With Cirque Du Soleil in town, JBA looks to the future

Thursday, Jan. 2, 2020
News 12 at 6 O’Clock/NBC at 7

Cirque Du Soleil's OVO is one of many acts James Brown Arena officials are hoping to help bring to the area as the Coliseum Authority looks to rebuild. (Source: WRDW)

AUGUSTA, GA (WRDW/WAGT) – Cirque Du Soleil has arrived in Augusta. It’s part of the first step in rebuilding and rebranding the James Brown Arena.

Cirque’s OVO show is all about insects. There are trampolines, contortionists, and aerialists. This is one of the bigger shows to come to the James Brown Arena.

Performers are twisting and turning their bodies and defying gravity, bringing people like Aruna Bataa to the area. From a third generation circus family in Mongolia, she’s been practicing contortion since she was 7 years old.

"It's fun because we change shows, we change cities; we travel a lot, so it's never the same,” Bataa said.

For acrobat Alanna Baker, seeing the world and places like Augusta is a lifestyle out of her dreams.

"I still get that same adrenaline rush and when the audience stands up on their feet at the end, I still get goose bumps and I pinch myself like I'm actually living my dream,” Baker said.

It's shows like this that draw in thousands and prove why the JBA is a vital part of downtown Augusta.

But it's also why the city wants to rebuild it. Coliseum Authority officials say the arena has lost shows in the past like Carrie Underwood and the Dave Matthews Band because it can't support the weight of the shows. With no premium seating and limited concession offerings, it's tough to get acts like this.

Rebuilding the JBA is the city's biggest expense in its history. But it's one leaders believe could revitalize entertainment for the area.

The city is now in the process of hiring an owner representative who will oversee the design and building of the new arena. It'll be a long time before it’s finished, but the city hopes once it is complete it will be the first step in revamping downtown Augusta.

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