LOS ANGELES, CA- It’s been over 10 years since the last time I attended a Cirque Du Soleil production, so my memories of that show have somewhat faded. Sure, I remember being amazed during the performance, amazed by the set designs, costumes and amazing physical ability that allowed its cast to perform death-defying feats of agility … but that experience seems so far removed. I can remember a lot, but I can’t remember the mystique of it all. I can’t remember the magic.

VOLTA is Cirque Du Soleil’s first sports-inspired Big Top Show which is currently playing under the Big Top at Dodger Stadium through March 8th, 2020. Los Angeles is the show’s 13th city in the USA and 16th city of its North American Tour. It is the 22nd Cirque du Soleil show to be presented in Los Angeles, and I was fortunate enough to be invited to catch one of its debut performances.

In poetry, “volta” is “a rhetorical shift or dramatic change in thought and/or emotion”. It’s the point in the work where the essence underlying the words is revealed. As an English major in college who just so happened to focus on poetry, I’ve always viewed the volta, or “turn”, as that instant in the piece where you have a moment of clarity and reach an epiphany about the poem’s subject matter. VOLTA is a show that uses this concept in its narrative.

Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.

Through fourteen scenes across two acts, we are presented with the story of character named Waz who tries to find his place in the world. Though there is no dialogue, we see his story begin with failing to find acceptance in a talent show, ostracized by his “odd” appearance. As he tries to find himself, he reminisces about his childhood passions, which ultimately leads him to find his place in the world. He experiences the gamut of emotions, from despair to hope to joy. It’s the hope of his journey which serves as the volta.

Throughout his story to find his place, Waz, and the audience, encounter a bevy of characters who all have their respective talents, many of them breathtaking. As the show progressed, the intensity of the acts crescendoed. In terms of pacing the production and really leaving the audience on the most ultimate of highs by the show’s curtain calls, VOLTA  was pure perfection. If you didn’t have adrenaline pulsing through your veins during the Aerial Straps and BMX routines at the end of the show, you quite possibly are dead inside.

One particular scene of VOLTA that I cannot forget to mention was the hair suspension performance during the middle of act two. It was during that performance that I literally held my breath because of how enchanted I was by what I was witnessing. To watch that cast member (Vanessa Ferreira Calado) perform her routine was otherworldly. Suspended in the air by her hair, her body moved so effortlessly as the danced and performed acrobatics while levitated high off the ground.

Is was during this performance that I literally sat in my seat with my mouth slightly agape, watching in awe. While I was entertained by the shape diving, rope skipping and hand to hand acrobatics, it was during the hair suspension routine that I was immersed in mysticism. This performance felt magical, and defied and exceeded my expectations.

Volta. Photo by Benoit Z. Leroux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Benoit Z. Leroux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.

I’d be remiss if i didn’t mention the wonderful soundtrack that accompanied the brilliant performances. Anthony Gonzalez, the founding member of M83, composed the music of VOLTA, and you could hear his lush signature sound that blends synth pop and shoegaze throughout the evening.

Anthony is no stranger to telling a story through his music as his M83 albums are drenched in deeply rooted emotions/sentiments and always leaves the listener engulfed in a mood. His work on motion picture soundtracks also, I’m sure, came in handy when approached to engage in this project. The music of VOLTA, like the narrative of its protagonist, embodies a full range of emotions, and you could hear the care Anthony put into his craft to ensure that every note synched to the action being presented.

The album itself is not just “background music”. It is as essential to the action being presented to the audience. It is an integral aspect of the performance, and even without the live show, you can listen to the soundtrack album and be transported to another world for an hour as the 12 songs play. A stand alone M83 album, VOLTA’s soundtrack could very well be.

Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.

Having just amassed 1000 performances of VOLTA on February 4th, there’s no signs of this production slowing down anytime soon. The performances under the Big Top at Dodger Stadium will run through March 8th, then head to theOC Fair and Event Center in Costa Mesa March 18–April 19, 2020. Tickets, starting at $49, are available for purchase by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).

Be sure to experience some of the magic of VOLTA and attend an evening if the opportunity presents itself. You won’t be disappointed.

Follow VOLTA by Cirque du Soleil on Facebook and check out Cirque du Soleil’s Instagram.

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Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Patrice_Lamoureux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Patrice_Lamoureux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Benoit Z. Leroux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Benoit Z. Leroux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Michael_Kass. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Michael_Kass. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Patrice_Lamoureux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Patrice_Lamoureux. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Michael_Kass. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Michael_Kass. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Michael_Kass. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Michael_Kass. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.
Volta. Photo by Matt Beard. Costumes by Zaldy. Courtesy of Cirque Du Soleil. Used with permission.

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