EVO’s “Ignite” inspires imagination through circus arts, music and dance

Lynn Feld

Circus EVO, one of the most innovative performing arts companies in its history, presents “Ignite” from May 11-13. The audience brought joy.

It’s better than a midsummer night’s dream because it’s usually hot and sticky here, and the May evening breeze and about 70-degree weather elevate the magic on the amphitheater’s concrete stage to unexpected heights.

An outstanding stilt performer got the crowd excited, and a juggler specializing in diabolo kicked off the show, accompanied by dancers and acrobats. A diabolo is an hourglass-shaped top that the juggler balances on a string. A diabolo looks difficult enough. Las Vegas-based circus artist Willem McGowan dazzled audiences with his four-man show.

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A talented stilt walker electrified the crowd during an EVO performance.

Lynn Feld

Following McGowan, EVO artists including Ron Oppenheimer, Kyran Walton, Cheya Potter, Nick Buynitzky, David Gouldin and Reagan Gales performed double Chinese poles, cane balancing and more. Everything is dazzling.

Original music by composer/singer/guitarist Bella Nona and her band provide the perfect backdrop for “Ignite,” her ethereal soprano and bright melodies evoking Tuscany Landscapes and fairy tale dreams. Nona is based in the Triads.

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Circus EVO cast at Winston Square Park.

Lynn Feld

Houston Odum, founder and artistic director of Circus EVO (formerly Activate Entertainment), graduated from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts in 2022 with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the School of Design and Production. Even before graduating, Odum founded Activate Entertainment in October 2020 at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic to provide outdoor entertainment to the Triad and beyond.

“‘Ignite’ is a collaboration between the best artists in the Triad and some of the best circus artists in the world!” said Odum. “This show is inspired by the rich history of Winston-Salem. In fact, there were circuses in Winston-Salem as early as the 1840s!”

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The cast of Circus EVO will perform “Ignite” on May 11 in Winston Square Park.

Lynn Feld

According to its website, Circus EVO’s mission is “EVOke Emotions and EVOlve Circus Arts.”

The 45-minute “Ignite” performance is free and open to the public. EVO’s next event will be a summer camp for children ages 8 to 15 in June in High Point. For information, please visit www.CircusEVO.com.

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