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A peek inside the cirque

Paranormal Cirque coming to Las Cruces


Whether a child of a circus family in Mexico City or a as a little boy in Washington, D.C. who was inspired by “the most flexible man in the world,” the best part of the show is the same – making people happy.

“Even when there is only one person in the audience, when I see the great reaction, that person just made my day,” said Wheel of Death performer Luis Soto with the Paranormal Cirque.

“What I enjoy most is being able to give some people something to look forward to,” said show manager Ben Holland. “Now that we can come back and do something again, it gives people the opportunity to get excited again. You can see that on their faces when they come in smiling, laughing and screaming. It’s really a rewarding thing. You feel like you are giving back something.”

The Cirque Italia company is coming back to Las Cruces with a horror-themed twist, Paranormal Cirque, June 10-13, setting up in the parking area of Mesilla Valley Mall, 700 S. Telshor Blvd.

“You will fall into a parallel world and end up surrounded by monstrous creatures with hidden talents that will amaze you with the circus arts,” said public relations coordinator Sarah Kessler in a press release. “This show is not for the faint of heart. You may have to catch your breath or try to stop your heart from racing during this adrenaline-filled performance.”

Soto is from Mexico, the son of a circus family and the father of a 16-year-old daughter who is also a cirque performer, currently perfecting her Washington trapeze act.

“I love the circus life,” he said. “It is a unique way to live your life. You get to a meet lot of people, countries, places, cultures, languages, food, roads. That’s pretty much very exciting for me.”

Soto feels like he has one of the best jobs in the world. He is on stage seven minutes, then done with the day. But then he admits that behind those seven minutes, there is a lot of physical effort, training and sometimes you get hurt. But then, the show must go on, and you get up again.

“Sometimes, I get questions about what we eat and how we live,” he said. “I say we are just normal people, human beings. We do like any other kind of job -- if you are good, you get hired. We wake up like any other people – drink coffee, have a little cookie, maybe go to the mall and watch a movie.”

He said the show is so good, he can’t pick a favorite act out of it, because they are all great. Although he does admit the scariest piece is probably the contortionist who does things that you think must hurt with his body.

Holland is not only the general manager of the show, he does the sound and lights, and he is the contortionist, starting to practice when he was 8.

“From Washington D.C., I went to high school, thought ‘I don’t have money for college so I’m going to go away and join a circus’,” he said. “I got a little motorhome, went and found a circus and said, ‘Hey can I have a job please?’ and they said ‘yes.’”

Holland said while there may be a bit of a stigma about people who work for a circus, there are no hooligans and rascals there.

“Honestly being here and living here and being a part of a separate world for so long, I don’t think there are harder working people anywhere,” Holland said. “Right now there are 44 people, everybody multitasks.”

While the pandemic did shut the show down for 2 ½ months, they reopened with precautions and protections almost a year ago, in June of 2020. Holland said Cirque Italia was the last event that shut down when Covid hit and the first one that opened back up. When they opened back up, they were doing shows for 100 people, when usually they have audiences of up to 1,200 people. To make the bills, they had to do six or seven shows a day. Holland said his back hurts just thinking about it. But it all worked out, no Covid cases spread from the events and, none came up in the team either.

For more information visit www.paranormalcirque.com. Tickets can be purchased now starting at $10 depending on availability. Tickets can be purchased through the website or by calling the number below. The show is restricted with youth under 18 requiring an accompanying parent or guardian. This show has adult language and material.

Paranormal Cirque is offering a special promotion: $5 off any full priced ticket purchased in levels 1, 2, or 3. Call 941-704-8572 to get the promo code for your location.