Local students see a different world inside the Globe of Death.
| 11:34 p.m. January 13, 2016
After Cyndel Flores completed a few warm-up loops on her dirt bike, speeding around a mesh sphere sideways and upside down, she stopped and looked at her mom.
“Did I give you my phone? It’s not in my pocket,” she said. “Maybe it fell out?”
Obviously, Cyndel is a normal teenager when she isn’t defying gravity in the Globe of Death.
The Lakewood Ranch High School senior, along with her brother, Volorian, a 13-year-old Nolan Middle School student, and 5-year-old sister, Ziana, are next in line to form the 10th generation of a circus family.
The pedigree can be traced through both their father, Ricardo Flores, who learned thrill acts from his father, and their mother, Arcelia, who comes from a line of aerobatic trapeze performers called the Flying Gaonas.
When Cyndel and Volorian aren’t on the road with their families, they’re normal kids who go to school, do their homework and have to help around the house with chores.
Ricardo Flores said he and his wife decided they wanted their three children to go to a traditional school rather than take online classes or be homeschooled.
“We wanted them to experience homecoming, prom, walking down the halls with their friends,” he said.
When they perform at a show, they are stars. The Myakka City residents, who also competed on America’s Got Talent five years ago, sign autographs, take photos with fans and perform their stunts. Afterward, they go back to their recreational vehicle and do homework.
“They live a Miley Cyrus/Hannah Montana kind of life, the old Miley Cyrus,” Ricardo Flores said with a laugh.
While his children fly around a metal globe or balance on their motorcycles on top of a high wire, Ricardo said he was more scared when Cyndel started driving by herself.
“There’s a controlled danger (to the acts),” he said. “You learn to do it safely, that’s why we practice.”
Cyndel said she doesn’t remember being scared the first time she rode in the globe for an audience at 6 years old. Now 18, she wants to go to college, but also enjoys performing.
Her biggest motivation is that it’s an unusual act for a woman to do.
“When I turned 13, I saw a shirt that said ‘Anything boys can do I can do better,’” she said. “I thought that was neat. Everyone can play volleyball, but not everyone can do what I do.”
Volorian has many hobbies outside of work, such as playing football and basketball. The middle-schooler said he has thought about playing interscholastic sports, but decided he would miss too much practice when he was out on the road performing.
“The road is more fun, it’s educational,” he said. “I’d rather have the road, but it’s a difficult choice.”
The family travels throughout the year, usually for a week to 10 days at a time.
On the road, Ricardo and Arcelia try to incorporate as many educational activities as they can, like visiting historical sites or world landmarks.
Their kids can zip around those attractions at a much slower speed.