Bello’s art of the possible
He’s been called clumsy, a clown and the greatest athlete Madison Square Garden has ever seen.
But Bello Nock prefers comic daredevil.
His is not your average circus routine. Extreme stunts, juggling, music, storytelling and illusion are all part of his signature show; the seventh-generation entertainer is bringing it to the island next week.
“Why can’t the guy who makes you gasp also make you laugh?” he asked. “You’re guaranteed to see everything entertainment — whether it’s circus arts, singing, dancing, magic, grand illusion, the one-of-a-kind stunt, all mixed with comedy — and then that heart-touching legacy on generations.”
He grew up watching his father, the daredevil, and his mother, the dancer. Eugen and Aurelia Nock toured with the Ringling Brothers and opened for The Beatles.
“The family did daring stuff and that was the normal,” he recalled. “[She was] the beautiful ballerina dancer, the beauty. In a way that’s where my training came from, dad being the daredevil but my mom the contrast.”
By the time he was 7 years old he had been around the world three times.
So far this year the Sarasota, Florida native has crossed the International Date Line twice — four times since October — holding shows in Russia, Japan, Australia and the Philippines.
“With that much of a history and legacy of entertainers there was never any force to carry on the tradition. They just said you had to try it — for 30 or 40 years — and after that you’re free to make any decision you want,” he laughed.
His full name is Demetrius Alessandro Claudia Amadeus Bello Nock, but he chose Bello because his mother used it with affection.
The youngest of four boys, he described himself as “clumsy, red-haired, bucktoothed and pigeon-toed”.
“I was someone that got easily laughed at and I never let it bother me. In modern-day they would say they were picking on me or bullying me. I looked at it as attention.
“I never looked at the negative. I made people laugh.
Doctors say laughter is the best medicine, a happy person heals faster. Even a friend will say ‘laugh it off’. I’ve always had that happiness about me and it became part of who I am.”
Mr Nock has ADD and dyslexia. Despite the diagnosis, he never heard “no” or “that’s impossible”. “We live in a day and age where people think ‘if I can’t get it then the second try is impossible’,” he said.
“I don’t think anything is impossible, I think you just got to keep trying. I take what people say is impossible and I put an apostrophe in between the I and the M and call it I’m possible.”
The 47-year-old has been listed in the Guinness Book of World Records many times — from walking the high wire on a cruise ship to balancing for eight hours on a chair on a wire in Times Square.
He has also won circus competition awards from 15 countries. His “highest” accolade is a Gold Clown from the Monte Carlo Circus Festival in 2012.
“Some of them are endurance, some of them are dangerous, but they just happen to be who I am,” he said. “I’m the only American to ever win that award. It’s considered the Olympics or the Oscar of the circus.”
He also holds the Madison Square Garden record for their highest-attended family show.
“In that same week, the New York Daily News said that I’m arguably the best athlete to ever set foot in Madison Square Garden,” he said. “That’s such a big contrast from a clown. Muhammad Ali, Wayne Gretzky, Michael Jordan — how many athletes have played there?
“I couldn’t hold a candle to any one of those people in their event but I jump from trampolines, bounce from the sky. I fill the entire space at Madison Square Garden while still making people laugh or telling a story. I guess that’s my ability. What other people say is impossible, I do with a smile on my face.”
While the show is named after him, he insists he couldn’t do it alone. His wife, Jennifer, daughter, Annaliese, and brother, John, are among the many players on his team.
Mr Nock added: “We really see the payoff doing this kind of show. And when I say payoff it’s not the money.
“It really is the smiles on people’s faces and afterward where people say, ‘I didn’t know what to expect and it was so much more’ or ‘Seeing my grandfather laugh like he did when he was a kid ...’ or ‘Seeing us all together as a family have a good time ...’. That’s the biggest paycheque you can get.
“The New York Times said watching Bello is genuine gasps and belly laughs. That’s what I wanted to get. Four generations can laugh at the same joke.”
•See Bello Mania at the Ruth Seaton James Auditorium February 22 at 6.30pm, February 23rd at 7.30pm and February 24 at 11am, 3.30pm and 7.30pm. Purchase tickets on www.ptix.bm
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