Circus Bella prepares to WOW Laguna in 4th annual show on June 8

By MARRIE STONE

Step right up, folks. Don’t be shy. Bring the kids and prepare to witness the wonderful, whimsical world of Circus Bella on Saturday, June 8 in Bluebird Park. Two shows will take place at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. They’re sure to blow your minds while warming your hearts.

Circus is becoming synonymous with summer in Laguna. Every year since 2021, Circus Bella has taken center stage in Bluebird Park. This year, they’re preparing to wow the crowd with their all new 2024 show, “WOW!”

After last year’s banana costume bonanza, Director Abigail Munn wondered how she could top it. “The world needs an injection of joy, compassion and things we can agree on,” Munn said. “An explosion of love. That’s the feeling we’re trying to capture.”

Circus Bella delivers a perfect family show for audiences ages one to 100. The crowd will be treated to clowns and contortionists, acrobats and jugglers, a hooper, a trapeze artist and a Rola Bola solo act.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Emil Alex

Circus Bella will perform two free shows in Bluebird Park on Saturday, June 8 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

If you’ve seen Circus Bella in the past, many of their performers will feel familiar to you. But they’ve each upped their circus game, incorporating more ensemble work and specialized routines. They’re also debuting two new acts, one of which we’ll keep a surprise.

But the Rola Bola act is new, as is the performer – Ori Quesada – who began training and performing at age 7 under Master Lu Yi and Teacher Xia Ke Min in traditional Chinese acrobatics. “It’s a rare act,” Munn said. “Nobody does these kinds of tricks.” Quesada has had the chance to perfect it over his 25-year career, lending a new note to this year’s show.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Emil Alex

Ori Doria Quesada performing his Rola Bola act

“Part of our message, especially built into the ensemble pieces, is celebrating diversity. We’ve got an incredibly diverse company – gay, straight, trans, every color of the rainbow – so you see this beautiful company of people working together. Rather than talk about [diversity and collaboration], our audience sees it and experiences it. That’s important,” Munn said. “We’re trying to create the world I want to live in.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Emil Alex

Strongman Toni Cannon

It takes a village to create a circus. Beyond the six-piece band, there are nine performers and a sizable production crew responsible for making the show happen. Performers include Toni Cannon (strong man), Jamie Coventry (clown), Joel Herzfeld (hand balancer), Jefferson Freire (juggling and unicycle), Dwoira Galilea (aerial hoop), Elise Hing (contortion), Natasha Kaluza (clown and hula hooper) and Calvin Kai Ku (clown).

“Clowns may be ‘third responders,’ but our job is no less important,” Coventry said. “We pour our hearts into our art in the hopes that we’ll provide lasting joy for those that spend an afternoon outside with the circus.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Daisy Rose Coby

Circus Bella clowns bring the ambience and spark to every show

And no better place than Bluebird Park. “It’s such a beautiful park,” said Munn. “I have this memory of standing up on the hill, looking down at the circus set with the flowers and trees. It’s circus in paradise. Maybe it sounds a little hippie-dippy, but you can feel the energy of different parks. That ground has good vibes.”

Speaking of good vibes, we can’t talk about Circus Bella without talking about the band. For some circuses, the band is background (if it exists at all). For Bella, the band plays an equal role in the show. There’s a saying in Circus Bella: “Be brave, be safe, be funny, be better than the band.” For Munn, a live band was essential for Circus Bella to function. The All-Star band includes Rob Reich (bandleader, accordion, keyboard and glockenspiel), Ian Carey (trumpet), Kasey Knudsen (saxophone), Michael Pinkham (percussion) and Jonathan Seiberlich (tuba). They’re even arriving with all new costumes this year.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Emil Alex

Circus Bella All-Star band, led by Rob Reich (center)

There are few live performances that are equally satisfying for kids and adults alike. That straddle cultures, language and time. That cut across geographical and generational boundaries alike. “What I think is amazing about the circus is that it’s so universal,” said Munn. “A whole family can go to the show and every person in that line-up is going to find something that’s enjoyable about the experience.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Brandon Irving

Circus Bella Director Abigail Munn

Circus Bella will perform in Bluebird Park on Saturday, June 8 at 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. All performances are free, though donations are appreciated. To support Circus Bella and learn more about their organization, visit www.circusbella.org.

The event is a City of Laguna Beach program and funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


Slide
Slide
Slide 3
Slide 4


Slide

Slide

Slide

Send this to a friend