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Sunday, March 23, 2014

N.Y.C. themes of Big Apple Circus have universal appeal
For the last two years, the Big Apple Circus has put on a performance that specifically celebrates New York City, prompting ringmaster John Kennedy Kane to ponder: “How has Boston come to embrace the Big Apple Circus?”


John Kennedy Kane is serving in his second year as the ringmaster for the Big Apple Circus, which performs in Boston starting Tuesday.
By Lauren DiTullio
From: The Patriot Ledger 
Posted Mar. 23, 2014
For the last two years, the Big Apple Circus has put on a performance that specifically celebrates New York City, prompting ringmaster John Kennedy Kane to ponder: “How has Boston come to embrace the Big Apple Circus?”
“You have the rivalry, the Yankees versus the Red Sox and what have you, yet people still come out to this New York circus,” he said. “Last year, my first year, I found that somewhat surprising.”
A native of Buffalo, Kane has a theory that the show’s success relies on a storied reputation and the universal appeal of a spectacle.

This year’s show, “Luminocity,” is the second in a row with a theme that has to do with New York, however Kane said the narrative element is almost secondary.
“Sometimes I don’t think you need the theme. These are the best circus acts from around the world,” he said.
The examples he noted included a high-wire act from Portugal that turns traditional gender roles upside down. Husband Werner Guerrero hops onto wife Aura Cardinali’s shoulders as they travel across the wire, with Cardinali singing all the while.
Three-time Guinness World Record holder, Ty Tojo, 15, also makes Kane’s list of favorite acts, even though he added that every artist in the circus is “remarkable.”
Tojo, who hails from Japan, enters the ring as a hot dog vendor, but quickly reveals himself to be an expert juggler, according to Kane.
“When you see these acts, you are seeing the Academy Award winners of circus acts,” he said.
Kane should know. He has been touring with various circuses for more than 30 years.
Kane said the Big Apple Circus is known for switching up its routines every year, a model that doesn’t lend itself to keeping a constant ringmaster year after year. Nevertheless, Kane has contracted to stay on for 2015, and he said he is in talks to remain the ringmaster for 2016 as well, which he said he’d be glad to do.
The accommodations for performers, he said, are top-notch, as is the philosophy behind each performance. The intimate setting allows Kane to connect with the audience, talking them through the performance as opposed to bellowing at them.
“Getting to settle into a town for a little while is a luxury. I’m very happy,” he said.
Kane’s favorite part of the job, though, is the Circus of the Senses, a performance tailored specifically to blind and hearing-impaired children.
After the show, which is supplemented by headsets and ASL interpreters, blind children come into the ring and pet the animals.

IF YOU GO . . . .
The Big Apple Circus will take place on City Hall Plaza from March 25 to May 11.  Tickets start at $25 and are available at tickets.bigapplecircus.org or by calling 888-541-3750.

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