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CLICK HERE if you are having trouble viewing these photos on a mobile device. Locals had better get use to seeing a big gray and white circus tent in the Bay Area — because it’s going to be around for quite some time. That’s because Cirque du Soleil is coming to town, set to open a lengthy stay under big tops at AT&T Park in San Francisco (Nov. 15-Feb. 3) and then at the Santa Clara County Fairgrounds in San Jose (Feb. 13-March 24). All told, it will be a nearly four-month stay in the Bay Area for the new Cirque du Soleil production “Volta.”.
Here’s what you need to know about this show, which is the 41st original Cirque du Soleil production – and 18th under the big top – since the Montreal-based company formed in 1984, It starts off in one of the most terrifying settings imaginable, Yes, of course, we’re talking about (shudder!) an American-style TV talent competition, “What we have is a storyline where we have Waz, one of the main characters, pointe shoe shops who is on a TV show — a contest a bit like ‘America’s Got Talent,’” explains Yannick Spierkel, company manager for “Volta.”..
Only Waz has a secret that he’s attempting to keep from everyone. He doesn’t want folks to learn that he’s a bit different than others on the TV show. “He ends up hiding his difference, which is portrayed in the show by his blue feather hair,” Spierkel explains. But others soon learn the truth. “At the beginning of the show, you are on the set of this TV show and during the shooting of that show, his blue feather hair is revealed to the entire nation,” Spierkel says. “And he’s very, very shy about it.”.
That revelation serves to set “Volta” in motion, as Waz learns to embrace and even celebrate the very thing he pointe shoe shops once tried to hide, “He was ridiculed when he was young about this, so he always tried to hide it,” Spierkel says, “Now, he’s being forced to reveal it and accept it.”, There’s always some type of message to take away from a Cirque du Soleil show, But the company doesn’t always spell it out for folks, preferring to leave it a bit more open for interpretation, But that’s not really the case with “Volta,” which really underscores the message “to believe in yourself and accept who you are.”..
“The entire show is, in fact, this journey to self acceptance and being true to himself,” Spierkel says. Waz learns this message with some help from some very intriguing characters he meets along the way. “(He’s joined by) the Free Spirits, a family of characters in the show,” Spierkel says. “By the end of the show, he’s going to be one of them — he’s going to be a Free Spirit.”. The storyline and message may be inspirational, but let’s face it, many people are drawn to Cirque du Soleil primarily for the high-flying stunts and nearly imaginable feats of strength, agility, skill and, of course, acrobatics.
And, yes, you’ll get plenty of those in “Volta.” And in this case, they sort of add to the story’s themes, “(The show is) inspired by street sports and the ideology of action sports — where you want to surpass yourself, believe in yourself, in order to do extraordinary things,” Spierkel says, Some of those extraordinary things will be accomplished on two wheels, as “the entire stage turns into a BMX park, where riders pointe shoe shops are performing,” Spierkel says, There will also be a trampoline act, hoop/shape diving and what should be a very memorable mix of two widely different athletic/artistic realms..
“We have, at some point, a beautiful duel between a flatland BMX rider and a classical ballerina,” Spierkel says. “They do a kind of a dance-duel onstage.”. There’s an even an act focused on skipping. Yes, we said skipping. “That’s a sport,” Spierkel confirms. “There are competitions around the world about skipping. So, we have five performers who do a team skipping act to open the show.”. The live soundtrack for a typical Cirque du Soleil show would probably be best categorized as “world music,” Spierkel says.
This one, however, is a bit different, “I would say that this is more electronic music,” Spierkel says, That makes sense, given that the “Volta” score was composed by Anthony Gonzalez of the popular French electronic music project M83, The acclaimed group formed in 2001 and went on to pointe shoe shops release several albums, such as 2011’s celebrated “Hurry Up, We’re Dreaming,” which was nominated for a Grammy for best alternative music album and spawned the popular single “Midnight City.”..