Lebanese water circus Fontana to bring gravity-defying acrobatics to Dubai

The attraction is produced by Cirque Du Liban and swings into the city in September

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A travelling water circus is coming to Dubai.

Fontana is produced by Lebanese group Cirque Du Liban and will be at Dubai Festival City Mall between September 29 and October 9.

Ahead of Fontana’s premiere, The National speaks to Thierry Antonios, one of the leaders behind the show, about what to expect during its 10-day run.

The name was inspired by the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy, a famed attraction where visitors often toss in a coin for luck. Antonios compares this act to the show by saying Fontana’s wish, rather the wish of its performers, is it to put together a unique experience for audiences.

“Guests should expect to see a breath-taking blend of live entertainment, artistic circus performances, captivating shows, amazing aerialists, water jets with special effects, music, lights, comedy, dancers, thrills and more. This is an experience to awe the whole family,” Antonios, who is a managing partner at Cirque Du Liban's parent company Hat Entertainment, tells The National.

The air cube act, where three aerial acrobats perform mid-air. Photo: Cirque Du Liban

There will also be a musical dancing fountain that will be the centrepiece where spectators can watch water jets and colour lights sync together with music during the show. Other highlights include the air cube show, where three aerial acrobats perform mid-air, Duo Del Comedia, a Spanish comedic pair, and motorcycle daredevils who perform dangerous stunts.

The show has previously had success in Lebanon and Saudi Arabia, so, Antonios says, Dubai was the natural next stop.

“We chose the UAE as it is a key cultural hub for the Mena region. With a fantastic tourist market and new arrival influx post-Expo 2020 Dubai, we have not only local audience diversity but also a huge global market we can showcase to, which is the next step in Fontana’s journey,” he says.

Antonios also has a vested interest in the success of the show as he and Izak Abou Sari opened the first circus school in Lebanon called Cirque Du Liban in 2009. The inspiration behind it was to help young people find their talents and hone their skills while discovering their passions.

It was during this time when staff noticed the talent the students were showcasing and decided to start producing shows. The chance to hone their skills has resulted in the water circus.

“From years of education, training and commitment, budding talents led to the creation of the Cirque Du Liban original production team," he says. "Then as popularity and word of mouth grew, production after production started gaining attention in the Middle East until finally the fantastic Fontana was created."

However, despite the many performances, it’s still a rigorous process for all involved. “There needs to be a period of training and rehearsal to ensure all teams are up to the challenge, which takes several months, and only then are the teams 100 per cent ready to put on a show," says Antonios.

Fontana will take place inside a massive tent at Festival City Mall with grandstand seating for 1,300 people. Two daily shows will take: a matinee at 3pm and and an evening show at 6pm. Each performance is about two hours. Although the first show has yet to take place, Antonios says he's already ready to take it to other emirates.

“Festival Bay at Dubai Festival City Mall provides the perfect setting for Fontana’s state-of-the-art circus tent and Aquatic Theatre, and the show’s world-class line-up of performers cannot wait to amaze and entertain audiences in equal measure," he says.

"We are looking forward to revealing more exciting details very soon, as we take Fontana to more amazing locations across the UAE soon."

Scroll the gallery below to see other shows and events coming to Dubai this year

Updated: August 21, 2022, 3:44 AM
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