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New Victory Blog

The New Victory Blog is a place to learn more about New York's theater for families and the shows we produce. Find out what we do and what we're passionate about—exploring the arts as a family.
April 28, 2016

Growing Up Nock


Imagine going to work with your parents, but, instead of meetings and emails, there are high wire acts and vaudevillian gags! Thursday, April 28th is Take Your Daughters and Sons to Work Day, and while some kids are no doubt looking forward to a nine-to-five day at the office, kids like Annaliese Nock have had it a little better. In case her surname didn't clue you in, Annaliese's dad is none other than Bello Nock, comic daredevil and star of Bello Mania

The Nock family has been bringing the circus to town in one part of the world or another for 175 years! Annaliese is grown now, performing onstage with her dad in Bello Mania and a world record holder in her own right; but was a future of daredevildom always her plan? We recently sat down with Annaliese to learn more about what it was like "growing up Nock" in a family with such a celebrated lineage of performers.

 


Annaliese Nock hangs upside-down during her lyra act as Bello, ever the proud father, looks on with a smile.
When did you know you wanted to be a performer?
I don't think there was ever a single moment when I had that realization. I think it was just, as long as I can remember, what I wanted to do.  You have to put it into the context of my life. Performing was always my "normal." I thought that was what everyone either did or wanted to do! I still love it, and I can't think of anything else I'd rather do.

What is your earliest memory of seeing your dad perform?
That would have to be at the Big Apple Circus.  I was about a year and a half old.  I remember sitting in the seats and thinking, "I need to start stretching!"

Have you ever travelled to other parts of the world to perform with your family?
I have traveled all over the world with my family—to Japan, Australia, Russia, China and all over Europe! As soon as I was old enough, I started performing. The first place I performed was in the Ringling Bros. All Access Pre-show, where I performed my hand-balancing act. I performed a lyra act in the Big Apple Circus. Then I started practicing on the sway pole and the high wire with my dad, and finally the giant wheel. The wheel is my favorite act!  

You're part of an expansive daredevil dynasty. Do you ever feel pressure to live up to the Nock family's legacy?
Not pressure, just a drive and desire to!

When did you realize you wanted to become a daredevil?         
I think when I first started practicing on the wheel—a typically male-dominated act—I realized, "Hey, I want to do this act, and not a 'girl' version!"

When performing dangerous feats, do you ever get scared?
Yeah, but there are a lot of things in life that can be scary.  You have to push through being scared, and then the best feeling comes after you do something that once scared you!  My dad says that if you're not a little scared, something is wrong.  It's important to keep a healthy respect for the seriousness of what we do.
 
 
Bello Mania Icon Be sure to catch Annaliese Nock and the rest of the Bello Mania family performing at The New Victory Theater through May 1. See Bello hover over the audience on his show-stopping sway pole and be mesmerized by Annaliese's aerial act.
Posted by Zack Ramadan

The jovial and jaw-dropping BELLO MANIA, featuring more mania than ever before, has made a triumphant return to The New Victory Theater! We caught up with Michael Karas, juggler extraordinaire and one of the newest members of Bello’s troupe, to find out how his #LoveOfTheater began. Haven’t had a chance to see Bello and his crew’s crazy antics yet? Check out our trailer, then read on for Michael's interview!
 

Michael KarasWhat inspired you to get into juggling?
When I was younger, I went to an arts festival in my hometown of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. There, I remember watching a guy juggle three wooden mallets and play a song on a xylophone at the same time!  I thought it was the coolest thing, and I was inspired to learn absolutely everything I could about juggling. Not only was juggling fun, but it made people smile!

How did you hone your craft?
I learned how to juggle in a number of different ways. First, I read every book from my local library on how to juggle. The art really came to life for me when I was a child actor; I was in a show with a fellow actor who taught me the very basic skills of juggling. A few years later, another friend of mine taught me how to juggle three clubs. From there I began to teach myself, and often watched video tutorials to master different juggling techniques. I enjoyed juggling so much, it never felt like practice!

How did you conceptualize, and ultimately realize, your solo acts in Bello Mania?
I don't always perform in theaters as large as The New Victory, so right away I knew my acts had to be BIG! I made sure to use extra large rings and balls that would be bold enough for everyone in the audience to see, from the orchestra all the way up to the balcony.  

For the first act, I wanted to do something more along the lines of a "classic" juggling performance, so I chose jazzy music to accompany difficult and flashy tricks with clubs and rings. For the second act, I switched it up and used a mix of popular hip-hop songs to bring some "New York flavor" to Bello Mania. Lastly, I knew that Bello loves to be silly, so I had to bring my puppet act, "Mahna Mahna," to the show!
 
The tiny puppets of Comet in Moominland encounter a monster
The playful puppetry and detailed sets of Manitoba Theatre for Young People's Comet in Moominland opened our 2007-08 season.

Fred Garbo in an inflatable suit, Naielma Santos and an inflatable dog
In 2002, Fred Garbo and Naielma Santos of Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Co. covered our stage with air-filled props, long before inflatable snowglobes were a thing.

We hear you saw Comet in Moominland and Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Co. when you were a kid. Both shows played right here at the New Vic! Where did you see them?
I actually saw those shows back home in Pittsburgh where I grew up, but my memory of them has always stuck with me. I remember Comet in Moominland was performed "in the round," meaning the audience sat in all directions around the stage, and the action happened in the center—I didn’t know theater could be done in that way! When I saw Fred Garbo Inflatable Theater Co., it was on a very big stage; the entire production was so visually-striking, it’s something I’ll never forget.

How do you think your #LoveOfTheater has grown since those early theatergoing experiences?
My parents felt that taking their child to see theater was essential, and I'm so grateful they held that belief. As an adult, I still go to the theater quite often. I try to see around five to ten shows a month! I have always admired how fearless live actors, performers and entertainers are. Now that I’m older, and a performer myself, I understand how important it is to support live theater and entertainment.

In your New Vic Bill bio, you mention that you "LOVE being an audience member." Can you tell us more about that?
As much as I love performing, I also love being an audience member. Having been on both sides of the curtain, I can appreciate, as an audience member, the amount of work that goes into every single show. When I see a show, it inspires me to make my own art. Sometimes just sitting in a theater and watching a performance gives me hundreds of new ideas.

Why should families see Bello Mania?
Bello Mania is a perfect family show. It gets everyone laughing and saying "wow" together!  Kids will laugh at Bello's wacky shenanigans and adults will appreciate how skillful all the performers are. Bello's goal is to bring multiple generations together to laugh and be amazed at the same time. Kids will be inspired to try new feats and adults will re-connect with the curious child inside each of them.  
 
 
Bello Mania icon Be sure to catch Michael Karas and the rest of the BELLO MANIA family performing at The New Victory Theater through May 1, 2016. Who knows? Your #LoveOfTheater may begin—or grow—when you witness harrowing high wire hijinks, the show-stopping sway pole or Michael’s jazzy juggling!
Posted by Zack Ramadan
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