Small casts, big talent and imagination for odd new human feats are the heart of Cirque-Tacular.
The small troupe returns to the Wheeler Opera House with its latest production, the winter-themed “Shimmer,” on Thursday.
The new show from the popular New York-based touring circus includes aerialists and acrobats in holiday scenes and a ballerina performing in a snow globe, acrobats along with contortionists, jugglers, hula hoopers and the like.
Cirque-Tacular founder Tad Emptage began performing onstage at age 2, traveling with his parents in the musical theater. He followed them into the professional ranks at 15 and, by age 30, he was on tour with a troupe of Olympic gymnasts and circus performers. That’s where the seed for Cirque-tacular was planted.
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 before a Wheeler performance last year. “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 and started recruiting a coterie of circus-folk to join him.
“One by one, we started collecting interesting, quirky, strange people who we adore,” he said. “And before we knew it a circus was born.”
In the 13 years since, this scrappy circus crew of Cirque-Tacular has performed in 70 countries and made it into the Guinness Book of World Records several times (for feats such as most spins in 30 seconds on a Spanish web) while crafting a show aimed, as Emptage puts it, at “from ages 5 to 105.”