Monday, October 26, 2015

Big Apple Circus: The Grand Tour

For its 38th season, the Big Apple Circus presents an frequently charming, often thrilling new show called The Grand Tour. Using large travel posters and appropriate scenery and costumes, the Big Apple's clowns, Joel Jeske and Brent McBeth, take us around the world on various modes of transport, including the Orient Express and a (fake) camel. (I'm not a big fan of clowns, but Jeske and McBeth had me laughing out loud on more than one occasion.)

The Dominguez Brothers 

on the Wheel of Wonder
Photo © maike schulz: Big Apple Circus
Along the way, we are treated to truly amazing wonders of the world:
  • Chiara Anastasini, a 9th-generation circus performer, is, I would imagine, the world's foremost hula hoop artiste. Her act is both kinda silly and completely impressive. 
  • Alexander Koblikov juggles with more balls than I could even count, but for me the highlight of his act was when he balanced one ball across his arms and shoulders with preternatural grace. 
  • Want to see beautiful, lithe men with zero body fat do acts requiring 1,000% strength and agility? The Chinese hand balancers, The Energy Trio, are for you.
  • One of my favorite acts of the show, the Dominguez Brothers, are both thrilling and terrifying on the Wheel of Wonder. They are talented, dexterous, athletic, and seriously brave.
  • The African acrobatic troupe Zuma Zuma provide a jolt of beauty and energy and fun.
  • And my other favorite act of the show, the Dosov Troupe, soars off the teeterboard, landing on each other's shoulders and on extremely high chairs. Their finale is one of the coolest things I have ever seen at a circus.
And at the Big Apple Circus, you get to see all of these wonderful acts up front and personal. As advertised, no seat is further than 50 feet from the stage, and that level of intimacy ups the oohs and aahs.

My one complaint is that the Big Apple Circus still has animal acts. Those dogs and horses just don't look happy, with the smaller dogs quivering and one horse clearly not wanting to do as told. I think the day of the animal act has passed...

On a whole, however, the Big Apple Circus is both a great deal of fun and a testament to how wonderful human beings can be. Listening to the news, I sometimes forget the human race's good points, but the Big Apple Circus is a marvelous reminder.

(around 6th row, press ticket)

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