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Big names under the Big Top

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  • | 11:00 p.m. February 3, 2015
Nik Wallenda
Nik Wallenda
  • Arts + Culture
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An integral part of Sarasota’s performing arts season is the winter show by Circus Sarasota, “Fearless,” which runs Feb. 6 through Feb. 22 in the big top at Nathan Benderson Park. The professional branch of the Circus Arts Conservatory, Circus Sarasota has enraptured audiences for 66 years with international circus performers who have spent decades mastering their unique art form. Before the big show, we share the stats of some of the circus’ well-known all-stars: Nik Wallenda, Dolly Jacobs-Reis, Rafael Palacios and Joseph Dominick Bauer.

Number years performing: 34
Number of Guinness World Records: Nine
Longest distance traversed: 1,500 feet over the Grand Canyon
Next long-distance performance: Wisconsin State Fair in August
Number of members in The Flying Wallendas family: 16
Youngest Flying Wallenda: 14 years old
Oldest Flying Wallenda: 70 years old
Hours of practice the week before a performance: 30 to 40
Number of performers for his performance at ‘Fearless’: Seven, including his mother, Deliah, who hasn’t walked the tightrope with her family since 2001.

Number of years performing: 40 and 47, respectively
Name of act: Aerial pas de deux called “Wings of Love”
Hours of practice the week before a performance: 15
Age when Palacios first started performing with his family: 3
Professional companies with which Jacobs has worked: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, The Big Apple Circus and Circus Sarasota
Both have earned honors at: The International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. Members of both Jacobs’ and Palacios’ families have been inducted into Sarasota’s Ring of Fame.

Number of years performing: 42, starting when he was 6
Family legacy: He is an eighth-generation circus performer
Other circus skills: Equestrian master
Signature act: Cirque du Soliel’s “Wheel of Death”
Number of horses in his production: Eight
Hours of practice the week before a performance: 35
Origins of ringmaster suit: Handmade in Las Vegas
Number of other ringmasters
in his family: Zero


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