Student magician takes his talents to Cirque du Soleil

Thomas Salta performing on stage.

Thomas Salta performing on stage.

Olivia Kettell, Newscast: Executive Producer

A Quinnipiac University student is heading to Las Vegas this week to kick start his career in a year-long magic showcase with Cirque du Soleil, a dream he has been anticipating since high school.

Unlike many magicians, senior entrepreneurship student Thomas Salta did not pursue magic from a young age. Rather, his interest was spurred after a high school football injury freshman year left him sitting out on the sidelines and he was inspired to learn sleight of hand tricks to keep himself busy.

“I was very energetic and a person that needed to be stimulated always,” Salta said. “So when I couldn’t move because I hurt my hip… I was able to move my hands and learn sleight of hand and stuff like that, so that’s how it started.”

While magic began as a simple pastime, more and more people learned of Salta’s hobby, including his teammates while he was injured. His first “show” occurred inadvertently at one of their games, drawing in huge support and sentimental responses.

“I got put on the spot to do it and the next thing I knew, I look up and there’s 100 people surrounding me, stopped watching the game, and started chanting my name,” Salta said. “It felt amazing, and people came up to me after the game… it actually connected with people on a personal level.”

Salta then began to perform on a small scale within his community at a local ice cream shop called Saugatuck Sweets and would donate any tips he received to charity. However, he quickly took on larger and larger opportunities.

“From there, it upscaled. I would do gigs and the next big thing was Connecticut’s Got Talent. I was a winner of that, and that led to performing with magician Michael Carbonaro on stage, which was huge,” Salta said. “That still freaked me out because I was only doing it for like three or four years.”

By the time Salta came to Quinnipiac he already knew that he was committed to pursuing magic in the future, and received a great deal of support on campus as well.

“Whenever you see someone who is passionate about something, and it also happens to be fun to watch, who wouldn’t want to see someone do what they love and succeed doing that,” Salta said. “I’ve been fortunate, they’re very supportive.”

The dreams of making magic a career became a reality when Salta was offered a job to work with Cirque du Soleil after graduating this May. Salta will mostly be performing close-up magic on a more personal scale, which is exactly what he envisioned doing.

The show called “Mad Apple” begins May 12 at the New York-New York Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

“The plan is to go out to Vegas, and obviously there’s no better place to be as a performer, especially doing magic,” Salta said. “So I’m just here for the ride.”