An outstanding Circus Sarasota show welcomes star Bello Nock back home.
By Kay Kipling
Longtime Sarasotans always look forward to the opening of Circus Sarasota each winter, and this year’s show is no exception. In fact, it’s a more exciting production than usual, thanks in large part to the presence of Sarasota native Bello Nock, a longtime star with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus who has, as the Circus Sarasota promos have it, come home.
There’s no doubt, while other performers do very well here, too, that Bello, with his instantly identifiable shock of hair, wide smile and amazing acrobatic abilities, is the star of this show. That’s evident from the beginning, when he comes on encased in a colorful rolling cube and eventually pops out wearing a fat suit of sorts and boogie-ing to the music. It’s hard to even explain why what he’s doing is funny; it just is.
He comes back several times during the show, with a comedy trampoline act, an audience participation bit that involves shooting a balloon apple off the head of a “volunteer” with an invisible arrow, and finally, joining Pablo Rodriguez on the wheel high above the crowd. This last act is the sort of thing that really does have audience members holding their collective breath. But impressive as Bello is during this big daredevil act, he’s just as good in smaller moments, when he’s just sitting and interacting briefly with the crowd while watching someone else in the ring. He’s got star power in spades.
That’s not to ignore the other circus performers, several of whom are new this season. Among them: the lovely and delicate-looking Hong Wang with an amazing foot juggling act, and young (we mean young, only 14) contortionist Alexey Goloborodko, whose body just cannot be made of the same substance as most of us. The way he stretches and moves, with two ordinary folding chairs as his props, is simply unbelievable.
David Rosaire’s perky Pekes are still a hit, even if you’ve seen them jumping through hoops and climbing into the mini-stagecoach before. The same holds true for quick-change artists the Smirnovs, back once more, and for the aerial performances of longtime duo Dolly Jacobs and Yuri Rjkov. Overall, this season’s Circus Sarasota is one of the most satisfying in its history.