2014 Convention



Saturday, May 18, 2013

(From their facebook posts)

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Cirque Musica: Nashville Symphony, circus to share stage
Cirque Musica peformer doing a handstand during the “Rolla-Bolla” act. Submitted
by Rennessean Music Team
May 17, 2013
There won’t be elephants or lions, but the circus is coming to town and stopping at the Schermerhorn Symphony Center this Thursday, May 23, through May 25.

Cirque Musica will bring along a program of familiar music, instrumental soloists, acrobats and a strongman — even a ringmaster of sorts — when it joins the Nashville Symphony Orchestra for three performances. Albert-George Schram will conduct.

The program is filled with selections from popular culture and the classical music repertoire, many of which have appeared in various Nashville Symphony series over the past couple of years. “Bald Mountain” was included in last fall’s Halloween Pied Piper concert, for example, while the William Tell Overture was performed at the beginning of the current season.

Excerpts from the “Star Wars” and “Superman” themes, “The Sorcerer’s Apprentice” (here with a hula hoop act) and “Mars” from Holst’s “Planets” are also on the Cirque Musica program.

The idea of putting this circus inside the concert hall was the brainchild of Steve Cook, whose background includes working in marketing for the parent company of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus and later for the Dallas Symphony Orchestra.

“You see kids all over the place, people are clapping and cheering and standing to great classical music but they’re experiencing it in a different way,” Cook said of the typical Cirque Musica performance. He spoke about the concept from his office in Texas; here are excerpts from the conversation.

Circus plus classical standards?

Cirque Musica is sort of a theatrical version of my professional life in some instances... . When I started my own company it made sense to bring my two worlds together, which is the circus world and the symphonic world... . The thought behind Cirque Musica was to bring new people into the (concert) hall and to entertain subscribers and people who’ve been coming to the symphony for years.
What’s in the show?

All the acts are Ringling Bros. and Cirque de Soleil, veteran acts. At one point in the show we do Copland’s “Hoe-Down” and we have a cowboy act. In the scheme of the circus world it’s a simple act, a roper, but he’s amazing and people go nuts ... because it works so well with the music and the music is so good and so fun, so upbeat.
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Zeppelin Ice Skater

c. 1920s:
Girl on a merry-go-round horse
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c. 1909:
Horse maths


New season, new acts: Circus World ready to entertain

Eddie Monserrate performs on the Wheel of Destiny. The 32-foot spinning contraption is a new part of the Circus World performer’s act this summer
by By Annie Getsinger, News Republic
May 18, 2013
Jumping rope is hard enough for some people. Eddie Monserrate does it while balancing on a spinning steel cage high above the ground.
The perilous feat is all in a day’s work for Monserrate. He and dozens of performers, workers and volunteers are ready for the start of Circus World Museum’s summer season, which opens Saturday.
Circus World, a 54-year fixture in the community, will put on 10 live shows daily, including a big top show featuring unicyclists, clowns, monkeys, dogs, an elephant, a singing ringmaster and a contortionist — Kevin the human pretzel.
Harold Burdick’s handshake would seem to suggest he is the circus’ strongman, but that’s not his official title. The wagons and facilities superintendent, who goes by “Heavy,” was busy this week getting all areas ready for the public.
Burdick, who has been with Circus World for nearly 40 years, said the process wouldn’t go smoothly without his dedicated crew of maintenance workers and volunteers, who have been hard at work washing wagons, sweeping floors, mowing the grass and putting up fencing around performer areas.
“I’m not an ‘I’ guy,” Burdick said. “I’m a ‘we’ guy.
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Monserrate, who hails from Sarasota, Fla., said his Wheel of Destiny thrill act, in which he balances inside and atop a spinning, 32-foot contraption, is new for this year’s show season.
“It’s like a big exercise treadmill type of thing,” he said, adding that he was intimidated at first by the height, openness and the element of danger involved.
He climbs in and out of the cage atop the Wheel of Destiny, jumping rope, balancing and even donning a blindfold.
“You just have to practice, practice, practice, practice,” Monserrate said. “ ... The whole part is to just black that out and just concentrate on what you have to do.”
He said he looks forward to getting the season started.
“It’s exciting,” he said. “ … I want everybody to just come and see the whole park.”
Monserrate’s wife, Jaheida, and kids, Joseph, 13, and Grace, 10, assist with the act and also are involved in the Kids’ World Interactive Circus and the Circus Skills Adventure.
Illusionist Tristan Crist is in his eighth season at Circus World. His magic theater, across from the museum’s wagon pavilion, was constructed before last season.
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Cole Bros. circus responds to NJSPAC allegation
Written by Staff Report
May 16, 2013
The state Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals did not charge a Cole Bros. elephant trainer with animal cruelty 10 years ago, as reported on Thursday in the Home News Tribune, Courier News and, said Renee Storey, the circus’ vice president of administration, in a prepared statement.
The NJSPCA filed charges against Franklyn V. Murray in 1996. But according to the agency’s own Facebook page (, Murray, his family and their elephants appeared with Vidbel Circus in New Jersey, not Cole Bros., Storey said.
On May 10, 2012, Murray was arrested by the NJSPCA at the New Egypt Speedway, while traveling with the Piccadilly Circus, Storey said. NJSPCA was assisted by the Plumsted Police Department, she said.
Murray was wanted on a warrant for the 1996 animal cruelty charge and for contempt of court for failing to appear, she said.
“According to Mr. Murray, NJSCPA failed to properly notify him of a warrant for 16 years, during which time, Murray was duly licensed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the state Department of Environmental Protection to possess and exhibit his elephants,” Storey said. “NJSPCA could produce no evidence to support charges of animal cruelty. After Mr. Murray was arrested, placed in handcuffs, booked and posted bond, charges against him were dropped. But not until after Mr. Murray suffered humiliation, damage to his reputation, and financial loss from having to pay an attorney to defend him against specious charges.”
Representatives of the NJSPCA did not respond to phone calls and emails.


