To Morgaine Rosenthal, an aerialist and unit manager with Cirque Italia, the traveling water circus is a unique show that audiences won’t be able to see anywhere else.
Cirque Italia, one of the only traveling water circus currently in the United States, premiered Thursday evening in the west parking lot of the Conestoga Mall near Napoli’s. The show continues through Sunday.
“This is a brand new show for us this year and it is a wide variety of death-defying circus acts mixed with our water stage, which is a dynamic water stage that has 35,000 gallons of water,” Rosenthal said. “The stage lifts up and we perform with the water. The show is centered on a tour through Italy and we are mixing this really unique circus discipline with our water stage. We are also including a little bit of Italian history.”
Rosenthal said Cirque Italia also features the Wheel of Death, where a performer walks on the inside and outside of a wheel that is higher than the performance tent.
Samantha Kulinski, an aerialist and face painter, said Cirque Italia is an intimate show, with the furthest seat only 40 feet away from the stage.
The Cirque Italia show features a number of performers from around the world showcasing a variety of talents.
Elena Stefanova, a native of Bulgaria, said she started doing gymnastics when she was six years old and won a competition to work at a circus in the United States. This is her seventh year with Cirque Italia.
In the shows, Stefanova said she hangs 30 feet in the air and does a number of tricks while in the air.
“When I get up there, I get to do different tricks and different stuff,” she said. “Also, I am controlling a hula hoop up there. Some people cannot even control a hula hoop on the ground and I am up there in the air doing all that.”
Hector “Polo” Pazaran is a crossbow performer who performs his act with his wife in the Cirque Italia shows. He said he shoots arrows to her while she holds balloons in her mouth and hands.
Pazaran said he comes from a family of circus performers and is a fifth-generation performer.
“I first started this act 14 years ago,” he said. “I started with my sister and that was the first time I did it. My uncle used to do this act, so he taught it to me. Then, I started doing this with my sister and later my wife when I got married.”
He added it took him about a year and a half to train for his act.
As performers who perform dangerous acts, do the Cirque Italia performers ever get nervous?
“I don’t get scared because I do this as my job,” Kulinski said. “While sometimes we may end up on autopilot, it is really important to engage in the moment and think about everything that I am doing. Generally, what is going through my head is to smile, point my toes, straighten my legs and just those little reminders about technique and form.”
Those wishing to purchase tickets to the Cirque Italia shows can do so at the on-site ticket trailer, online at cirqueitalia.com/tickets or by phone at (941) 704-8572. Calls and text messages are accepted.