Cirque Italia: a splash of fun in Mankato

Big tents were set up outside the River Hills Mall for Cirque Italia’s water circus show from Sept. 23-26. Sarah Kessler, the Public Relations and Media Representative of Cirque Italia shared, “We have the only travelling water stages in the world.” 

The water theatrics include a water curtain programmed with designs, a moat, and numerous fountains. Kessler elaborated, “Our water circus stages hold 35 thousand gallons of water.”

The inspiration behind this design is credited to Manuel Rebecchi, an innovative Italian immigrant, who developed the concept from a love of water and a goal to remain animal-free while still offering something in addition to the performers. 

The stage appears normal upon arrival at the tent, but during the show the magic is revealed. 

A section of the stage rises and the moat becomes visible. The water curtain begins to fall and the fountains spring into action, leaving the audience in awe. Throughout the show, the stage is manipulated in relation to the act, sometimes showing water theatrics, and other times appearing as a normal stage. 

Performers from around the globe are staffed by Cirque Italia to provide an array of acts, including arial, balancing, tightrope, and more. 

Kessler explained how performers fall into the art: “Most of our performers, it’s a generational thing. So they grow up in it.” 

Cirque Italia has performers that are 6th, 7th, and 8th generational performers. However, in addition to their extravagant stunts, they also work as staff before and after shows. As Kesser said, “So, the person in the ticket office that you’re your ticket from could be the same person flying across the stage in the show.” 

The performances in Mankato over the past weekend had a 50’s and 60’s theme, building an entrancing aesthetic through poodle skirts and a jukebox. The show even included a humorous Elvis impersonation, mastering Rock and Roll, successfully distracting between set swaps, and encouraging audience participation.

Theatrics and skits such as the Elvis impersonation acted as a both smooth and entertaining transition between acts, and costume changes kept the reappearing performers appearing fresh to the audience. Such aspects drew in such a large crowd that more shows were scheduled due to popular demand. 

Children poured out after showing with toys and treats in their hands, covered in face paintings and smiles. 

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