Cirque-tacular brings record-holding acrobats to the Wheeler Opera House
IF YOU GO …
Who: Acrobats of Cirque-tacular
Where: Wheeler Opera House
When: Saturday, Dec. 29, 4:30 & 7:30 p.m.
How much: $28-$45
Tickets: Wheeler box office; aspenshowtix.com
Tad Emptage didn’t quite run away with the circus 12 years ago. He started his own.
The founder and producer of Cirque-tacular began performing onstage at age 2, traveling with his parents in the musical theater. He followed them into the professional ranks at 15. By age 30, he was on tour with a troupe of Olympic gymnasts and circus perfomers. That’s where the seed for Cirque-tacular, which brings its acrobatics show to the Wheeler Opera House for two performances Saturday, started to sprout.
During off time on the road, the circus performers would teach Emptage tricks and tumbling moves. By the time the tour ended and he returned to the New York theater, he was hooked.
“I decided I was going to join the circus,” he recalled in a recent phone interview. “Only to realize that if I was going to get to do this thing that I loved, I would have to start it myself.”
So he found an acrobatic partner, started performing and began recruiting a coterie of aerialists, acrobats, contortionists, hula-hoopers, jugglers, magicians, motorcyclists, stilt-walkers and tumblers to join him.
“One by one, we started collecting interesting, quirky, strange people that we adore,” he said. “And before we knew it a circus was born.”
Since then his Cirque-tacular — with a variety of productions under its umbrella — has performed in 70 countries.
The group coming to the Wheeler this weekend is comprised of six acrobats.
“They put on an entire circus show through those six people,” Emptage said. “So you’re going to see aerial acrobatics, ground acrobatics, hula hoops, special acts, object manipulations — it’s a great cast.”
Among these half-dozen performers, they hold five Guinness world records including the fastest recorded “Spanish web,” during which a performer spins on an aerial silk.
The show aims to provide both an escape and demonstration of some transcendent human ability that’s open to all viewers.
“Grandmother and granddaughter can enjoy the same show together,” Emptage said. “Circus is something that appeals across all age groups and demographics. It’s a visual art form, so it’s not dependent on being an English speaker. It’s for all people to enjoy.”
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