Since its beginning in 1984, and its first tour to the U.S. in 1987, Cirque du Soleil has amazed and entertained audiences with incredible innovative productions. Each new show seemingly tops the last. "Volta," the latest touring show, offers something the company has never presented – a production themed around extreme sports.
“This new show is all about action,” shared Michael Smith, artistic director of "Volta."
“This show is a celebration of action sports instead of circus acts and the show music is composed by international electronic group M83.” When first hearing the concept of the show I was immediately reminded of “Hunger Games” and shows like “Super Cross” that feature BMX racing. “Fans of sports completions and BMX will definitely enjoy this show,” adds Smith.” "Volta," written and directed by Bastien Alexandre, and with Jean Guibert as the director of creation, is a story of transformation, inspired in part by “the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports.”
WAZ, the main character in "Volta," happens to be “a popular game-show host who has lost touch with his inner self in the pursuit of fame.” Yes, there’s an underlying message in this show as in most Cirque productions. “People come for the acrobatics but go away with a message,” adds Smith. “People get touched in different ways.” "Volta" is an action-packed show filled with sports competitors but it’s also a show about being true to yourself and fulfilling your true potential. “This show stands alone, but the story adds a special emotional mood.”
"Volta" features a show within a show. WAZ, our main character, hosts Squid Pro Quo, the most popular gameshow on TV where contestants compete for a chance to become instant celebrities — much like the myriad of reality shows airing today except these contestants compete in extreme sports games.
Some of the incredible acts featured in "Volta" include: Rope Skipping – a highly intense acrobatic version with an urban, hip hop attitude; Roller Skates & Basketball –performed by a freestyle basketball juggling artists that manipulates basketballs around his bod with exceptional speed; Flatland BMX & Ballet Duo – a BMX flatland rider not only performs a spell-bounding routine on his bike, but engages in a pas de deux with a ballet dancer; Acro Lamp – “a younger WAZ” grabs onto a suspended red lamp and flies above the stage performing some amazing acrobatic feats. Acrobatic Ladders – two ladders attached to the edge of the stage offer a platform for a group of artists to climb, spin, and execute acrobatic figures often swinging out majestically over the audience; Shape Diving – five artists tumble and jump through shapes (Chinese hoops), even break-dancing mid-air; Charivari – an act that combines the acrobatic skill of holding on a ring and the fast skill of trial bike riding where the rider attempts to scale obstacles without setting foot on the ground; Hair Suspension – (a new act for Cirque) a beautiful artist, suspended only by her hair, levitates in the air spinning and swinging back and forth; Hand to Hand on Unicycle –five percussionists suspended above the stage provide the beats while two artists below perform a hand to hand act on a unicycle; and BMX –for the finale a full-blown BMX park is mounted on stage as five riders “deliver a jaw-dropping, fast and furious performance of nonstop acrobatics on wheels.”
While the acts are mesmerizing, with an endless repertoire of dangerous tricks, this modern show boasts an urban feel with incredible visuals and sounds including the electronic music composted just for his production. "Volta"’s stage is also unique and almost has a life of its own. The set is a granite quarry looking like it was created from a gigantic rock. Most of the characters have LED lights creating an effect of mineworkers but the colorful, flamboyant costumes highlight the differences of each character and the many cultures represented.
The laser coat worn by WAZ, the main character, features 168 lasers,and has a capacity of 115 different beam combinations. His headdress is no less distinctive with approximately 1,500 blue feathers. More than 1,200 costume pieces were created for "Volta" by Cirque du Soleil’s costumers in Montreal.
“This is quite a colorful production,” says Smith, who has been with the show since its inception and has worked as an Artistic Director on Cirque productions since 2005. “The Miami show will be our first stop in the U.S. and we’re really looking forward to it. American audiences are great, a bit different from Canadian audiences and much more vocal than audiences in China. When we go to China the audience is completely quiet until the end because they consider it rude to make noise. The performers are always taken aback after the enthusiastic audiences of the U.S.”
Cirque has created another action-show, jaw-dropping production with "Volta." “'Volta' is a high-energy show but also a feel-good show,” says Smith. “You can’t leave this show without a feeling of good.” The show’s promo says: “"Volta" is a story of transformation – about fulfilling one’s true potential and the power of the group to make that possible.” The show also celebrates “the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail.” A theme that certainly should be welcomed in America today. "Volta" is Cirque du Soleil’s 41st original production since 1984, and its 18th show presented under the Big Top.
Cirque du Soleil’s "Volta" opens Dec. 15 in a tent next to Hard Rock Stadium. Visit cirquedusoleil.com/cirqueclub to sign up for a complimentary membership. Cirque Club members receive advance access to the best seats under the Big Top, at the best price.
Tickets will be available for purchase to the public by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/Volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Tickets are available starting from $40. "Volta" runs from Dec. 15 through Feb. 4, 2018.