Cirque de Soleil is coming to the Del Mar Fairgrounds, bringing along a big top tent and street sport-inspired acts like BMX, double dutch and acrobatics in its newest show VOLTA.
Started in 2017, VOLTA is a modern take on past Cirque shows that tells the story of freedom through self-acceptance. With seven acts, 29 performers and 25 different countries represented, the show features everything from aerial artists swinging in the sky to shape divers diving through hoops to multiple BMX riders flying down ramps at the same time.
Ahmahd Thomas — who performs shape diving and Swiss rings —has been with VOLTA since it first began, and said the modern elements and overall message are what make it unique.
“What makes this show different from other shows I’ve seen is that it has new elements like extreme sports,” said Thomas, who has been doing gymnastics since he was 6 years old. “We’ve got the high energy sports, and we’ve got the different style of music. This one is electronic music, which is more modern compared to the normal theatrical sounds of a circus.
“And this one has also got a really strong story. So I really like the fact that we’re able not only just do some good stuff to watch but that there’s a story to follow as well.”
The story of VOLTA follows Waz, a game show contestant who is disconnected from his true self because he doesn’t like how different he looks. As he tries to find self-acceptance through gaining fame and validation from others, he finds that notoriety isn’t the answer. The show has a message that Thomas says not only can speak to almost anyone who watches, but to the performers themselves.
“This show is about acceptance and not worrying about people pressuring you,” he said. “Our cast is a very open cast. We’re supposed to portray free-spirited people, and that’s what we are.”
AJ Anaya, one of the BMX riders, said that it’s more than just a show to the performers; it’s a lifestyle.
"This is probably the best combination BMX can have with a show like Cirque du Soleil because we’re free spirits and we’re free spirits by nature,” he said. "The fact that we’re able to do what we love to do on the stage is the best dream job we could ever ask for.”
Cirque du Soleil’s VOLTA opens under the big top at the Del Mar Fairgrounds on April 3 and runs until May 5. Tickets start at $49 and can be purchased online at cirquedusoleil.com/volta.