Photo: BenoitZ

Cirque du Soleil VOLTA is written and directed by Bastien Alexandre and with Jean Guibert as the director of creation. International electronic group M83, previously announced as composer and musical director, brings his space-age future pop sound to the Cirque du Soleil stage for the first time ever. The show will be presented under the Big Top at the Tampa Greyhound Track starting February 14, 2018 through March 18. The name VOLTA refers to a sudden about-face, a change in emotion or idea often used in poetry. It also speaks to the jolt of energy delivered through the show.

VOLTA tells a spellbinding story about the freedom to choose and the thrill of blazing your own trail. Inspired in part by the adventurous spirit that fuels the culture of action sports, the show weaves the adrenaline rush of acrobatics into a visually striking world driven by a stirring melodic score.

VOLTA is a story of transformation. It is about being true to oneself, fulfilling one’s true potential, and the power of the group to make that possible. It celebrates freedom as a movement.

WAZ, a popular gameshow host, has lost touch with his inner self in the pursuit of fame, pulling others in the trap of instant glory. But as doubt sets in, WAZ is enlightened by childhood memories as he encounters “free spirits” who open doors to his inner soul he has long kept shut. On his high-voltage search for meaning, will WAZ find the courage to relinquish his fame, reconnect with his true self, and shine bright?

It was a pleasure to sit down with Joey Arrigo, who plays the title role of WAZ, for this exclusive Hotspots interview.

At what age did you start taking dance and when did you realize it would be your career?

I started taking dance lessons at the age of 3, as it was always something I loved and it fueled my soul. I got my first job as a dancer when I was 13 in a commercial for Shoe Carnival, and I started working professionally at the age of 16.  I knew right there and then that I was a dancer for life.

How did you get cast in your first Cirque show?

I auditioned, as there was an open dance call. Cirque was something I always wanted to be a part of. There were 2000 people who showed up and 18 of us made it to the end. We then went into their data base. Eight months later I got a call to fill into for someone and shortly after that it turned into a permanent contract.

What’s the difference between Kooza (your first Cirque show) and Volta?

There are many huge differences. Kooza was made around traditional circus art. It is very Cirque. Volta is one of the newest shows and its main focus is to push past the traditional Cirque shows and take a step out of their comfort zone. The energy is completely different. This show is full of spirit and youth.

You were also a part of the dance company “Shaping Sound.” How did that come about and are you still friendly with Travis and Nick?

I got involved in Shaping Sounds as I took classes with all the guys who were the owners. When I became available they asked me if I would join their company, and take the show on tour. Of course I said yes, and I had a great time performing with them. The leaps and bounds they have taken over the past couple years is amazing. I would have stayeth them, but Cirque was my dream.

Anytime I see Travis and/or Nick I am so happy, and they are proud of the move I made. I hope we can dance together again.

You have worked closely with famed choreographer Mia Michaels. How was that experience?

I was 16 when we first started working together. I was her assistant on SYTYCD Canada. I was her canvas to paint on before she presented routines to the contestants. It was a great learning experience to boost myself into the professional world. We ended up becoming good friends. She is clearly an artist, always growing and always changing. It was an absolute privilege working for her.

Of the multiple national dance titles you have won, is there one that’s your favorite?

Back in 2010 there was a competition called JUMP, and I won the national champion for that. It’s now called the dance awards, and it’s a super prestigious honor. It means you display traits of a dancer that not everyone has. My talent, my passion, and my drive was noticed and I was so honored to win that award.

What do you do for fun?

When I am not at the circus I do a lot of relaxing my body. I also like to take advantage of the cities we are performing in. I can’t wait to get back to downtown Miami, and I have heard a lot about Wilton Manors and I can’t wait to come see it.

What should the Central Florida audiences expect from VOLTA?

Expect a show that will leave them inspired and energized. It gives a positive message of self-acceptance and love. We have a cast that is so excited to perform and love their job so much.

To find out more about Joey, check him out on social media: Facebook or Instagram/Joeyarrigo.

Tickets are available to purchase now by visiting cirquedusoleil.com/volta or calling 1-877-9CIRQUE (1-877-924-7783). Tickets start at $37.