A clown's view of what to expect from the circus
Asian elephants thrill the audience. Other animals in the show include horses, ponies, llamas, pygmy and Nubian goats, tigers and even a rare watusi. (Heinz Kluetmeier, Daily Press / April 7, 2011)
By Sam McDonald, firstname.lastname@example.org April 7, 2011
This year's circus is ready to amp up the fun.
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus remains one of the great unplugged sources of family-friendly joy. Still, in this Digital Age, the acrobats, animals and clowns are eager to prove they can electrify audiences without the aid of technology. "This year's show is called 'Fully Charged' and it's an all-new surge of circus entertainment – we're talking about daredevilry, stunts and everything you can think of that astounds and amazes audiences around the world," said Ringling clown Rob Lok. "Hee-hee-hee," Lok cackled. "I could have been a ringmaster, but I just couldn't sing." Lok came to town ahead of the circus to whip up interest in the Greatest Show on Earth. While he won't perform at Hampton Coliseum this weekend, he knows exactly what and who will be thrilling crowds. Here's his clown-eye view of what to expect. Animal magic "Tabayara is one of the most dynamic animal trainers I've ever met. He has this rare ability to talk with the animals, and allow them to be what they are. It's just amazing what you see him do with these beautiful, beautiful 4-ton Asian elephants and 12 tigers in a ring." Muscle men "Also, you have to see Dmitry and Ruslan, our strong-man duo. Have you ever tried to lift two huge, cumbersome telephone poles? I think they weigh about half a ton. They just twirl them above their heads like they were nothing. That is insane. It shakes the earth when they drop those." Fearless fizzler "I can't continue without talking about The Human Fuse, Brian Miser. Out of 141 years of Ringling, and we've never had a Human Fuse. You have to picture a man, an acrobat, a daredevil, lighting himself ablaze and shooting himself across an arena on a self-made crossbow. He travels 80 feet, at something like 65, 70 miles an hour. The guy is on fire. If that's not the Greatest Show on Earth, I don't know what is." Sneak peek "Everyone should know about our Power Up Pre-show Party. Come an hour before the circus begins. Come hang out with us on the circus floor. You'll get to meet performers, take pictures with them. You'll get to be 'circus fit' which means you'll learn all the acrobatics and aerobics that circus performers do just to keep fit and energized. You'll get to meet — up-close and personal — one of our Asian elephants and try on beautiful, beautiful costumes from editions past. It's a beautiful moment for families and friends. And it's free to ticket holders.
"Want to go?What: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus' show "Fully Charged."When: April 7-10 at Hampton Coliseum, April 14-17 at Scope, Norfolk.Tickets: $10 to $78 from Ticketmaster, not including fees or service chargesInfo: http://www.ringling.com, http://www.hampton.gov/coliseum/, http://www.sevenvenues.com