Cirque du Soleil Volta Experience!

Cirque du Soleil Volta Experience! title=
Cirque du Soleil Volta Experience!
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By Robert Bernstein

Cirque du Soleil is a synthesis of circus, ballet, comedy and something indescribably unique. If you have seen Cirque du Soleil in Las Vegas, you have experienced the pinnacle of their artistry on stages that are reputed to be the most expensive stage sets in history.

But Cirque du Soleil also performs in traveling shows. Over Christmas break, we attended such a traveling show on the grounds of AT&T Park in San Francisco. It is called "Volta".

Here are my photos!

We took the street car part of the way. Then walked along the Bay. Then caught a ride with this pedi-cab guy for the final bit to the huge outdoor tents

As we waited for the show, we browsed their gift store, but we did not find anything that really grabbed us. They had a colorful shirt that is my style, but it was made of polyester which does not work for me!

But then the show began! The story centered on the Gray Phone Zombies who stare blankly at their phones all day long and dress in drab gray.

In contrast, this flamboyant golden character is the host of the MR WOW SHOW

This character WAZ tries out on the MR WOW SHOW and it is accidentally revealed that his hair is actually blue feathers. He is very ashamed.

But the story goes on with a message of growth and acceptance. WAZ becomes proud of his colorful head. And the Gray Phone Zombies learn to give up their phone addiction. They shed their gray, drab outfits and discover a colorful, joyful, active world that awaits them!

The first half has some cool bits. This guy rolled around in a Cyr Wheel, which you will see at our local Lucidity Festival.

As a unicyclist I very much appreciated this unicycle action!

And there was this trampoline act, with performers bouncing in and out of a structure on the side of the trampoline

But the second half after intermission got even more exciting. At high speed, one performer after another leaped through stacked hoops of varying sizes and ever-growing heights

One memorable highlight was this woman who was lifted up by her hair. At first she looked like a meditating Buddha floating in mid-air.

She then sailed ever higher and magically flew all around the tent until she disappeared at the top of the tent

These guys hung in the air and interacted with each other in a show of grace and strength

But the most memorable part of the entire show was the extraordinary finale BMX bicycle demonstration

At times there were a half-dozen or more bikers flying through the air at once, propelled from launch ramps

What impressed me was how challenging their stunts were. And how they performed each stunt so perfectly. As you may know, I do some circus arts, including some unicycling and juggling. In general, the most amazing juggling is rarely seen in the circus or on any stage. It is rare to see large numbers of objects juggled on stage. First, because few people appreciate how many objects is a lot to juggle! (Five is already a lot. Anything more than five is very extraordinary.)

But the main problem with doing challenging stunts is that it is hard to do them perfectly each time. And the audience gets upset if a stunt is not perfect. These BMX bikers were perfect.

This traveling show "Volta" continues to play in San Francisco through February 3. It plays in San Jose February 13 to March 24. Then it plays in San Diego April 3 to April 28

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