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Former circus performer works his magic on Las Vegas

The life of Armando Farfan Jr., a sixth-generation circus performer, has been a lot of things: fun, overwhelming, exciting, uplifting. But boring? Never.

Farfan, a southwest Las Vegas resident, began performing with his parents as a flying trapeze artist at 6 years old in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.

“That didn’t leave much time for kid things like sports because there was always this fear of injury,” he said. “But I think from a young age I learned a tremendous work ethic. If you were sick, if you were having a bad day, the show still had to go on. You just pushed through, and that’s what we all did.”

At 7, Farfan caught the eye of renowned photographer Jill Krementz, who made him the subject of the fourth book in her Very Young series, titled “A Very Young Circus Flyer.”

“That was such an honor,” he said. “It still is , a lthough I don’t think I fully understood it at the time.”

Through the years, Farfan has worked as a circus and aerial consultant on shows such as Andrew Lloyd Webber’s “Phantom of the Opera” sequel “Love Never Dies.”

Farfan collaborated with Jerry Mitchell in 2000 on “EFX” at the MGM Grand.

” I’ve been blessed to do a great bit in my life,” he said. “I’ve had a lot of creative freedom, and that has a lot of value to me.”

Farfan currently works as a rigger for one of the Cirque du Soleil shows (which he prefers not to name) and said his schedule allows him the time to work on his sculptures and art.

Farfan said he also has designed aerial arts for venues around the world, including projects for MGM, Mandalay Bay, Treasure Island, Bellagio and Studio 54.

Farfan said he has love for the aerial arts but sustains an equal passion for art in general.

“I’ve been a sculptor and artist for a long time, and I love it,” he said. “I’ve been lucky enough to create pieces for shows like the Celine Dion show ‘A New Day’ and Bette Midler’s ‘The Showgirl Must Go On.’ “

Farfan said he’s currently working on wings for the Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show.

” I like pieces with a whimsical theme,” he said. “So I will do some of that, but it isn’t all that I do.”

Farfan said his artwork is born from mediums such as welding, brazing and working with various types of metals.

Friend and apprentice Richard Meeker said Farfan has taught him a great deal.

“I really enjoy working with Armando,” he said.

Farfan said he takes up the trapeze again on occasion, mainly for charity.

“There are instances where I will do it, and they’re usually for a good cause,” he said. “I’ve had a wonderful life that continues to challenge me and make me smile. No complaints here. I’ve got it good.”

Contact Southwest and Spring Valley View reporter Amanda Donnelly at adonnelly@viewnews.com or 380-4535.

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