Cirque du Soleil's Volta
Bradley Henderson talks circus life, expression and hoop diving.
Volta, Cirque du Soleil's latest production, tells the story of Waz, a game show contestant bound for a journey of extraordinary self-discovery, the tale translated by acrobats, shape divers, BMX riders and more. We sat down with Bradley Henderson, who was raised in San Francisco and trained at San Francisco’s Circus School and who joins Volta as a hoop diver. See it under the big top at AT&T Park through February 3. cirquedusoleil.com/volta
MM: What is the role of hoop divers in Volta?
BH: I would say hoop divers are considered transitional characters in the show. My character begins as a “Grey" and transforms into a “Free Spirit.” This morphing has a positive effect on the main character, Waz. Our hoop diving act is so important because it contributes to the story line, showing Waz’s social acceptance in finding himself and his own free spirit
MM: Did you learn anything new in this show?
BH: This is the first show where I’ve had the privilege of working with so many different types of artists. I was accustomed to working with smaller casts in more intimate settings. It is very refreshing to be surrounded by the vast array of talents that each artist brings to the table. I’ve also finally learned how to put makeup on properly. I had never had such an extensive makeup tutorial before I worked for this company. I’m definitely more confident with this new skill set.
MM: What makes Volta special?
BH: Volta is a stamp in time. It’s a show about now, a zeitgeist of the culture in the modern world. Though the characters have extravagant costumes and makeup, they deal with real human problems — distraction of competition in a capitalist society, ultra-reality of the digital world, navigating yourself through a tech maze in order to discover yourself and what you can contribute to this planet. Volta emancipates the artist and audience alike because it is so relatable to every human.