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Time flies

Cirque du Soleil’s Volta goes to the extreme

Volta’s Daniela Bim is hair-raising. Photo credit: Patrice Lamoureux of Cirque du Soleil

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Volta is the Italian word for time; and, in the acrobatic hands of the French-Canadian theatrical franchise Cirque du Soleil, it most certainly flies. The company's 15th production to tour through Seattle draws inspiration from such "extreme" sports as bicycle motocross and bungee jumping. Volta follows a blue-coifed character named Waz, who has lost his mojo, played in dance scenes by Joseph Arrigo.

The story is difficult to follow, so forgive me if I paraphrase from a company press release. Waz's first attempt at recharging his mana finds him competing on The Mr. Wow Show, a series similar to, but even flashier than America's Got Talent. It appears all the show's contestants are extreme-sports enthusiasts, so Waz has difficulty popping out of the crowd. This narrative digression does, however, aid in justifying one of Volta's most jaw-dropping acts, "Rise & Shine." Performers bounce up, down, across and occasionally over a scaffolding called the Trampowall, both sides of which face horizontal trampolines. This team of adrenaline-fueled Tiggers somehow manages to avoid colliding with each other and the floor as the entire edifice rotates.

The story gets murky again as a stylized LED rainstorm breaks out. Waz deepens his relationship with roller-skating Ela. Dancers march around the circular stage in thrall to glowing cell-phone props. Andrey Kislitsin takes over the role of Waz for the first of two pantomime scenes, and Act 1 concludes with a dance number on motocross bicycles and a high-soaring flight on Swiss rings and bungee cords.

Act 2 is relatively short but, as usual for Cirque du Soleil, contains at least two showstoppers. Of particular note is Brazil's Danila Bim, who, near as I could tell, flies around the ring suspended only by her ponytail and the power of prayer. The show's grand finale includes a team of BMX trick riders who glide around and over a network of transparent backboards and ramps. There were a few minor spills on opening night, but significant injuries were suffered only by the audience's nerves.

I can't say I'd put Volta in the same exalted rank as Kurios or Luzia, but a second-tier Cirque du Soleil traveling show is still among the best live entertainments around.

VOLTA, 8 p.m., Tuesdays-Saturday; 1 p.m., Sunday, through Nov. 4, Marymoor Park, 6046 W. Lake Sammamish Parkway NE, Redmond, $39-$270, 877.924.7783

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