Paranormal Cirque will bring acrobats, motorcycle stunts, comedy, magic and more to Winston-Salem | Arts & Theater
Paranormal Cirque, billed by its producer as ‘a wicked European-style performance,’ will return to the Winston-Salem fairgrounds to Winston Salem March 24-27.
“It’s two hours of jaw-dropping, racing and blood-pumping fun,” said Ben Holland, unit director and contortionist for Paranormal Cirque.
It’s the kind of show where people can expect to laugh, be scared and then cover their eyes and watch the show through their fingers.
Holland added that the show was everything people would expect at the circus.
“You have the acrobats and the crazy motorcycle stunts, the comedy and the magic,” he said. “It’s fun, live entertainment, but we put a different spin on it – like Halloween horror theme.”
Paranormal Circus tours the country all year round.
“It’s not just for Halloween,” Holland said. “People can come, and it can be Halloween whenever they want. This year, it’s Halloween all the time.
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The show is produced by Cirque Italia, a Sarasota, Florida-based entertainment troupe that stages various productions in a marquee. It features artists from around the world, including Argentina, Belarus, China, Italy, Mexico, Peru and Senegal.
Paranormal Cirque was last in Winston-Salem in 2018, the same year it first opened, from Florida.
“We are always happy to host unique performances,” said Robert Mulhearn, Director of Public Gathering Facilities for the City of Winston-Salem. “We do over 100 events a year and this is one of those events as an example of the different types of events we do throughout the year.”
For its current show, Paranormal Cirque is offering different offerings from its latest performances in town.
“We have a lot of new stuff,” Holland said. “We have made changes and updates. Now that he is four years old, we have truly reduced our work to a science. Everything goes smoothly every night.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, Paranormal Cirque had to close for only two and a half months.
“We are very blessed and blessed to have such a dedicated team who are so good at making sure we follow all county restrictions so we can stay open,” he said.
Holland said they did six or seven shows a day, allowing 100 or 150 people, who were spaced out, for each show.
“We had people wiping a handrail every five minutes and such, but we managed to do it.”
Before the show, people will experience a haunted maze as they are led to their seats.
“It’s kind of like a miniature haunted house,” Holland said. “We pass people through, and people jump up and try to scare you. It’s pretty cool.
He said viewers can expect to see something they’ve never seen before.
“We bring a lot of original stuff,” he said.
Take a walker, for example.
“We took that and said, ‘That’s not cool enough. We have to make it cooler for people,” Holland said. “So we took a motorcycle and put it on the highwire. This guy (Ismael Alejandro Vargas from Mexico) is going up, up, up in the sky, about 30 feet above the ground, balancing on a motorcycle.
Holland said Paranormal Cirque tries to take all of its performances to the next level.
“We try to make it extreme because we want to give people something they’ve never seen before – something they can talk about. Something to go out and experience with their friends and family,” he said.
Holland is also part of the show. A self-taught contortionist, he has been training since childhood and has worked professionally as a contortionist for eight years.
“I’m removing all my bones and hoping they all come back,” he said. “So far, so good.”
Another performer is Argentina Portugal from Argentina.
“That’s his real name,” Holland said. “It says on his birth certificate and everything…I asked him to show me his driver’s license, and it says, ‘Argentina Portugal.'”
An internationally renowned artist, Portugal has worked for circuses around the world.
“She ties her hair up and then she hooks it on this winch, and it pulls her up in the air,” Holland said. “She is hanging by her hair – from the top of the tent. There is no safety net. There is nothing. She’s hanging by her hair and she’s swinging in the air above everyone’s head.