Outgoing Temple Terrace Mayor Joe Affronti said he was astonished when he and his wife, Liz, took their grandson to Cirque Italia’s Act XII last week.
“It truly is a magical, modern, breathtaking and unforgettable performance as they say in their brochure,” he said.
Cirque Italia is a European traveling circus that is performing under a giant tent adjacent to the Museum of Science and Industry (MOSI) through Dec. 2.
The show brings together artists from across the world, including aerial acts, hand balancing acts, contortionists and hula-hoop acts. There are also other surprise performances that Chanté DeMoustes, Cirque Italia’s chief operating officer and producer, calls breathtaking.
“I wanted to bring a new element to this industry—the art of circus mixed with all forms of arts,” she said. “Most would say it was crazy, but I (envisioned) that each act would have their own uniqueness about them. This way it appeals to all ages.”
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Perhaps the most exciting element of the show is that the traveling stage is surrounded by 35,000 gallons of water with dancing fountains, which make the dangerous performances more thrilling, DeMoustes said.
Cirque Italia is focused on having its audience drawn into the performance, she added.
“We want kids and adults to feel the passion that we have for the arts,” DeMoustes said.
DeMoustes’ heritage is French and Greek, and she said she grew up around the arts. She was responsible for putting the production together—from the lighting and technical design to audio and visual design, to show development, costuming, and interior and exterior design. Manuel Rebecchi, the owner of the show, is from Italy and spent his childhood traveling across Europe with his aunt and her circus.
Cirque Italia formed in 2012—that’s why it’s called Act XII, DeMoustes said—and visited two locations under the name Cirque Aquatic before coming to Tampa. Rebecchi was approached by Venice Circus Arts Foundation to host the show to help save the old Ringling Circus Arena in Venice, FL, DeMoustes said. His team put the show together in less than a month.
“It turned out to be a huge success, especially in the amount of time they put it all together to help a foundation out,” DeMoustes said. “Cirque Italia is currently mapping out the touring schedule. We are looking to travel across Florida, then make our way across the U.S.”
The show runs Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 3:30 and 7:30 p.m.; and Sundays, 1 and 5 p.m. through Dec. 2. Doors open one hour prior to the show.
One of Rebecchi’s and DeMoustes’ goals was to put on an affordable performance, DeMoustes explained. Tickets range in price from $10 to $40.
Organizers also want to give back to the community by partnering with Metropolitan Ministries. Those who bring non-perishable food items will receive $5 off their ticket prices, and Cirque Italia will give 10 percent of this week’s ticket sales to Metropolitan Ministries.
“I would encourage everyone to go and take the kids,” Affronti said. “It’s a fun holiday thing to do.”
For more information, visit the Cirque Italia page on MOSI’s website.