Paranormal Cirque rarely spends three months in any location.
However, that happened in 2020 after the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down events throughout the United States and forced traveling show to stay for an extended period of the time in El Paso.
Many of the performers, including 29-year-old Yury Belaus of Belarus and his wife, stayed in El Paso for those nearly three months.
“We couldn’t go outside the country, because everything was locked down,” Belaus said. “I haven’t seen my parents and friends for two years.
“I’m here with my wife, which makes it a little bit easier for me, because my wife is here.”
One of the members of the Paranormal Cirque, 28-year-old Olivia Mattice, said she was fortunate to be able to quarantine with her family in Las Vegas.
Though she stayed for an unexpected three-month break with her family, Mattice said it was tough to know that many of her colleagues didn’t have that opportunity.
“It was hard in one aspect because there are people here who are so far from their families and they didn’t get that privilege,” Mattice said. “… For a moment, we have three months off and they still can’t see their families. I felt so selfish in a way.”
Luis Soto, 40, of Mexico City, said the normal travel schedule that allows three weeks off in a typical year is already difficult. That was compounded by a worldwide pandemic.
Yet, Soto said his day-to-day life is much easier since his 15-year-old daughter, Nicole, has traveled with him since she was born and is now a performer in Paranormal Cirque as well.
“To be away from my parents is pretty tough, but that’s the only thing I miss from my family on my side,” Soto said. “Knowing that my daughter is with me, I know that I don’t need anything else.”
Mattice said that Paranormal Cirque is slowly getting back to normal.
The show is a mix of circus, magic, horror and theater performances. Performers will also interact with people in the audience, which has had to be altered due to the coronavirus’ social distancing policies. The use of masks is strongly encouraged.
“We are slowly getting back to where we were at the performing level as far as being in people’s personal space depending on what county we are in,” Mattice said.
Paranormal Cirque has seven shows before it travels to El Paso from May 27 to June 6. Show times are 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. Thursday, 7:30 p.m. Friday, 6:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Saturday, 5:30 p.m. and 9:30 p.m. Sunday.
Though Soto and Belaus are at different stages in life both admitted that they feel strong enough to continue for the foreseeable future. Soto said he hopes to continue performing into his late 40s while Belaus said he has plenty of energy as a 29-year-old.
“When I was younger, like 18, I used to say to myself when I turn 35 that I was going to quit,” Soto said. “Now that I’m older than that, I realize that I cannot do that because I still have (bills). I try to stay in shape and my body feels good. My guess is that I’m still going to be performing when I’m 47 or 48. I will stop and maybe try my own circus business.”
Belaus added: “I’ve been (traveling) for 11 years; so far I’m fine and I’m still enjoying it.”
For Mattice, her time with Paranormal Cirque is coming to an end as she will become the manager of Cirque Alcatraz. The show is scheduled to begin May 27 in Sarasota, Fla.
Mattice has been with Paranormal Cirque since 2018 and she is excited about the newest show from Cirque Italia.
“In this moment in time, I’m the last one to show up,” she said. “Opening night is in a week and a half. I feel a little ill-prepared as far as knowing what’s there physically or who is there physically, but on my end, I feel prepared.”