Belfast Telegraph

Watch: High drama as circus star walks tightrope at Belfast's Botanic ravine

Ralph Hewitt

By Ralph Hewitt

It's not every day you see someone doing a death-defying tightrope walk across the roof of Botanic Gardens' tropical ravine.

But yesterday Circus Extreme offered onlookers a small taste of what they have to offer at their show, which began last Friday and runs to Sunday.

They have received rave reviews for their incredible acts at the Stranmillis embankment of Botanic.

Over five years in the making, the show features some of the most talented performers in the world. High wire specialist Mustafa Danger arrived at the tropical ravine yesterday to surprise visitors with his unaided tightrope walk.

Despite the high humidity causing the rope to become wet, the Moroccan made it look effortless as he glided from one side to the other over the big drop.

Speaking after his performance, the 38-year-old admitted that nerves play a part every time he steps out on the rope.

"I am always nervous when I am on the high wire because my life is at risk," he told the Belfast Telegraph.

"I have a family that I have to take care of so I'm always nervous, I'm a human being after all.

"The wire was a little bit wet because it's the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens but it was a really good challenge between Circus Extreme and doing it naturally to keep the balance."

It took over six years to become a tightrope professional and Mustafa said all of his efforts has allowed him to travel all over the world to perform - but this is his first ever visit to the island of Ireland.

Mustafa Danger crosses the high wire in the roof of the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens yesterday
Mustafa Danger crosses the high wire in the roof of the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens yesterday
Mustafa Danger crosses the high wire in the roof of the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens yesterday
Mustafa Danger crosses the high wire in the roof of the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens yesterday
Mustafa Danger crosses the high wire in the roof of the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens yesterday
Mustafa Danger crosses the high wire in the roof of the tropical ravine in Botanic Gardens yesterday

"I was in America with a great show, I was in Germany for six years, I have been all over Europe and Japan too," he added.

"I am really enjoying Ireland as it's my first time here and it's an absolute pleasure to be here.

"I will keep going with Circus Extreme, just keep doing the best possible and make our dreams come true."

Circus Extreme's tour manager Marnie Dock explained that the show arrived on Tuesday, August 20, but were forced to relocate their 38 vehicles due to the soft ground at their Botanic site.

Despite the setback the public have given positive reviews. However, future visits to Northern Ireland hang in the balance as Brexit looms, leaving Ms Dock with serious issues ahead.

"Brexit is a massive concern for us because we all thought we would have had an answer back in April," she said.

"Nobody knows what's happening at this point.

"We can't make plans for the future and we can't come up with a back-up plan. We just don't know what way it's going to go so it's a massive concern for us as a large business."

Merging modern and contemporary styles with extreme stunts and classic clown escapades, audiences will be amazed by Circus Extreme which features show-stopping performances that will have the crowd on the edge of their seat.

Tickets are still available at www.circusextreme.co.uk

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