Zumanity is everything you’re expecting it to be, but your expectations are just the very beginning of this intimate and dynamic theater experience, a quick peek through the curtain into a fantasy world without rules or inhibitions.

A well-established Las Vegas institution at the New York-New York hotel and casino, Zumanity is Cirque du Soleil’s artistic foray into the more sensual side of Sin City, taking bits of inspiration from classic burlesque and cabaret productions and layering its presentation with avant-garde and rock ’n’ roll flourishes. No matter whether you’ve seen it or not, you know it’s Cirque’s sexy show, and this is where those expectations come in.

Every little piece of Zumanity is sexy in its own way, and certain scenes can easily compete for the unofficial title of the Strip’s steamiest moments. (Or maybe those other shows have to compete with this one.) But there’s much more to this show, so many awe-inspiring elements that explain why it’s a perennial favorite.

It’s hilarious.

You can’t reach peak sexy if you’re keeping it serious, and no one understands that dynamic better than the enchanting entertainers of Zumanity. They get the laughter going before the curtain rises, interacting with the audience in a fun, friendly and flirty way. And then your hostess Edie takes over, welcoming you into her wonderful world with warmth and encouragement.

This kind of classic drag performance often comes with some playful barbs and insults, but Edie is not that kind of comedian. You may be surprised at how she effortlessly coaxes powerful punchlines from your fellow audience members. Her riotous positivity sets the tone for the entire presentation and puts observers at ease, which makes the incredible performances that follow that much more striking. You won’t be ready for what you see next.

It’s daring.

When the towering, sculpted character Axle drops in for his aerial chains act, it’s easy to get hypnotized by his appearance; it’s not every night a gorgeous, scantily clad, red-mohawked man soars over your head from a custom trapeze apparatus. But his incredible strength, flexibility and athleticism will catch you off-guard as he pulls off a death-defying dangle high above the stage.

Equally fixating is the electric silk act by sixth-generation circus performer Alan Jones Silva. His stature cannot contain his planet-sized charisma and confidence, and when this performer takes flight it’s a victorious, celebratory moment for everyone in the room. But these high-flying, physically demanding routines are not the only way that Zumanity takes risks and pushes boundaries. There’s a mesmerizing S&M-oriented act that shouldn’t be ruined by overly descriptive words in this space, but know that it’s one of the most taboo-testing performances you’ll see anywhere in Las Vegas.

It’s beautiful.

Zumanity moves beyond what would be considered mainstream entertainment nightly and hasn’t received its due for being one of the most edgy, provocative and influential productions ever to hit the Strip. The unique spirit of this show is its true beauty, but the romantic moments that spike each act are just as bewitching as the collective. There’s the aerial dream between a fiery couple floating above their bed, the intimate hand-to-hand (and body-to-body) balancing act from two muscular acrobats, and the inspiring innocence of the water bowl, where two women embark on an emotional exploration.

It’s not surprising that Cirque du Soleil would build an elegant and artistic experience around the idea of the sexy Vegas show. But the results are perpetually astonishing, no matter how many times you’ve seen Zumanity.

New York-New York, 7 & 9:30 p.m. Fri.-Tues., $69-$105 plus tax and fee, $125 plus tax and fee for duo sofas (sold in pairs only), 18+. 866.606.7111