Bello Nock Comes Home



In the foreground a light pole barely missing the theater rafters stands center stage. At its base, Bello Nock, with his iconic foot-high hairstyle, stands looking up at the feat before him. He shakes hands with a fellow performer, smiles at the audience and embarks on his ascent. As Nock climbs the light post, the audience sees that it also sways from side to side, adding a troubling element to an already challenging proposition. In the background his family walks the high wire and spins in a German wheel, a prop resembling a circular ladder with the performer holding onto rungs inside. Finally, Nock makes his way to the top of the light pole, waving and smiling at a crowd of dropped jaws and applause.

Coming to the Historic Asolo Theatre next week, Nock’s latest show, IncrediBello, combines traditional and innovative acts for a show custom-made to the Asolo stage and what has been a precarious year for the industry. “Circus is ever-changing and never-changing at the same time,” says Nock. Audiences expect the traditional when they go to a circus show, but they also want to be wowed with something new, and performers like Nock are pressed to deliver on both. “And that’s what we are doing this year,” he says. Nock brings the circus classics but also puts a twist on them, making the stage his own with playful humor and daredevil stunts. “Its not just circus,” he says. “It’s singing, it’s dancing—there’s magic, illusion, stunts, beauty, grace. There are historic circus arts and then there are new ideas of circus arts.”

Excited to have his show at the Historic Asolo Theatre, Nock sees it as a chance to “show people that circus is alive and well,” and in his hometown no less. A seventh-generation performer born in Sarasota, Nock’s career has often kept him traveling, but IncrediBello gives him the chance to return to where it all started. Here, he can also showcase the passing down of his craft to the eighth generation—his daughter. “Circus is really about family. Eight generations of my family have been live entertainers and it really is part of the history and culture of circus to be able to pass down what you do from father to son. It’s rare that it goes as many generations as the Nocks have,” he says. “To perform in front of the Sarasota audience is a dream come true.”

IncrediBello debuts June 13 at the Historic Asolo Theatre. Adult tickets are $15 and kids are $12.  

Pictured: Bello Nock atop the sway pole. Photo courtesy of Feld Entertainment.

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