If you began to study the violin when you were a child, as Veronica Gan did, chances are you dreamed those lessons would lead you to Carnegie Hall or the Kennedy Center.
But …. the circus?
“They really launch me off the stage,” Gan said, explaining the scary-but-exhilarating moment when she zooms through the air with her instrument during a Cirque Musica performance. “Suddenly, I rocket launch almost into the audience.”
Thanks to a backstage worker with a remote control who hoists her aloft, Gan gets to dangle from a line, twirling herself around with the motion of her bow.
On Sunday afternoon at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza, the Texas native’s violin playing in midair will be part of a Cirque Musica show that also includes acrobats, clowns and guest musicians from the Northeastern Pennsylvania Philharmonic.
The show blends symphonic music such as “The Flight of the Bumble Bee” with circus feats in a pairing as complementary as chocolate and peanut butter, Gan said, and is likely to give at least some audience members their first taste of classical music.
Among the people who have been growing in appreciation of the classics is performer Christian Atayde Stoinev, an acrobat who’s more nimble standing on his hands than some people are on their feet.
When he practices by himself, he admitted with a grin, he’s more likely to choose hip-hop as his accompaniment. But he’s come to like the symphony sound as well.
Stoinev grew up in a circus family, son of Bulgarian-born acrobat Ivan Stoinev and Maritza Atayde, an aerialist whose family owned the famous Circus Atayde Hermanos in Mexico.
Stoinev and Gan have been making appearances in regional newsrooms recently, offering a sample of Cirque Musica’s combination of music and acrobatics.
Pairing composers such as Tchaikovsky and Rimsky-Korsakov with popular entertainment has a long tradition, Gan said, pointing to “Looney Tunes back in the day.”
As for her own participation, Gan said, the friends who know her best recognize she has an adventurous streak.
“They say it figures. Of course, I’d be in the circus.”