By Debbie Hall
Photos of Maria Jose Dominguez by Ethan Miller
Photos of Silvia Silvia courtesy of “WOW – World of Wonder”

At the turn of the 20th century, people in small town America anticipated the circus coming to town. In the 21st century, generations of circus performers continue to entertain including these two amazing women showcasing their extraordinary talents in Las Vegas.

“Circus 1903” takes audiences on a magical journey back to the year 1903, featuring an amazing cast of contortionists, acrobats, jugglers, high-wire acts and death-defying feats.
In the show, high wire walker Maria Jose Dominguez is a fifth generation circus performer as well as the mother of three. Originally from Chile, Dominguez has traveled the world as a circus performer exemplifying the balance of strength and beauty both on and off the stage.

As for performing high in the air on a wire, “When you’re a circus performer, you already kind of know what feeling you want to feel. In my case, I love adrenaline. I love dangerous things. I know it sounds crazy but that is my personality,” she explained. “To be on the wire for me is more than just performing, for me it’s my passion. I was born to do this! Before the music starts and the lights go up, it’s a lot of focusing, but once the act begins and we feel the lights on our faces—something magical happens. I feel like I’m on a cloud and I know this is my life. I want to perform really high in the air.”

“WOW – WORLD OF WONDER,” the internationally acclaimed production, made a splash and transported audiences into a world of water, wonder and fantasy during its Las Vegas debut at the Rio Showroom at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino. Featuring 30 performers from 10 different countries around the world, archer Silvia Silvia, a semifinalist in Season 10 on NBC’s “America’s Got Talent,” risks her life nightly in the show.

As well as a third generation circus performer, she is the wife of “WOW” cast member Victor Ponce. The two competed against their son, Paul Ponce, and the judges send her to the quarterfinals instead of her son. However, she was forced to withdraw from the competition due to contractual obligations to perform elsewhere.

Born and raised in Columbia, Silvia has lived in Spain for over 40 years traveling and performing all over the world. In the 1980s, she performed in Las Vegas and is thrilled to be back in the new show.

As for her skill and tricks with archery including the cross bow, “as children of a circus family, we trained on the high wire as well as the trapeze. But I discovered I had a really special talent with the bow and arrow and I focused on that. We developed an original act for me and I have performed it all of my life,” she explained.

“WOW” performs at the Rio Showroom at Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino Tuesday through Sunday at 7 p.m. with additional shows at 9 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tickets can be purchased at the Rio Box Office, Ticketmaster, RioLasVegas.com or by calling 702.777.7776.

“Circus 1903” performs at the Paris Theater at the Paris Las Vegas Tuesday to Sunday (dark Monday) with show times at 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. To purchase tickets, call 702.777.2782 or visit circus1903.com.

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