Circus Vazquez is a gravity-defying show that you just don’t watch, but experience. Also known as Circo Hermanos Vazquez (and founded in Mexico City in 1969), Circus Vazquez opened in a large purple and blue tent outside the Woodbridge Center mall last weekend and continues through Oct. 10.
The group attracted a nearly full house, or tent, for the second of its three shows on Oct. 2, with young children and families present to see two hours of exciting, unique talents led by ringmaster Memo Vazquez.
As people trickled in to find their seats — arranged around a center circle where performers could easily be viewed by all — upbeat circus music as well as multi-colored lights, lasers and projections kept them company. Even at times when the lights were almost completely off, as workers switched out props between performances, it was never fully dark as children waved flashing light-up wands available for purchase before the show and during intermission. Nor were there moments of silence as the Circus Vazquez Band played music and accompanied certain acts with sound effects to dramatize their already sensational abilities.
The afternoon’s start was cued by the unannounced entrance of Fumagalli, an Italian clown who found his way to the spotlight again and again, showing off his antics in between acts. He quickly became a fan favorite (judging by the applause and laughs he consistently received) with slapstick comedy routines such as spitting water into the crowd and purposely failing at black magic. His interactions with children and the adults who accompanied them set the tone for Circus Vazquez’s theme of keeping the audience involved.
Within the first few minutes of the show, he pointed to different sections of the tent, encouraging each area of the audience to compete to see who could applaud the loudest. This instantly established a high-energy dynamic between spectators and the performers that wouldn’t die down until the last moment of the show.
Ukraine’s Bingo Group, whose members had to escape the country’s war in order to participate in the circus, started strong by coming in with lively choreography and eye-catching wardrobe. One member performed tricks on a unicycle, one did handstands on vertical bars, and another turned into a human, acrobatic pretzel. With so much going on simultaneously, it was difficult to figure out which member to focus on. But this was only a sneak peak at what the group would return to show off, later on.
Next came the Medini Xtreme Skaters, a brother-and-sister duo from Italy who required nothing but roller skates, a small, round table and straps. The entirety of their time consisted of them rapidly spinning in circles on the table while holding hands, the sister lifting off as her brother essentially tossed her around in the most visually appealing way one can imagine, all while still on skates.
A solo act by Carolina Vazquez followed: She remained suspended in the air as the swinging trapeze she balanced on got pulled higher and higher off the ground. At one point she even sat on a chair perched on the small horizontal bar.
Her segment of the show gave a taste of what members of the Bingo Group would come back to do later on. Two women in the group, clothed in matching white outfits, also utilized trapezes. This time, however, they incorporated acrobatics. They balanced on not only the trapezes, but also each other, to show off a series of splits, spins and swings.
But before that came a different kind of balancing act, one that involved what Circus Vazquez refers to as the Globe of Death, a name not far off considering the stunt consists of six motorcyclists, known as the X-Metal Riders, racing at full speed inside a giant metal orb. At times they turned upside down to do loops around one another.
The anxiety in the audience was high, and I found myself with a dropped jaw for a majority of the time, watching to see how the drivers would avoid hitting one another in a globe that didn’t give much room for them to distance themselves (and their machines) from each other. The payoff was high as the revving engines died down and the segment finished to a roar from the audience. The X-Metal Riders were easily a highlight of the day.
Met with less praise were the Super Tumblers, though these acrobats deserved much more hype than they received. Along with dance choreography to modern songs, the four men executed nonstop gymnastics stunts and created one of the most interactive experiences for the audience by calling up seven people to be successfully jumped over.
Amping up the audience’s energy was another of the show’s undeniable highlights, as well as its last act: Duo Vanegas on the Wheel of Wonder. The machine consists of two wheels on both sides of a moving fixture: one wheel for one half of the duo to run and spin the entire machine as the other jumped in and out of their own wheel, both of them high up in the air. They performed tricks such as jumping rope, running and even somersaulting, each time sticking the landing when they returned to their respective moving wheels.
Finally, a dance routine performed by the entire troupe served as a bittersweet farewell.
Words cannot do justice to a production this visually involved and audience-oriented.
Remaining performances by Circus Vazquez will take place outside the Woodbridge Center mall, Oct. 4-7 and 10 at 7:30 p.m., Oct. 8 at noon and 3 and 7 p.m. and Oct. 9 at noon and 3 and 6 p.m. Visit circusvazquez.com or ticketmaster.com.
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