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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Shrine Circus brings family fun to Consol

Bello Nock will dazzle audiences with tricks at the all new Shrine Circus show, coming to Consol Energy Center for the first time. Preview Thursday, April 07, 2011 By Sara Bauknecht, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette When the Shrine Circus rolls into Consol Energy Center on Friday, there will be plenty of flipping, flopping, climbing and somersaulting -- and that's just from daredevil clown Bello Nock. Spider-Man, Green Goblin and a crew of trained animals and performers from around the world will join him at the first Shrine Circus to take place at the new arena. The new show blends traditional circus acts, such as ballerinas, acrobats and clowns, with some unexpected twists. Bello -- dubbed "America's Best Clown" by Time magazine and the first American to win the Monte Carlo Circus Festival's prestigious Gold Clown award -- considers his act to be one of the surprises. "People have a hard time putting their finger on what Bello is," said the 42-year-old seventh-generation circus artist. "I act like the ringmaster, but I don't talk. I make people laugh, but I don't look like a clown." For his costume, he trades in the typical poofy curls and red rubber nose for more natural makeup and bright orange hair that stands straight up as if he put his finger in an electrical socket. "I'm not your stereotypical clown," he said. Instead, he views his character as a mix between Jackie Chan and Charlie Chaplin or Harpo Marx and Evel Knievel -- the latter was a good friend of Bello's father. Pittsburgh crowds may find Bello climbing up a 90-foot pole or bungee jumping from rafters. He even has some stunts planned with his signature foot-high bicycle. Audience participation also will be a big part of the two-hour spectacle. "The greatest thing about that is no one knows what's going to happen," he said. Bello's antics will be only a fraction of the fun. Tigers, elephants and an assortment of thrill acts will color the show. Bello praises the circus for its ability to bring families together. But what makes the Shrine Circus special is that the money it raises supports Shriners Hospitals, which have provided free medical care for more than 850,000 children. Although there are no Shriners hospitals in Pittsburgh, doctors from Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh of UPMC provide orthopaedic care to patients at the Shiners Hospitals for Children in Erie. The money spent at the circus also goes to another good cause -- bringing joy to thousands of spectators. "The smile on the faces of the families who came to see the show, that's like money in the bank for me," he said. "They can have lifelong memories at the circus."Read more: http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/11097/1137373-325.stm#ixzz1IpkFrZZ2

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