Cirque Du Soleil’s Volta – Finding Freedom in You

AdcFv24gCirque Du Soleil’s Volta is the 17th show presented under the Big Top at AT&T park in San Francisco. This rendition has a more urban feel than previous shows due to its inclusion of stunts with BMX bikes and a game of double dutch. These are things that some of us have seen in our own neighborhoods and are always impressive. It triggered many in the audience to rise in applause.

The story revolves around Waz, a young blue-haired teenager who doesn’t seem to fit in with his peers. They walk around in unison with drab gray outfits, taking selfies, oblivious of their surroundings. Although, he also wears the same outfit, he can’t help but stick out because of his blue hair. 

After entering a contest where he shows off his bike skills, Waz ends up not only being mocked by them but also as a punchline in the newspaper. A critique in the lack of differentiation between mainstream media and viral content. He goes into a depression and we see him in his bedroom reminiscing of more innocent times with his mother, who encouraged and cultivated his free spirit.

Waz eventually breaks out of his funk when he meets a roller skater and her friends, bringing color to his drab life with their free spirits and human connection. He finds himself, that person he was with his mother, in them.

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One of the things that stands out at each Cirque show is the sheer joy that emanates from the stage from the performers. This certainly contributes to their success beyond the incredible stunts and costumes, and a reflection of this show’s story line. Being around joy can cultivate joy within oneself. Another hit that’s great for the whole family with an important message about judgement and self-awareness.

Cirque du Soleil

VOLTA is Cirque du Soleil’s 41st original production since 1984, and its 18th show presented under the Big Top. The company has brought wonder and delight to more than 190 million spectators in more than 450 cities on six continents. Cirque du Soleil Entertainment Group has close to 4,000 employees, including 1,400 performing artists from close to 60 different countries.

Performances are scheduled under the Big Top at AT&T Park in San Francisco from Thursday, November 15, 2018 through Sunday, February 3, 2019.

Tickets (starting at $54) by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783).

Swan Lake at the War Memorial Opera House

“Swan Lake” presented by the San Francisco Ballet is playing at the War Memorial Opera House until February 28. The company performed the first American production of Swan Lake in 1940, this version is choreographed by Helgi Tomasson.  He choreographed his first production of Swan Lake for SF Ballet in 1988 and in 2009, he created a new version. This is his first time returning since 2010.

It’s Prince Siegfried’s (Tiit Helimets) twenty-first birthday and his mom wants him to choose a wife. She announces that she will be giving a ball and has invited young princesses from all over Europe to attend and attempt at winning his heart. This leaves him pensive and while wandering at the lakeside he aims his arrow at a group of swans until one of them transforms into a beautiful woman, Odette (Yuan Yuan Tan). He learns that her and her friends have been placed under a spell by Von Rothbart (Alexander Reneff-Olson) in which they’re only in human form at night. The whimsical scenery transforms us into a world of beauty and grace especially when all the swans come out to perform together. Tan’s agility is stellar in each scene however, Helimets had a few offbeat moments.

Swan Lake at SFBallet

In the last two acts Odette’s identity, Odile, is reveled during the ball after Siegfried declares his loves for her and his mother approves. Rothbart and he battle it out and the Swans grieve for their queen. There’s still a way left to break the spell and rid the evil of Rothbart, love and death. The last scene takes place on top of the grand staircase  lit by the glow of the moon. The dramatic end will leave you in awe.

‘Swan Lake’ through Feb. 28 at the War Memorial Opera House, 301 Van Ness Ave., San Francisco

Tickets: $22-$322; 415-865-2000, www.sfballet.org