Circus Vargas is more than just your average circus show, and its owners and performers are out to prove that, one gaping mouth at a time.
“We say Circus Vargas is not a show, it’s an experience,” says producer and co-owner Katya Quiroga.
Circus Vargas will make its next appearance in the Valley during dates through November 24, with daredevils, magic, comedy and jugglers in tow.The show has been a tradition for spectacle-hungry families for more than four decades, but is a family tradition for the performers themselves. Circus Vargas has been kept alive by Quiroga and her husband through the years.
“My family has a long history with Circus Vargas. When my parents were working in the show, I was only ten years old. I met my husband when he was a fl ying trapeze artist and I was a juggler. For us, it held a lot of childhood memories.”
After several years with the circus, the couple left and traveled the world. The original owners retired and the circus had closed.
“Fifteen years had gone by and Circus Vargas came up for sale,” Quiroga says. “We talked with our family and we did not want Circus Vargas to disappear. We wanted to ensure that the traditional circus stayed alive.”
The new Circus Vargas keeps the old tradition alive while adding some unique new elements, complete with lights, sounds and falling snow. Every year the couple searches for the best acts in the world.
“Along with fun, we want to have an amazing show, with world-class acts. We travel the world looking for the best of the best and Agostino is one of those acts,” Quiroga says.
Daredevil Agostino Provenzano Maltese performs the “Wheel of Death” act at each performance. The terrifyingly thrilling display takes place high atop the 30-foot cold steel revolving pendulum in a daring duel with destiny and gravity with no harnesses or safety nets.
“My family has been in the circus for years,” Maltese says. “When I was a kid (13 years old) I saw a friend do [the Wheel of Death]act and I said ‘I want to do that.’”
Maltese doesn’t let the danger scare him. Instead, he feeds off the energy of the crowd.
“I try to make the audience feel what I do and feel my adrenaline. I love when people get involved. I look at them, I make them scream and yell. As a performer, that is our pay. When you are on stage and the audience screams, that is a beautiful thing.”
Prior to each performance, audiences are invited to arrive 30-45 minutes early to enjoy an interactive, pre-show experience. Afterwards, performers offer a meet and greet, take photos and sign autographs. Audience members can ask questions and get a feeling of what Circus Vargas is all about.
“Circus Vargas is about coming and having a good time. You can take your 2-year-old, or your 80-year-old grandma, and it’s very up close and personal.”
Saturday, November 1 through Monday, November 3, times vary, Desert Sky Mall, 7611 W. Thomas Road, Phoenix
Thursday, November 6 through Monday, November 10, times vary, Superstition Springs Mall, 6555 E. Southern Avenue, Mesa
Thursday, November 13 through Monday, November 24, times vary, Pavilions at Talking Stick, 9180 E. Indian Bend Road, Scottsdale