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Circus Sarasota returns to Nathan Benderson Park for live performances

Nine international circus acts will perform under the Big Top at Nathan Benderson Park in Sarasota.

Bello Nick brings a combination of comedy and stunts to his act. Photo courtesy of Circus Arts Conservatory.
Bello Nick brings a combination of comedy and stunts to his act. Photo courtesy of Circus Arts Conservatory.
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Sarasota’s Bello Nock will bring his comedic flair and daredevil stunts back to the big top at Nathan Benderson Park. 

Nock has performed all around the world but he will be performing in his hometown for Circus Sarasota for the third time. 

“He brings some comedic antics where he gets involved with our audience as well as the daredevil, kind of scary, thrilling act into the show," said Jennifer Mitchell, the managing director of the Circus Arts Conservatory. "We get the biggest response from our audiences when Bello is featured in our show."

The Circus Arts Conservatory will feature nine acts to perform in its 24th Circus Sarasota that runs Feb. 11 through March 6 at Nathan Benderson Park. 

“We bring together the world’s greatest, most elite, oftentimes hardest working current athletes and artists together for an incredible lineup and show under the big top,” Mitchell said. “We’re the hometown circus. We are the circus that serves this community.”

Many of the acts have been featured on shows such as “America’s Got Talent,” “The Ellen DeGeneres Show,” “Good Morning America” and “The View.”

All proceeds from Circus Sarasota will benefit local artists, students, the elderly and the conservatory’s outreach programs. 

“Many performing arts organizations and the entertainment industry as a whole suffered tremendously during the pandemic,” Mitchell said. “We struggled. In our case at the Circus Arts Conservatory, it was important to us to keep our core team employed even though we were not putting on traditional shows. I encourage audiences to go out and support all performing arts organizations. It’s not only going to make you feel like you’ve done something for yourself, but you’ve done something for our community, our artists, our students and our outreach programs.”

Mitchell said stepping back under the big top will be invigorating after having to cancel last year’s Circus Sarasota due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We’re ready to connect our artists with our audiences again,” Mitchell said. “There’s something unique and magical about going into a big top, especially a one-ring European style like ours. No seat is more than 50 feet away from the artists. You can almost sometimes see the sweat beading on their heads.”

From trapeze artists to hand balancing acts to contortionists, Circus Sarasota has a variety of circus arts to showcase. 

“I think that’s the beauty of the circus arts,” Mitchell said. “You can see ballet in the air while also seeing somebody risk their life on an apparatus. The modulation of energy throughout a show is varied. We put that together purposefully so people feel like they’re on a journey through the circus arts. You’re seeing people push limitations and boundaries in a variety of different ways.” 

Circus Sarasota gives audiences an opportunity to see internationally known acts while the acts get to perform in the circus capital of the world, Mitchell said. 

“Many of these artists who are not local are interested in coming to work in Sarasota because of the heritage of this community,” Mitchell said. “We’re not just any city anywhere. We are internationally known for our incredible heritage. It’s both an honor for us as an organization to bring these artists here and an honor for them to come and work in a community that’s recognized for its heritage of the circus.”



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