If you still haven’t seen this year’s version of Circus Sarasota, Red, White & Bello!, under the Big Top at Benderson Park, you have a few more chances before the end of the run, Feb. 28.
As always, it will be worth your while to see circus folk—performers who have dedicated their lives to doing things day after day most of us would never attempt—cheerfully risk falls, fire and poodle bites to bring you thrills.
Sarasota’s own Bello Nock is both headliner—high atop the spinning Wheel of Destiny with daughter Annaliese—and clown, from the beginning of the show, where he places his entire body inside a giant yellow balloon, to his familiar but still fun bit with a “volunteer’”from the audience employing a balloon arrow and apple in a William Tell routine. Easy enough to see why kids—and grownups—love him.
But Bello is joined by a host of other talent (almost too much perhaps; the show runs nearly 2 ½ hours with intermission, which may tire the youngest—or oldest— audience members). Sylvia Zerbini and her nine Arabian horses, carefully decorated and lit, provide moments of grace and strength; Mario Berousek defends his title of world’s fastest juggler (and who can doubt it when you see the speed with which he dispatches three, then four, then five, then six, then seven pins); and the four Pellegrini Brothers draw an almost full standing O after demonstrating that gravity does not exist for them in their balancing act.
The Dominguez Poodle Review is entertaining if not exactly fresh, as those smart pooches jump hurdles and through hoops of fire. Foot juggler Deborah Maloku, contortionist Shannon Monni, performing her moves inside a clear ball suspended above the floor, and bicyclist Marc Giely, who manages to make his two wheels do anything he wants them to, are all new to the show and earn their applause.
And, of course, circus co-founder Dolly Jacobs and her partner, Rafael Palacios, soaring to Wings of Love, make you forget all the skill and years of practice that go into that seemingly effortless act.
Bello and his daughter (aided by his son Zebulon) close the show with a Wheel of Destiny act that can’t help but make you shudder even as young Annaliese blithely skips rope at the peak of the contraption. Try not to close your eyes.
For tickets to Red, White & Bello!, call 355-9805 or go to circusarts.org.