Another prominent Sarasota circus family is getting some national television exposure.
Seventh-generation circus performer John Nock, his aerialist wife, Alexandra, and their high school son, Andrew, present the Aerosphere Aerial Balloon Show act in the audition round of “America’s Got Talent,” airing at 9 p.m. July 9 on NBC.
NBC describes the routine as a “group act using giant helium balloons to present aerial performance, and the only act of its kind in the United States.”
John Nock is an older brother of noted daredevil and clown Bello Nock, and part of a long line of Nock family circus artists.
John Nock said he invented the aerosphere around 2000 and performed with it at numerous corporate events for several years. He has focused more on running and producing circus acts around the world but recently refocused attention on the balloon act.
“I have such passion for this. I’m trying to hold myself back right now as far as my emotions,” he said Monday as he awaits the broadcast.
In the act, Nock and his 17-year-old son help guide the balloon with the help of David O’Neill of Nokomis. The balloon can support a variety of different aerial acts underneath. During performances, Alexandra floats over crowds and can even dangle low enough to touch people, he said.
Their television appearance comes just two weeks after Sarasota daredevil Nik Wallenda, from another circus family, wirewalked across the Grand Canyon before an estimated 13 million viewers.
Nock said they auditioned in March in New Orleans for a chance to win $1 million and a Las Vegas show. Once there, they waited for two days and “we had 90 seconds to convey the work we do, get the music going, move the balloon and make it go up. It wasn’t easy but we make it look beautiful and easy.” He said their shows usually run about four minutes.
Several other area performers, including singer Chris Eisenberg and human cannonball David “The Bullet” Smith Jr., have advanced beyond the initial audition rounds in prior seasons.
Nock said the act is “presented in such a way that it takes people off guard. It’s ethereal, angelic and it’s spectacular. I hope it conveys that on television.”