Going Out

5 Things to Know About Cirque du Soleil’s Volta

The circus is in town! Cirque du Soleil, the Montreal-based performance group (which is actually the largest theatrical production in the world, Wiki says), has opened in Gatineau. Their show Volta runs until August 27, bringing some completely awe-inspiring acts with it. Here, a primer on what to expect.

1. They’re bringing the Big Top! Since 1984 Cirque has been toting its tents around the world — the first, in blue and yellow stripes, could host 800 spectators. The big top that went up this week in Gatineau reflects the urban spirit of Volta with black and white stripes. It will welcome 2,500 guests when it opens next week.

2. It’s a first for Cirque: Gatineau has not yet hosted the international sensation that is Cirque du Soleil. (And yes, the Zibi site is technically on the Quebec side of the Chaudiere lands) A not-for-profit group called Place des Festivals, which brings large events to the Outaouais region, is working with the Windmill developers to bring Cirque and other such spectacles to Zibi in the coming years.

Photo by Patrice Lamoureux

3. The story of Volta is one that touches on “the adventurous spirit” and is inspired by the culture of adventure sports. But really, just sit back and enjoy the show. Trying to find a narrative among the jaw-dropping feats these artists pull off can get in the way of the Cirque experience.

4. M83 composed the score. His nostalgic synth pop, which has already bolstered Hollywood movies and Victoria’s Secret commercials, will give the show a wistful air, making it seem like something we’ve seen before but can’t quite place.

Photo by Patrice Lamoureux

5. For the first time in Cirque du Soleil history, BMX and parkour will be showcased. Kind of hard to believe, given the French roots of parkour (the sport that involves jumping and balancing was developed by a French naval officer in the early 1900s) and the prominence of unicycles and other wheeled playthings common to Cirque. If those feats inspire, you might want to try it yourself at Origins Parkour in Ottawa