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Meet the Talent behind the Big Apple Circus

Performers

Johnny Rockett

A 7th generation entertainer, Johnny Rockett’s heritage dates back to the early years of the European circus when his grandfather dreamed of performing in America and so, made the long trip from Ireland to the United States of America. Once he arrived in America, his grandfather performed for many years on vaudeville before returning to his circus routes in the United States. Smiley Daly Sr. then passed down his knowledge of physical comedy to his son Smiley Daly Jr. who passed it down to his son and that’s when Johnny Rockett was born.

Johnny Rockett has been crowned the clown prince of comedy by proving himself to be one of the top physical comics in the circus world today. He prides himself on his uniqueness and individuality and his ability to entertain all generations making millions of people laugh around the world with his unique style of comedy.

As an entertainer, Johnny Rockett considers himself to be a comedic daredevil and describes himself as Charlie Chaplin and Evel Knievel put together. Or for the younger generation, if you took Jim Carrey and Travis Pastrana you would have yourself a Johnny Rockett.

Johnny Rockett is the type of entertainer that can have the audience laughing so hard that their eyes are watering and their sides are hurting. Then moments later, have the same audience sitting on the edge of their seat in disbelief as they witness his hilarious antics and crazy stunts. Put simply, he is the total package one of the most versatile entertainers in the circus world today.

Alan Silva

Born in 1982 in Sao Paulo Brazil, Alan Jones Silva is the 6th generation of a circus family. At the age of 4, Alan started a training program with his father and grandfather who have both spent their entire lives performing for the circus. At the age of 6, he made his debut in the circus performing floor acrobatics and clown acts.

By age 10, Alan had learned the trapeze, which he performed for three more years. Later, Alan followed in his grandfather's footsteps and began performing Maromba, which is similar to a high wire act except the stunts are performed on a rope suspended between springs. However, Alan loved to be in the air. He returned to the air in 1998 when he changed his act to an Aerial Acrobatic Flying Silks and after two years was invited to audition for a new Cirque du Soleil show. In 2003, Alan was asked to join Cirque du Soleil's new production where Alan met his wife Bethany and had two beautiful children, a boy named Luken and a girl named Giana.

The entire Silva family appeared on TV when Alan was invited to audition for America’s Got Talent, season 15. Alan was a top five finalist, performing various aerial acts from Silks to Aerial Chains to Bungee straps. He is not only known for his acrobatic talent but he can also dance, play instruments and sing and act. Alan was invited to appear in the movie Beowulf by Robert Zemeckis and in TV shows such as Legacies by Warner Brothers as well as many other TV appearances in Brazil.

Alan’s wish is to carry on the family legacy and pass it to his kids. He wants to use the circus, TV and other media platforms to inspire, motivate and give hope to people all over the world- letting everyone know that nothing is impossible.

Elli Huber

Elli is an internationally acclaimed aerialist and singer with a background in dance, on-screen acting and music. She trained worldwide at Aerialize - Sydney Aerial Theatre in Australia, The Beijing International Arts School in China and Ecole Leotard in Montreal, Canada with world-renowned trapeze coach Victor Fomine.

Working around the globe, mostly with her unique act of singing whilst doing aerial acrobatics, Elli has performed with prestigious companies including Australia's Silver's Circus and Circus Rio, Mexico's Circo Atayde, New York’s Hideaway Circus, Carnival Cruises touring the South Pacific, Pacha - Sydney, Swiss Dream Circus in both Canada & Malaysia, Italy’s Le Cirque - with the world’s top performers, Zippos Circus Winter Wonderland in London, Cirque Starlight touring Switzerland, Festival Arte Migrante in Italy and most recently performed at Dinner for Fun in Germany.

In 2010 at the Sydney Festival, Elli was part of a team that won ‘The Sydney Festival Award for outstanding Independent Artist’ as well as ‘The Bytecraft Exceptional Achievement Award in Production and Design.’ Later, in 2015, she won the Aerial Allstars circus arts competition, taking first place in Australia and New Zealand. In 2017, she received a Bronze Medal as well as a special juror's choice award from the Australian Circus Festival.

Elli completed a Set and Costume Design course at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) and received her BA from Sydney University, majoring in Sculpture, Performance and Installation. Most of her costumes are of her own conception.

