Roger Zhang -- THE BATTALION
The Ball of Death has multiple motorcycle riders in a steel mesh sphere.
By Kalee Bumguardner
Updated: Thursday, June 7, 2012
Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey will perform “Barnum Bash” in Reed Arena Friday through Sunday. Circus acts include acrobats, clowns, gymnasts, a strong man and, of course, animals.
“All the acts are very impressive, but I’d have to say the animals are my favorite,” said Virginia Tuells, one half of Duo Fusion, a hand-balancing act. “A performer has to do difficult stunts, but when you see the animals, it adds an extra ‘Wow.’ And, I have to say, we have a clown from Russia and he’s taking the audience all through the show, doing very funny things. I love his act.”
Tuells and her husband, Ihosvanys Perez, have been gymnasts since they were children, and joined the circus to do something a bit more artistic. Part of their hand-balancing act includes a tango. The pair put a spin on traditional lifting acts, however.
“It’s a really different act because the man always lifts the woman, and in Duo Fusion I lift him,” Tuells said. “I weigh about 100 pounds, and my husband weighs 145. I lift him in high heels, so it makes the act a little bit different, and sexy.”
Tuells said the hardest part of the act for her is the end, because by then she’s a little bit tired but needs to be super focused for the finale.
“It’s hard because I don’t have the same strength he does, but you just practice and get a good technique,” Tuells said. “And it’s nice because the people in the audience are always cheering, and it makes me feel special because I know that I am doing something that not everyone is able to do.”
Part of the “Barnum Bash Gold Edition” show is that audience members are only feet away from the action.
“I think being closer, audience members can appreciate our act more,” Perez said. “They realize that it’s not an illusion and that Virginia is doing most of the lifting. We also love feeding off of the energy of the audience and seeing their reactions.”
When asked about their favorite circus memories, many Aggies shared the same sentiment that elephants are the best act, relating the circus to the Elephant Walk tradition at A&M.
“I think the tie-in is cool that [the elephants] are at A&M,” said senior accounting major Michael Ariza. “[It’s] pretty entertaining.”
The circus also includes a pre-show party, where the audience can go backstage, meet the performers and get pictures and autographs. While backstage, audience members can also learn juggling and balancing skills from a clown and get a close-up view of the animals, all of which is included in the price of their ticket.
“I am so excited,” said Christie McKinney, Class of 2012. “I’m going to the pre-show to meet the clowns. I love circuses. I can’t wait to see the elephants because they’re so big and cute. It’s cool to see them do tricks.”