Arts & Entertainment

'Cirque Dreams' a dizzying display of skill

Martin Lamberti did not have to dream about running off to join the circus. After all, he was born into a family of circus performers.

"My father had me doing handstands on his arm at age 3," Lamberti told the Herald. "I was 8 years old before I made my first performance in the circus. My dad was doing a tightrope trick and I came running out to hold a butterfly net under him."

Lamberti, 55, has spent his life performing with various circuses around the globe, juggling, pantomiming and teasing audiences with his illusion acts.

He's now a member of the Cirque Dreams: Illumination show, which stops at the Toyota Center in Kennewick on May 19. Showtime is 7:30 p.m.

Lamberti feels blessed to have come from a family of circus performers.

The Lamberti circus family dates back 400 years to when his ancestors in Germany first became performers, he said.

"I love spreading laughter; it's what I do best," he said. "I've been doing it my whole life. But I don't use words to get the audience laughing, I do it by interacting with them with various actions."

The constant travel doesn't bother him much. The only down side is never being in one spot long enough to see the sites.

But he has no regrets.

Cirque Dreams is part of Cirque Productions, which was launched in 1993 by Neil Goldberg. Goldberg is the same guy who designed and created productions for two Superbowls, Disney, Busch Gardens, Six Flags, Miss Universe pageant, as well as numerous programs for ABC, NBC and CBS.

Cirque Dreams started in 2008 as a way for aspiring American artists to strut their stuff in a venue that allows their creative juices to thrive, Lamberti said.

The show blends imagination and theatrical innovation with 27 performers who illuminate objects, balance on wires, leap over structures and redefine flight. They do it all with dazzling choreography and acrobatics and trendy music.

One of the show's newest performers is Robert Muraine, a funky popper/contortionist who blew away the judges and gained national attention during his performance on TV's So You Think You Can Dance.

Other distinctive acts include Andrey Moraru, a world-renowned hand balancer from Ukraine.

Tickets to Cirque Dreams: Illumination start at $29.50 plus fees and are available at the Toyota Center box office or at Tickets purchased at the box office avoid service charges.

The audience should pay special attention when Lamberti hits the stage, as he plans to wander into the audience in search of a few on-stage helpers for his act.

"I'll be looking for four people to play the part of a lover, a sexy lady, a boyfriend and a film tech," he said. "Then the real fun will begin."

*Dori O'Neal: 582-1514;