Cirque Italia has made Gateway Mall in Lincoln its home for the weekend.

The traveling water circus show -- advertised as the world's first -- brings a 35,000-gallon water tank and other water features to provide a backdrop for performers doing juggling, balancing acts and different kinds of aerial skills. Aerialists perform on straps, a hoop and on the trapeze throughout the show.

The show is in Lincoln this week, then goes to Norfolk and Omaha before heading east to Iowa.

For 11 months out of the year, the Cirque Italia performers live out of an RV, camper or whatever moving home they can bring along with them.

That makes having a "home city" pretty hard.

For the show's juggler, Victor Abadilla, he calls Sarasota, Florida, home, despite spending fewer than 30 days there every year.

"Home is just the place we are performing in," Abadilla said. "It can get tough for someone who isn't used to it."

The good thing for Abadilla, however, is that he is used to it. It's been in his family for years.

"My family has been a part of the circus for eight generations," Abadilla said. "I remember coming to the show my entire childhood. I didn't know anything else."

His dad was a clown for the circus growing up. But Abadilla always had his eye on something a little different.

"My parents would bring me in a stroller and put me by the stage," he said. "I would watch performing acts and watching the jugglers just caught my interest."

That interest in the circus radiated throughout the tent in Lincoln on Friday night as well.

As kids shoveled popcorn, cotton candy and Hawaiian shaved ice into their mouths, Cirque Italia performers aced their acts.

One of the aerialists for the show, Samantha Kulinski, said the rush she feels during her aerial hoop performance is hard to explain. She said she loves watching the kids in the crowd.

"It's just so fun in such a close environment," she said.

Kulinski doubles her duties by offering face painting before the show as well.

Abadilla said the close atmosphere inside a tent leads to great interaction with the audience. 

"You are 2 feet away from the people on stage. As a performer, you get to see the kids' reactions to that. When it's packed, it's a great feeling. You get the crowd going. It can be emotional and very exciting."

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