibly be the only place they’re doing the performance. Oh, but it was. There was really no room for spectators at all. In fact, if you wanted to see everything that was going on, you probably had to start lining up before the first show had started. Not to mention they had a gigantic booth in the prime viewing spot! My boyfriend and I were maybe about 4 rows (of people) back and I couldn’t see anything and even my boyfriend, who is 6’3″ couldn’t see anything. When the show started, we could only hear the intro, and see colored lights. I didn’t think it’d be worth the 30 mins to watch the show, so we ended up leaving highly disappointed, thirsty, and sweaty.

Curious, I went on YouTube to see if maybe I could see what the actual show looked like, and I found a 5 minute clip of the show:

It looks interesting and from the 3:48 mark, the picture dancing along the streams of water is what I had imagined seeing!

I really wish that they had planned this whole thing out a lot better. Here are some things I wish they fixed:

  • Find a way to make sure everyone in the audience can see. Blocking off a lane, and using the side walk as a type of viewing arrangement does not work at all. The stage was way too small, and you couldn’t see anything if you weren’t right up in front – and I mean up front against the railing. It was a crowded mess! You really can’t expect hoards of people to watch a 30 minute show in Vegas summer weather (it was their biggest mistake).
  • Make the stage bigger, or at least provide some other way to show the audience what was going on. It seemed like there was no planning or common sense going on when the Bellagio (or whoever) decided to do this. They should’ve gone down to the other water shows and imagined what it would’ve been like for the audience to see the show – and they couldn’t use the “normal” crowd that’s around for Bellagio’s normal Dancing Water show, they would’ve had to take into consideration how small the stage was, how much room the electrical tent thing would’ve taken, and how many people would be there to watch. 
  • Translation, translation, translation. I know this show is supposed to be like authentic Kabuki theater, but guess what, only a small teeny tiny little fraction of the audience would’ve understood what was going on. I get that a story is supposed to be told, but if I can’t see what’s going on, I sure would love to understand what’s being said. They could keep the traditional Japanese words in it, but add in an English translation in between.

Those are the only improvements I could think of for now. I was just so frustrated because the picture they used to promote the show gave me such high expectations. It was just poor planning and poor execution. I know my boyfriend and I left frustrated because we went through so much and waited so long to only see the top of the stage.

If they ever decided to bring the Kabuki show back, without any improvements, I say that you could do a hard pass on waiting and watching it. Unless, you know, you plan to be waiting there for like 2 hours in the Las Vegas heat, if it’s summer. I do however, very much enjoy Bellagio’s original Dancing Waters shows. I love the music the pick and the “choreography” that goes along with it. My personal favorite is the Celine Dion ‘My Heart Will Go On.” The song holds a special place in my heart. 

Have you guys checked out the Bellagio Dancing Waters? What do you think of it and what’s your favorite song they did? Let me know in the comments below!!




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