An “America’s Got Talent” star and an international circus performer will take the stage at this month’s Circus Flora benefit gala.
Flora Dora, the signature fundraiser for St. Louis’ original Big Top circus, takes place this month on Friday, Sept. 22.
Christian Stoinev, who gained fame as an “America’s Got Talent” finalist for his hand-balancing act with his dog, Scooby, will take the stage, along with Sante D’Amours Fortunato, a hula hoop/contortionist and aerial lyra performer.
Stoinev, a fifth-generation performer, began hand-balancing at the age of 10. Shortly after graduating from Illinois State University in 2013, he and his beloved chihuahua, Scooby, competed on “America’s Got Talent” and made it to the finals. The duo continues to perform across the country, and are now considered among the top halftime acts in the NBA and NCAA.
D’Amours Fortunato, a Portuguese and French Canadian, began her professional career at age 12 as a dancer in Vancouver. She can be seen dancing in the 2012 movie, “Mirror Mirror,” starring Julia Roberts. She has performed in the U.S., China, Italy, Switzerland, Slovenia, England, Germany, Austria, Spain, France, Caribbean, Canada, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, South Africa and Brazil.
The Sept. 22 gala raises funds for Circus Flora’s year-round community outreach programs such as: Clowns on Call, which serves more than 1,000 hospitalized children each year; Share the Circus, which gives approximately 3,000 free or reduced-price tickets to children and their families in underserved communities; and its Peanut Free and Sensory Friendly Big Top performances.
The event at Palladium Saint Louis begins at 7 p.m., and will feature an elegant dinner, fine dining, auctions (with one-of-a-kind items like “Walk the Wire with The Wallendas”), and thrilling circus entertainment. Also on tap: the announcement of the Big Top’s planned year-round activities in its new permanent location in Grand Center.