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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper
Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883

It’s dancing with the dinosaurs at ‘Jurassic World Live’

Animatronic dinosaurs come to life in “Jurassic Park Live,” coming to the Spokane Arena this weekend.  (Feld Entertainment)
By Ed Condran For The Spokesman-Review

Some kids hope to become professional athletes. Some dream of being rock stars. Carlos “Sparxz” Carabello wished he could become a dinosaur. Fat chance, since dinosaurs have been extinct for 65 million years, right?

Well, not so fast, T. rex breath! Carabello is a dinosaur during the “Jurassic World Live” tour, which is slated for Friday through Sunday at Spokane Arena.

“I was all about dinosaurs as a kid,” Carabello said while calling from St. Louis. “I loved dinosaurs. I was that kid in class. I was the one drawing the little raptors. I begged my parents to let me see the movie ‘Jurassic Park.’ ”

That visceral experience was granted, but it didn’t turn out as planned for Carabello.

“It was a pretty scary movie for a kid, or well, at least for me,” he said.

The “Jurassic World Live” tour isn’t as intense as the film, but it’s entertaining and the dinos appear lifelike.

The innards of one of the dinosaurs is Carabello, who operates a dinosaur.

The timing for the “Jurassic World Live” tour is perfect. The initial “Jurassic Park” film debuted 30 years ago next weekend.

Carabello was born two years after the 1993 film debuted, but he recalls the visceral experience of the first time he caught Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster about cloned dinosaurs who run amok at a theme park.

“I was terrified of ‘Jurassic Park,’ ” Carabello said . “As much as I loved dinosaurs, I was afraid of them when I saw the movie ‘Jurassic Park,’ I was afraid. But with this job, I guess I’m facing my fears.”

Carabello, 28, is known as a “dinoteer,” who operates smaller dinosaurs during the “Jurassic Park Live” show. The Phoenix native climbs inside the dino and straps on a backpack connected to the dinosaur’s interior around their shoulders and waist. His feet are then attached to the dinosaur’s feet. Carabello must control and run around with about 120 pounds of weight while delivering choreographed moves. It’s in essence a show within a show. Carabello is inside of what is akin to a cockpit.

“I’m inside the main body,” Carabello said. “I control the neck and the mouth and this is honestly one of the most physical jobs I’ve ever had. This is a unique job that’s so physically demanding.”

Prior to his dino gig, Carabello won medals as part of the hip-hop dance group, Exile, which was part of the NBC reality show, “World of Dance.”

“Being part of that group was so rigorous, but this is on another level,” Carabello said. “I can’t crash into the other dinosaurs. This is tricky. What I do is kind of like ‘Dancing with the Dinosaurs.’ ”

After months of training, Carabello is in total control.

“It’s been a challenge,” Carabello said. “It’s a huge responsibility, but I love it since this is what I always wanted to do.”

Carabello isn’t referring to being a dinosaur but a stuntman.

“I love the rush you get from this,” Carabello said. “I also appreciate how cool these dinosaurs look.”

The Dinosaurs look like they came straight out of the Paleolithic era. The show’s Tyrannosaurus rex, which is 40 feet in length, is a doppelgänger for the prehistoric creature that walked the earth.

Carabello notes the children that he sees are thrilled as opposed to scared.

“Their parents must do a great job explaining to them what the show is about,” Carabello said. “Most of the kids are ecstatic and in awe of a version of what passed for some of the most massive creatures in the history of Earth. Dinosaurs are fascinating. Most kids aren’t scared. They love the experience. But even if a kid does get to be a little afraid, well, I was afraid of ‘Jurassic Park’ and now look at me. My job is being an dinosaur. How many people get to put that they’re a dinosaur on their résumé?”