by Lisa A. Fraser
May 17, 2012
For its 34th Season, the Big Apple Circus returns to Cunningham Park in Queens with a promised spectacular show.
The theme this year is “Dream Big!” and will feature an all-new show where some of the world's greatest circus artists are presented under an intimate Big Top – bringing audiences closer to the action as they will sit no further than 50 feet from the ring.
The circus dares to let attendees' imagination soar and summon the most amazing acts — A juggler with a suit to fit his sweet feats of fancy handiwork; a mechanical doll who comes alive in a sinuous balancing act; spirited horses, frolicsome dogs, and a capybara and porcupine to perk up the sawdust party; audacious acrobats who astound with athletic grace; comical conjurors with magical moments of grand illusion; The aerial daring of the trapeze flyers; a singing Ringmistress and the Big Apple Circus Band creating the ringing melodies of memories to last;
Kids and adults alike can also expect to see Grandma, the apogee of comical aspiration and mirthful joy.
For Jenny Vidbel it was always a dream of hers to be part of a circus. The third-generation circus performer couldn't imagine living a different life while growing up.
“Elephants were my babysitters,” said the Wyndam, New York native. “I love animals so much."
Over the years she has trained and presented a 12-pony drill team, a 2,000-pound draft horse, goats, llamas, a large variety of mutts straight from the shelter and this year she will add to her repertoire three beautiful Arabian horses, a Capybara, and an African Porcupine.
Calling it a great family event, she is anticipating the Big Apple Circus because of the close proximity of the performers to the audience.
“Everyone is close up, they get to enjoy animals and feel them and feel their energy," she said.
Melanie Chie, also a third-generation circus performer, is excited to perform at the circus. Her grandfather was one of the first Chinese acrobats.
At age eight, she performed a hand balancing and contortion act at the prestigious Festival Modial du Cirque du Demain in Paris, which won her a Silver Medal and made her an instant sensation in the circus world. Featured in major circuses and variety shows throughout Europe, she made her American debut in 2002 with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, where she was given center ring.
The acrobat will perform at the Big Apple Circus for her second time since 2005. She will be performing solo and she says she wants the audience to walk away feeling joy after leaving the circus.