Volta ~ Cirque du Soleil

Jordan Wright
July 28, 2019 

When Cirque du Soleil comes to town the excitement level soars as high as the big top that holds the exhilarating spectacle.  Just watching the white tents go up in Tysons Corner II foretells of acrobats and contortionists with feats of extreme agility, grace and power.  Volta tells the story of WAZ, an unusual blue-hued, feather-haired boy who seeks his place in the world.  His journey of self-discovery and ultimate transformation is backgrounded by video projections of his youth, a fondly remembered red bicycle, and dreams of his mother on their rural farm.

Mr Wow3 ~ Credit Matt Beard Costumes Zaldy

Guided by the roller-skating urchin, Ela, WAZ soon finds friends who live life to the fullest in an urban landscape fueled by street sports. When they encourage him to participate in their activities, he discovers all the adventures and fun a boy can have. Riding flatland tricks on BMX bicycles at high speed on ramps, tumbling through ever-higher hoops, skipping ropes double-dutch at warp speed and flying through the air on trapeze and high wire. Another thriller is the three-story tumbling competition on the ‘trampowall’.  In between the extraordinary feats on ladders, BMX and unicycle, there’s plenty of humor for children and adults, in particular a wonderfully silly scene portrayed in pantomime of a fraught day at the beach.  One of the most talked about feats may be Brazilian acrobat, Vanesa Ferreira Calado’s performance of hair suspension.  Yes, she flies through the air with the greatest of ease – held on solely by her hair!

VOLTA Mr Wow 011 Photo credit BenoitZ.Lero…customes Zaldy

The show is three hours of fascinating, ever-electrifying wow with moments of sweetness and visual storytelling set to an original score by Anthony Gonzalez, of the French electronic music project M83.  As described by the company, “Ultimate freedom comes with self-acceptance and liberation from the judgement of others.” In other words, let your freak flag fly high!

Unicycle ~ Credit Matt Beard ~ Costumes Zaldy

Costumes by Emmy Award designer Zaldy Goco, famed for his work with Lady Gaga, Michael Jackson, Gwen Stefani and RuPaul’s Drag Racerange from the subtle streetwear to candy-colored, rainbow-hued leotards for the acrobats, shiny golden capes, fur for Mr. WOW and delicate chiffons for the ballet dancer and electric violin player.

For those of us trying to remember when Cirque first came to town, their first local production was in 1988 with Cirque Réinventé.  The brand new Volta is the 21stproduction to visit the DC Metro area.

Through September 29that the Lerner Town Center at Tysons II, VA.  For tickets and information visit www.cirquedusoleil.com  or call 1-877-924-7783.

Luzia ~ A Waking Dream of Mexico ~ Cirque du Soleil

Jordan Wright
April 13, 2018 

In an edge-of-your-seat extravaganza that excels in spine-tingling, jaw-dropping acrobatics, Cirque du Soleil brings Luzia to Tysons Corner.  It’s not just my opinion, but comments from attendees who say they thought it was the best Cirque show they had ever seen.  Credit their policy for listening to audience feedback and regularly tweaking their shows to elicit the maximum reaction.  Artistic Director Grace Valdez, a Virginia native and graduate of George Mason University, has created a spectacular fantasy world to both thrill and inspire.

Spoken and sung entirely in Spanish, Luzia (a mashup of luz meaning light and lluvia meaning water) affords the artists a mellifluous, often romantic, dynamic in the slower numbers and an intense, Mach 10 immediacy in the daredevil performances.  Elements of Mexican culture are everywhere, from the opening number featuring a circular garden of bright orange marigolds, mariachis and tiny robots who water the flowers, to the larger than life Mexican creatures – armadillo, jaguar, crocodile, horse, iguana, fish and giant mariposa (butterfly) – that dance to the sounds of classical and pop as well as salsa, bolero and traditional Mexican ballads.  It is a feast for the eyes as well as the ears.

One of the most eye-popping features is a waterfall, cascading 50 feet from the very top of the tent.  Artists performing within the splash zone offer an added dimension of excitement as drops of water reflect the light and patterns are projected along the length of the column of water.

Eric, the ‘emcee’ is a comic figure, constantly thirsty and thwarted by the waterfall which shuts down whenever he tries to fill his cup.  All over the arena, amid the sounds of the organ grinder and the mariachis, you could hear the squeals of laughter and delight from the littlest ones – as contagious as the gasps at the physically precarious leaps, feats of tumbling, pole dancing and stupefying gymnastics from the acrobats (Benjamin on the aerial straps is a marvel! Did I mention he’s hot as a jalapeño?) as well as a lightning-quick juggler, the most accomplished I’ve ever beheld.

Photo credit: Jordan Wright

As birds and butterflies flutter abound, the feats of derring-do are too many to mention each one, but this reviewer was most captivated by contortionist, Aleksei Goloborodko, who twists his hyper-flexible body into knots so intricate even a sailor wouldn’t know how to undo him.  I was literally gape-mouthed, fanning myself with amazement at his elasticity.  Another act by five pretty, soaking wet girls in Mexican dresses is performed within the confines of ‘cyr wheels’, a sort of life-size hula hoop, and involves 360-degree spinning, often upside down.

Highly recommended. This fiesta is a true joy for young and old alike.  Don’t miss it!

Through June 17th under the white-and-gold Big Top at Tysons II, 8025 Galleria Drive. Tysons, VA 22102.  Tickets online at www.CirqueduSoleil.com.