Bello Nock returns to the Coast with BraVeau
Bello Nock, who is known simply as Bello or the "world's greatest daredevil," is spending most of the summer in Biloxi.
But don't expect to see the man whose hair is almost as famous as his talent working on his tan. Bello is here to work.
He is a member of DreamCast Entertainment's production of BraVeau, a French-style circus that has set up residency at Beau Rivage Resort & Casino. It runs through Aug. 7.
Performances are 7 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and 3 and 7 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays.
This is the fourth time Bello, 47, has headlined a show at Beau Rivage.
He said he plans to make the most of Fridays, his only day off during the show's run.
"I know that on one of the Fridays I'm going to see Boston at the Beau Rivage and I've also found a fabrication shop down here where I'll be going to do some welding on some new equipment I'm building -- oh yeah, I'm also going to fly board with a guy who has the Jet Ski rentals on the beach," he said.
Born Demetrius Nock in Sarasota, Fla., Bello is a seventh-generation circus performer. He grew up doing shows with the Nerveless Nocks, his family's circus and thrill show.
"It was really cool because I was born with a little bit of uniqueness in the circus world," he said. "I never traveled with a circus in the way people think, because we would stay in places like theme parks for a month or three months or even a year."
He said he owns the house to which he was brought after being born at the hospital.
"I have a base," he said.
Coming from a long line of circus performers on both sides of his family was no guarantee he would be successful at it himself.
"They just said I had to try it for 30 or 40 years and after that I could decide to do something else," he said.
Although the days are long and the work is hard, Bello said he's right where he wants to be.
"I've never thought about doing anything else, because I always knew I wanted to be the guy in the spotlight and the guy on the billboards."
Bello has three children, and his youngest daughter, Anneliese, is following in her father's footsteps. She is in the cast of BraVeau.
"She's the eighth generation to do it, and she is passionately doing it," he said. "She just broke her first Guinness World Record this year -- I'm so proud of her."
Anneliese Nock, 19, completed the most somersaults in a minute inside the Wheel of Death during a show in February to make the Guinness record book.
Don't try this at home
Bello beamed with delight when he discussed Anneliese's accomplishments. There was a bad moment in 2013, when both Bello and Anneliese were in the cast of Funumbula at the Beau Rivage. She fractured two ribs when she slipped on the high wire and hit a beam. But he said he doesn't worry about her performing the stunts because he knows she's a professional.
"If I said I don't worry about her, it would sound like a lie or that I'm callous," he said. "Each act in the show is eight minutes long and the amount of work and preparation that goes into those eight minutes -- you don't count the hours, you don't count the days, you don't count the weeks or months -- you do it because it's your lifestyle and I don't worry about her because I know she's the first one there and the last one to leave because she's passionate and she's a professional."
Do your math homework
Bello may be best known for his skills on the high wire and other death-defying acts, but he is also an expert rigger -- the person who sets up wires for performances.
"I've set up riggings for Philippe Petit ("Man on a Wire") and one of the most famous wire-walkers right now is Nik Wallenda, who trained under me for five years and I did all of the rigging -- the engineering -- for him up until his Niagara Falls and Grand Canyon walks because I was a little busy at the time as I was setting up a show to walk across the Beau Rivage," he said.
Rigging, he said, is one the most important elements of what he does.
"Everybody has their set of skills and when it comes to rigging, you just don't throw that much trust over to someone else," he said. "If I was a rock star, someone would tune my guitar for me, but if my high wire is out of tune, it's more than just a sour note, it's serious business."
He said he engineers all of his own rigs and builds his own equipment. He also rigs for other artists.
"It's ironic that I play the goofball character on stage," he said, "the guy that can't do it and won't quit until he does it, because in real life I'm the guy that trains people and builds their equipment."
He said anyone who is thinking of pursuing a career in the world of stunts needs to be sure they learn math.
"I'm all about STEAM: science, technology, engineering, math, and we've added the arts because it tells people you can use it in a way to make a living," he said.
Back in Biloxi
Although he travels the world, Bello said he is always happy to spend a summer in Biloxi.
"Since the beginning of the year, I have been to eight countries and I spent a month in Monte Carlo because I travel around the world for a living, but I'm fortunate enough to call Biloxi and the Beau Rivage home for the summer," he said. "If you asked me what is it, I don't know that it's any one thing, it's just the entire area -- it's awesome."
He took a couple of years off from performing on the Coast. He said it was a conscious effort to avoid "Bello fatigue."
"I didn't want people going, 'Eh, it's him again,'" he said. "When you're the guy who's the center of attention, you better be the thing that attracts the most amount of attention and creates the most amount of buzz."