Nik Wallenda's Brave New Wonderland

Arts & Culture

Pictured: Ermiyas Muluken performing in the show, A Brave New Wonderland.

“I’ve been blessed with a career where now I don’t have to get invited to perform,” says Nik Wallenda, internationally acclaimed aerialist, 7th-generation member of the Flying Wallendas family and Sarasota native. “I’ve said many times that I’ve done the television specials and walked across Niagara Falls and the Grand Canyon, so that I can be back in the big top doing what I love. Now, I get to create these shows that are used to inspire and motivate others by doing what I love which is just a huge blessing.”

Wallenda, widely known as The King of the Wire, is back home in Sarasota to collaborate with the Circus Arts Conservatory on his latest show, A Brave New Wonderland. Wonderland, which premiered on November 18 and will last through December 31, is a holiday spectacle that will feature a blend of unique circus acts capped off with a high-wire act from the Wallenda family. “This is our playground – we get in the ring and this is our passion. This is what we love doing,” says Wallenda. “And it’s not just me, Johnny Rocket, our main comedian, his family has been performing for generations and my wife, Erendira, she comes from seven generations of performers on one side and eight on the other.”

The inspiration for Wonderland originates from Wallenda’s wife, Erendira, who came to him three years ago with the idea of a holiday show that could include all three of the major wintertime holidays: Christmas, Hanukkah and Kwanzaa. Through the use of multiple circus acts, the show follows the journey of a young orphan who “sneaks” into the circus and learns about the various holidays and cultures that celebrate them. Wonderland is meant to invoke the spirit of inclusivity, which to Wallenda, is what the circus is all about. “The circus has always been about welcoming everybody, no matter what your differences were,” says Wallenda. “It’s meant to bring everybody together and show the world that we can all love each other, no matter what we look like or act like, what we eat or how we think, we don’t have to agree with each other but we can still love each other. To be able to show that, in my hometown, with my family and friends through what I love, there’s no better feeling than that.”

November 18 through December 31, 195 University Town Drive, Sarasota, 941-355-9805.

Pictured: Ermiyas Muluken performing in the show, A Brave New Wonderland.

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