Cirque Meets The X Games: Under The Big Top At Soldier Field

BMX rider talks about VOLTA, playing at Solider Field through July 6

Lisa Fielding
June 13, 2019 - 1:41 pm

WBBM Newsradio/Lisa Fielding

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- When AJ Anaya was in high school, he decided he wanted to ride his bike for a living.

"I started riding in the ninth grade and I was really into it," he said. "My brother and I used to watch the X Games and we were big fans. I used to watch BMX Live. At that moment I knew that was something I wanted to do for the rest of my life."

After several years on the competitive circuit, he's now one of five daredevils that perform as part of VOLTA, created by Cirque du Soliel in 2017.

"VOLTA is the first time that they've had freestyle BMX in it. We're definitely proud to be a part of that. We are more on the extreme sports aspect of things. It's a really cool thing to be able to say we're the first crew to do that," Anaya said.

The stage is transformed into a BMX bike park. Anaya said the act depends on synchronicity.

VOLTA, Cirque du Soliel's big top show
Photo provided by Cirque du Soliel

"You have to be in sync so you don't run into each other. There's always a person in front of you, someone behind you, someone going over you. It's intense. On the stage, it's so small from what we're used to riding. It's a choreographed act. We are so close to the people, if anything goes wrong at any point, we could go into the crowd," he laughed. "But we don't."

Anaya has been traveling with VOLTA since its inception.

"We're able to stay in each city anywhere from one to three months. We have quite a bit of time off so we get to check out the city. I love Chicago," he said.

VOLTA, Cirque du Soliel's big top show
Photo provided by Cirque du Soliel

VOLTA showcases 50 performers and features roller skaters, jump ropers, unicycle acrobats, a trampoline act, dancers, aerialists, tumblers and much more.

"We're mixing the extreme sports audience with the Cirque audience," Anaya said.

VOLTA is under the big top in the South Parking Lot of Soldier Field until July 6.