Extreme Circus wows families with precarious stunts

Jessica  Rodrigo By Jessica Rodrigo

Aug. 4, 2015 at 10:06 p.m.
Updated Aug. 5, 2015 at 6 a.m.

Performer Enrique Valencia holds himself on top of a stack of chairs Tuesday at the Victoria Community Center arena.

Performer Enrique Valencia holds himself on top of a stack of chairs Tuesday at the Victoria Community Center arena.   Richard Hoang for The Victoria Advocate

Allison Murray cheered for the man in the silver sequin-and-white outfit from the top row of the bleachers.

Enrique Valencia, a seventh generation performer, steadied himself with his muscular arms as he poised his legs and feet above his head. He could almost touch the metal ceiling of the Victoria Community Center as he regained his footing atop a tower of five chair frames.

Eight-year-old Allison watched from the edge of her seat as he descended through the center of the frames and back down to the ground. Her grandmother, Mary Nell Murray, sat near her, enjoying the spectacle of the Extreme Circus performance at the center' arena.

"I thought this would be interesting to see," said the grandmother with five of her grandchildren.

The Extreme Circus arrived in the morning while the streets were free of traffic and probably when young Allison and many of the other children in the audience were still asleep.

By 4:30 a.m., the eight-member circus was preparing for their two shows at the arena and the last of their weeklong tour of Texas.

Before stopping in Victoria, the circus visited other Texas cities, including Wharton, Brenham, Beeville and Angleton. When they leave Wednesday, they'll head to Florida for more shows.

"We've seen thousands of people over the week," said Valencia before Tuesday's first show. "We're different from a regular circus. We all do a little bit of everything."

Katia Chrispin, an aerialist and motorist with the circus, said this was their first time in Victoria. The show is only about 2 years old, and the performers are still developing their style. The show includes two aerialists, jugglers, motorists, a comedy show and Valencia's balancing stunts.

"We're all about the extreme acts," she said.

During the comedy act with Tito Rok, 7-year-old Trevan Koenig was pulled onto the stage floor, where he helped make music with seven other audience members.

Trevan's grandmother, Cindy Unger, watched from the bleachers with his brother, Zain, as the group made music with handbells.

"It was awesome. He was so excited," said Unger about Trevan's participation.

The trio traveled from Inez to see the show after the boys saw the circus fliers with the motorcyclists and the four-wheelers.

"I'm excited about the motorcycles," said Trevan during the intermission.

Allison said Chrispin's and Lynn Valencia's aerial performances were her favorite part.

"I liked them both because they were so flexible," said Allison.

After the short break, the audience members headed back to the bleachers to watch as riders popped wheelies and Chrispin seemed to tango with the four-wheelers.

The Extreme Circus finale brought the audience of more than 60 people outside to the front of the Victoria Community Center, where the "Wheel of Death" was waiting for Valencia.

"Performing cancels out all the stress from life," he said before the show.

And as he climbed the metal structure, the crowd's excitement also soared.

His feet pushed the wheel through each revolution, and with each stumble, the crowd let out a gasp.

Valencia even jumped rope atop the metal wheel and made a full revolution with his face covered in a black cloth.

"It's hard to tell if he was really struggling or not," said grandmother Murray.

Shortly after Valencia was firmly planted on the ground, her grandson, Ian Gerick, 11, was settling down from the excitement.

"That was the coolest part because it was the most dangerous," he said.


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