“Circus and the City,” at the Bard Graduate Center Gallery.
The Big Apple Circus, Manhattan’s homegrown one-ring wonder, has returned for its thirty-fifth year, with a dozen acts from here and abroad, including Elayne Kramer, a sixth-generation Argentinean contortionist; the animal trainer Jenny Vidbel, who has worked with ponies, dogs, llamas, pigs, an African porcupine, and the world’s largest rodent, the capybara; and the Acrobuffos, the Harlem-based couple Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone, who hold degrees from three clown colleges (as well as from Princeton), and who deliver a modern take on commedia dell’arte. This year’s show, “Legendarium: A Journey Into Circus Past,” is hosted by John Kennedy Kane, who is making his Big Apple début as a ringmaster. (Damrosch Park, Lincoln Center. 888-541-3750. Through Jan. 13.) For those who wish to journey even farther into the past, the Bard Graduate Center’s exhibition “Circus and the City” surveys two hundred and seventeen years of circus history in New York, starting with the first equestrian circus, on Greenwich Street, in 1793. The show includes musical instruments, photographs, posters, and memorabilia, and features a section on Jumbo, the six-ton elephant whose name entered the American lexicon after his 1882 arrival in the city. (Bard Graduate Center Gallery, 18 W. 86th St. Through Feb. 3. For more information, visit bgc.bard.edu.)
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