It’s spooky, it’s sexy and it’s a thrilling taste of Halloween in August. Paranormal Cirque is bringing its haunting blend of theater, circus and cabaret to Rapid City.
“People need a break from real life, especially when life is so scary,” said Ben Holland, the show’s manager. “This is a fun kind of scary. … People come here and scream and shout and have a great time with their friends.”
Paranormal Cirque’s shows will be at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 12 and 13, 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 14, and 5:30 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. Aug. 15, in a climate-controlled tent in Rushmore Mall’s parking lot. Tickets range from $10 to $50 and are on sale now; go to paranormalcirque.com/. Purchasing tickets in advance is recommended. Tickets can be purchased at Paranormal Cirque’s box office at the Rushmore Mall beginning Aug. 10.
Paranormal Cirque’s shows contain mature language and content and are intended for audiences 18 and older. Teens ages 13 to 17 may attend only if accompanied by an adult.
For the safety of its performers and audiences, Paranormal Cirque is enforcing COVID-19 guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control. Masks are mandated for those attending the show, seating will be socially distanced, and hand sanitizer stations will be set up throughout the show tent.
Paranormal Cirque invites audiences to escape the stresses of reality by entering an innovative horror story. Paranormal Cirque describes itself as a parallel world where audiences will be surrounded by monstrous creatures with hidden talents and adrenaline-filled performances. No animals are used in the show.
Expect the unexpected — starting with the cirque’s pre-show, which opens an hour before show time with a haunted labyrinth. Think of a haunted house, with spooky characters waiting around every corner.
“There’s an ambulance turned into a hot dog cart. There are hearses outside and skeletons and skulls. The decorations are great. They really amped it up,” said Sarah Kessler, public relations and media representative for Cirque Entertainment. “If people aren’t into being scared, they can skip that and go to the show.”
The show blends such traditional cirque performances as aerial silks and hair hang with magic, illusion, dancers, comedy and the 40-foot-high Wheel of Death. Paranormal Cirque even has a stunt appropriate for the Sturgis rally — a motorcycle ridden on a high wire.
“It’s a horror theme so the performers’ costumes are zombies, vampires, Halloweeny stuff. There’s such a huge following from people that love everything Halloween,” Kessler said.
This cirque production may give audiences unique opportunities to meet the performers. The show’s cast of 19 fill multiple roles on and off stage.
“The person you see taking your tickets might be the same person you see flying through the air,” Kessler said.
Show manager Holland also runs lighting and audio and performs as a contortionist.
“When I was really young, I saw a (contortionist) on TV and I thought it was the coolest thing in the world. I thought, ‘I’ve got to be like that guy.’ I taught myself over a long time, little by little,” Holland said.
After high school he decided to get a job. “The only thing I know how to do is dislocate my bones,” he said, so he called a circus and asked for a job. That was six years ago, and Holland has been with Paranormal Cirque’s parent company, Cirque Italia, for more than two years.
“Being able to perform, you get to bring something nice to people, something they get to look forward to,” Holland said.
Paranormal Cirque is a production of Cirque Italia, a Florida-based company that brings together some of the best artists from all over the world. Cirque Italia’s creator and CEO Manuel Rebecchi was born and raised in Milan, Italy, and he is carrying on his family’s legacy. His great-aunt, Moira Orfei, ran some of the most successful traveling circuses in Europe and is considered the queen of the Italian circus. Her sons now run her traveling circuses in Europe.
Like Rebecchi, many Paranormal Cirque cast members come from families with multiple generations of circus performers, Kessler said.
“It’s a lifestyle. That’s their passion. That’s what they love to do,” she said.