cirque italiaA seventh generation circus performer, 15-year-old contortionist Juliet Monserrat Carabello Cavellini loves traveling and hanging out with her friends. And she loves the water. During the off season, she enjoys being near the water at her family’s Florida home. Lately, though, she gets to enjoy the water in an entirely different way. 

“For my act, I am surrounded by water and a beautiful fountain and lights,” she said. “I think that is pretty cool. It is so pretty and so much fun for the audience, too. It is my first time experiencing something like that. Other circuses are usually in a ring,”

 Cavellini is a part of Cirque Italia, a European-style circus with a twist. There is a tent, but that is where the similarities end. Instead of a ring (or several), the center of this tent has a tank filled with 35,000 gallons of water. In the center of the tank is a stage. And this is where Cavelini and the other performers work their magic entertaining the crowds. It’s not your typical circus, which is why she loves it so. Cirque Italia will be in Raleigh Sept. 2-5 and in Wilmington Sept. 8-11.

“We have everything you would expect to see at a circus except animals,” said Tim Orris, Cirque Italia spokesperson. “And inside the tent, the show feels very up close and personal. There are about 14 rows of stadium-style seating. So you are within 60 feet of everything that is going on at any time.” 

Orris added that this show is perfect for all ages. The beautiful stage and colorful lights appeal to most everyone and the acts are varied. 

“We have a mermaid that comes out of the water and does a trapeze act. We have a dinosaur act. The dinosaur works with a clown from Europe. The kids love it.”

 Other favorites include Cavelini’s contortions. “My best trick is when I go up on one arm and spin. That is my favorite and hardest trick because you have to concentrate. Most people think it is a machine making me turn, but it is my hand,” she said, adding that even though she performs in the circus, she still loves watching the other acts, too. 

“My personal favorite is the dinosaur. I think it brings a lot of excitement to the kids. I see their faces and they are very excited when the dinosaur comes out.”

Orris added that Cavelini’s act is always a crowd pleaser, too. “She does hand balancing and contortions. She can go onstage and stand on a stool, bend over backwards, balance on her hands and pick it up with her feet and put it on her head.”

While laser man bends light beams, and a guy named Gimmi sings in Italian as he stacks chairs and climbs up and balances on top of them, there are more traditional acts as well. “We have Argentinian jugglers. We have two clown acts. They are Spanish clowns, which means little makeup and a lot of humor and mime gestures. One of them uses a trampoline, too,” said Orris. 

Guests can look forward to an aerial hammock and hoop act performed by a former Olympic gymnast from Bulgaria, a straps act, a hand to hand duo, a trampoline act, bubbles and more. If anything, this circus is diverse. With performers hailing from all over the world, Orris sees the many cultures and personalities as one of the biggest strengths because they each bring a unique perspective to the stage. “That is the nice thing about circus people in our show,” he said. “We have 15 languages spoken here.”.

Find out more about Cirque Italia or purchase tickets at

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