Elli has also worked alongside some of the world’s most distinguished companies such as Foxtel, Tony & Guy, YouTube, Bvlgari, Toyota and Sony, consulting, choreographing and performing for clients internationally. She has also appeared in television shows such as X-Factor, Australia’s next top model, Germany’s got Talent and many TVC commercials like the V8 Supercars featuring pop artist P!nk.

Diana Vedyashkina

Diana was born into a circus family. Her parents were bear trainers. After she finished school, Diana entered the theater academy, where she studied for a year, but quickly decided to go back to the circus. At the age of 18, she had an idea to create a dog act, but wanted to make it unique and something unusual no one had ever seen. She then decided to get dachshunds and the rest, as they say, is history.

The premiere of her act took place in 2002 was an instant success. This resulted in Diana and her dogs performing at some of the best circus shows and festivals in the world such as, Bouglione, Ringling Bros, Circus Finlandia, Gifford’s in the UK, to name but a few. In addition to performing around the globe, Diana also studied at St. Petersburg State University and later became a professional journalist. She has worked on TV and has been published in a variety of magazines and newspapers.

Sisay Abebe & Yabu

The Yab Brothers, a.k.a. Yabsera and Abebe, first met at Circus Ethiopia where Abebe had been training for many years. They immediately hit it off and began performing locally as a team. Soon after, international companies came calling, including Little Big Shots USA and invited them to pair up with two other artists to create a unique act.

This dynamic duo trains five hours a day, six days a week, and as a result has reached a new peak in performance. On their days off, they like watching movies and hanging out with friends. More than anything, the two love traveling the world to perform for audiences of all ages.

Katya Nikiforova

Born into a family of non-circus artists in a small town in Ukraine, as a child Katya performed gymnastics and dancing. At the age of 10, she studied at her first circus studio. She instantly fell in love with the art and by the age of 16 followed her older sister and went to Kyiv Circus Academy to become a professional circus artist. With her sister as her inspiration, Katya loved performing to the point where a full day of practice was not difficult for her. Everything was new and so interesting. Katya and her sister are the first generation of circus performers in the family.

Some 11 years later, Katya is still enjoying performing as a professional on stage. Her goal has always been to grow as an artist. She has performed in Italias Got Talent as well as Germany’s Got Talent and her videos have been shown all around the world. Katya left juggling for four years, because she fell in love with an acrobat with whom she worked together at the Cirque Du Soleil. Today, however, she is happy to be back in the world of juggling.

James Gonzales

James Eulises González Correa was born in La Cumbre Valle, Colombia 38 years ago. When he was a mere 8 years old, he began performing in his father's circus known as the Hermanos Gonzalez Circus. At the age of 18, James left the family circus to work at the Circo Royal Dumbar, Circo De Mexico and Circo Waterland – all in Colombia. By the time he was 24, James joined the Atayde Hermanos Circus in Mexico, working there from 2007 to 2010, then at the Circo Hermanos Vazquez from 2011 to 2013.

In 2012, James performed at the Festival De Figueras España where he won the Silver Award. The following year, he won the Bronze Award at the Wuaqiao China Festival. At the end of 2013, James joined the Cirque Du Soleil, where he toured with the Kurios show across Canada, the United States, Japan, Singapore and Australia until 2020. He is currently part of Mexico’s Circus of Fear.

Matt Johnson

Matt was originally born and raised in the UK and moved to Canada in 1998 where he now lives with his wife, daughters and little dog Yogi :)

He was first bitten by the Escape over 30 years ago at 15 years old and spent many years looking up to and studying the Escape Artist master Harry Houdini.

At just 18 years old Matt started to travel the world performing and perfecting his craft. Since then he has traveled the
globe performing in exotic locations such as Japan, Dubai, Argentina, Panama, Saudi Arabia, Mexico, Australia, Bermuda, and throughout Europe. He has performed on multiple tv shows, at theaters, on cruise ships and for many of the world's largest companies. He has toured with the hit show The Illusionists direct from Broadway and his performances have been viewed in more than 60 countries around the world!

Matt is recognized globally for his dangerous escapes. He has been featured on hit TV shows around the world including America's Got Talent & Britain's Got Talent. Since appearing on BGT in 2018 his appearanceshave gone viral gaining Matt over 500 MILLION views on You Tube! Matt was also voted the #1 most dangerous act on BGT and the #2 most viewed act!

