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The Electrifying And Breathtaking 'VOLTA' 
Cirque du Soleil brings its newest show to Chicago and delivers a captivating brand of excitement for all ages
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Brett Beiner Photography
The Otaku Double Dutchers highlight a new level to rope skipping as part of the thrilling acts that comprise Cirque du Soleil's presentation of "VOLTA." 
  THE jaw-dropping entertainment that has become the signature of the Cirque du Soleil franchise continues to get better and better, and the newest show, "VOLTA," builds on a bit of the past while introducing new fast and furious performances that create several edge-of-your-seat moments.
   The pure energy in "VOLTA" is nonstop as it showcases the performers’ raw skill and talent that astonishes and amazes under the Big Top at Soldier Field through July 6. There are aerialists, acrobats, shape-divers and bike riders who perform astounding acrobatics on wheels. And it all comes together to highlight the theme of a change in direction. In this Cirque du Soleil presentation, written by Bastien Alexandre, there is a backstory that focuses on a young game show contestant, Waz, who wants to fit in and is on a journey to find himself. This story of transformation, which relies on the idea of being true to oneself, results in the freedom that comes with self-acceptance. “Volta is an homage to the free spirit in all of us,” says Rob Bollinger, acrobatic performance designer. “The show is about [realizing] what makes you happy and finding it.”
   That theme is present throughout the show, but Cirque presentations are primarily about the thrilling acts performed by a number of international entertainers, who showcase the ultimate in athleticism, timing and precision. Whether it’s the wow factor produced by the trampoline acts, the beauty of the floor dances, the comedy delivered by the clown, dazzling unicyclists or rope skippers raising the level of Double Dutch, "VOLTA," in the Cirque du Soleil tradition, is spellbinding. For many observers, one particular eye-opening performance is that of Danila Bim, a Brazilian who specializes in the art of hair suspension, where she is raised high above the stage by her hair. The question from observers throughout the arena was “How does she do it?”
   That’s just one of the amazing feats that has been associated with the circus over the years. Although "VOLTA" is Cirque du Soleil’s newest presentation, Cirque du Soleil is by no means new to Chicago. This year, 2019, marks the 30th anniversary of the circus’ appearance in the city. In 1989, the show appeared in Chicago for the first time with the presentation of "CIRQUE RÉINVENTÉ," the touring company’s second show that began in 1987. "VOLTA" is the 25th Cirque du Soleil production to visit the Chicago area, and Chicago is the 10th USA city to host "VOLTA."
   As it has been in other Cirque productions, the action in "VOLTA" is performed in association with a mesmerizing musical score that has gained its own level of popularity among the crowds.  Although some attendees mistakenly believe the music is computer-generated, the accompanying electronic music by Anthony Gonzalez is sung mostly by Eric DeShan, who periodically steps into the spotlight.
   "VOLTA" is Cirque du Soleil’s 41st original production since 1984. As other Cirque productions have done through the years, "VOLTA" is built on a foundation of fun, excitement and unequaled family-friendly entertainment. But along with the nonstop action, it also delivers a life-enhancing message that could impact the future of those who––young and older––are searching for direction.
Tickets, starting at $49, are available for purchase by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). 
The unicyclists and the hair-suspending acts are popular among "VOLTA" attendees.
Photographs by Michael Kass