Earlier this year, John Leggio went to Las Vegas, not as a tourist (or even a gambler), but as owner/director of John Leggio's Center for the Performing Arts in Spring Hill.
He was looking for inspiration for what has become a major annual entertainment event in this area: his dance studio's end-of-year spectacular.
In two days, Leggio saw four Cirque du Soleil productions — LOVE, MYSTERE, O and KA — plus a show at the Beatles Revolution Lounge, which was created by Cirque du Soleil.
"These shows were an eye-opening experience for me, and I look forward to bringing this inspiration to life in (our show)," Leggio said.
Significantly, he has named the show Out Of This World.
"It takes the audience on a journey from the creation of the Earth to a land of imagination, from a futuristic world to a heavenly realm, totally out of this world," Leggio said.
"We're pulling out all the stops for this production," he said. "This show is unique and unlike anything we have ever tried before."
Leggio and some of the 150 students and other performers in the show will be "flying from tissue," a Cirque specialty in which a long, silken drapery is suspended from the ceiling and the performer climbs and rolls around and inside it, wrapping himself or herself in its folds and dropping and twisting above the stage.
Leggio, a longtime dancer on Broadway and television, has recruited several of his friends in the profession to help choreograph the show, including tissue-work specialist Terry Beeman; Madonna choreographer Johanna Sapakie; and master teacher Joelle Martinec, of La Reve in Las Vegas.
Award-winning designer Tom Hansen of the Show Palace Dinner Theatre is doing the sets, backdrops and lighting. A team of parents is creating the hundreds of costumes the dancers will wear in the two-hour show.
"There is even a number on roller skates, and we are also featuring gymnasts from Stars and Stripes Gymnastics," Leggio said.
"In every aspect of this show, I have made a conscious effort to make it unique and interesting, from the choreography to the costumes, from the lighting to the sets and props," Leggio said.
"And there are many surprises along the way."