Add to this appearances on other hit TV shows around the world including The World's Best, The Late Late Show with James Corden, Penn & Teller Fool Us, Man Vs History, Tu Si Que Vales in Rome, Wizard Wars, The Lorraine Show and many more and you have a performer that brings a wealth of talent and experience to every heart stopping performance!

Irina Akimova

Born in 1982, Irina Akimova’s path to performance began at the tender age of 13 when she studied at the Circus of Youth "Art-Alle" in Marks, Russia. Even as a youngster, she was focused on reaching her goal as an artist, always training and always improving. When not rehearsing, she used her free time to teach younger children the skills she was learning.

Her act known as "Game with Hula-Hoops" is a highly entertaining piece that blends fascinating tricks with flexibility at an incredible pace, making it a sensation at venues everywhere. Irina's performances are unforgettable and delight both children and grown-ups. Not a traditional act with hula-hoops, her performance is amusing, fast, fascinating and most of all, beautiful. The movement of hoops at high speeds highlights her unique artistry and creates a holiday atmosphere of boundless charm.

Circus "Art-Alle" has performed on many concert stages in Russia and at many cultural events and circus festivals. Irina was an active participant in performances in the Moscow circus named after Nikulin in Tsvetnoy bulvar, in the Moscow Palace of Youth, Moscow Palace of Congresses.

Erendira Vazquez Wallenda

Erendira Vazquez Wallenda’s performing heritage is circus royalty. An 8th generation performer, her roots can be traced to one of the oldest circuses in all of Australia, the Ashton Family Circus. On her father's side, the Vazquez Family is world renowned as the first family to complete the quadruple somersault on the flying trapeze.

Performing since the age of 5 years old, Erendira has charmed audiences with her beauty and grace as a performer. Her unmatched aerial artisty allowed her to become the featured female performer on the 137th edition of Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey’s Greatest Show on Earth. In addition to her aerial cloudswing, lyra, and chiffon routines, she has thrilled audiences on the soaring 70’ high sway pole and the high wire, performing alongside her husband Nik Wallenda.

In 2017, she set a new world record performing an aerial lyra routine from beneath a helicopter over the raging waters of Niagara Falls, finishing by hanging by her toes and finaly, her teeth, nearly 300’ above the waters below. In 2020, she broke her own world record, again hanging by her teeth 1800’ above the active Masaya Volcano. In addition to her performance portfolio, Erendira is also a talented designer and choreographer, selecting the music and routines for the Wallenda acts, and developing new aerial acts, costumes, and co-producing entire theatrical shows.

Alec Bryant

Alec Bryant’s start in the performing arts can be traced to his interest in sports as a child. His development of skill, strength and balance in athletics at a young age prepared him perfectly for his introduction to the circus performing arts at the age of 8.

While watching his older brother practice at the Sailor Circus in Sarasota, Florida, Alec took an interest himself, and committed to 1 year of training. Realizing that the circus arts provided a perfect blend of athletic and performing ability, Alec committed himself fully to developing his talents beginning with juggling, unicycle, and tumbling, all under the watchful eyes of some of the best teachers in the industry.

He made his professional debut on the high wire performing with Nik Wallenda troupe in 2014 in Darien Lake NY. He is now a seasoned member of the Wallenda troupe with performances across the United States, and is one of the base positions in the famed Wallenda high wire pyramids, including the daring bicycle pyramid and renowned 7 person pyramid.

Daniela Prieto

Daniela Prieto, a 9th generation circus performer, not only has a passion for performing in the air but also a new found love of being a mother.

Daniela’s mother and father met while working in the business of performing. With her mother being second generation performer and her father being 8th, circus runs through her blood. At a young age she watched her family do everything from the high wire, to the flying trapeze and even being shot out of a cannon.

This caused Daniela to pursue a passion for the air herself where she does several acts including aerial cradle, double trapeze, and flying trapeze.

Now after meeting Nik Wallenda, she is training on the high wire, a dream of hers to follow in her mother’s footsteps. Daniela will debut her new skill on the Big Apple Circus alongside her partner Alec. Daniela and Alec welcomed their first child, a handsome boy nicknamed MJ November 2020. They’re both very excited to raise their son with the same traditions, and lifestyle Daniela grew up around, with hope of continuing on the legacy of performing under the big top.

Daniela’s rule to live by “If you do what you love, you’ll never work a day in your life”.

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