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Magic of circus at Norwich Theatre Royal

Dress rehearsal of Sequence 8 at the Theatre Royal, part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013. Photo: Steve Adams
by Emma Knights
May 18, 2013
The magic of circus is at Norwich Theatre Royal this weekend as a French-Canadian troupe of performers takes to the stage.
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Dress rehearsal of Sequence 8 at the Theatre Royal, part of the Norfolk and Norwich Festival 2013. Photo: Steve Adams
Described as “playful and profound” and “an exhilarating race through the furthest reaches of acrobatics, circus arts, dance and theatre,” Séquence 8 is the eighth and newest show by Les 7 doigts de la main (also known as Seven Fingers) and the contemporary circus troupe is returning to this year’s Norfolk and Norwich Festival after a sell-out run in the festival’s Spiegeltent in 2010.
Les 7 doigts de la main was founded in Montreal in 2002. The company’s name translates as “the seven fingers of the hand”, a twist on the French expression “the five fingers of the hand” which is used to describe separate parts united in a common goal. The seven in Les 7 doigts de la main refers to the company’s founding directors.
The performances of Séquence 8 at the Norfolk and Norwich Festival are the first time the show has been performed in the UK.
Séquence 8 by Les 7 doigts de la main is at Norwich Theatre Royal tonight at 8pm. Tickets £6.50-£26.50. The show lasts 90 minutes with no interval. It is suitable for ages eight and above.


Big Apple Circus Souvenir Program, 2012-13


Friday, May 17, 2013


Big Apple Circus puts up tent in Cunningham Park

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Photo courtesy Big Apple Circus
The Quinterion Troupe from Hungary demonstrate acrobatics in the air and on the ground.

By Kevin Zimmerman
The Big Apple Circus returns to Queens Sunday for a month of performances packed with trapeze artists, synchronized cyclists and performing animals in its production of “Legendarium” at Cunningham Park.
A slate of global performers will entertain boys and girls of all ages in this nostalgic show that recalls another era of circus traditions.
Watch Bulgarian Andrey Mantchev take to the sky in a solo trapeze act of mid-air flips and catches. From China, the all-female Dalian Acrobatic Troupe performs synchronized poses while atop their bicycles. Russians Valeriy Sychev and Malvina Abakarova, who perform as Desire of Flight, defy gravity with soaring stunts while attached to aerial straps. And marvel at Jenny Vidbel’s majestic horses, prancing ponies and playful pups.
Throughout the evening, the Big Apple Circus Band will evoke memories as it plays iconic music from the past. And the Acrobuffs, a husband-and-wife clown team, will elicit laughs as they bring their brand of slapstick comedy to the ring.
Performances begin Sunday, May 19, and run through Sunday, June 16, under the Big Top at Cunningham Park, at 196-22 Union Tnpk. in Fresh Meadows.
Tickets start at $20 and are available at or by calling 1-888-541-3750. The circus box office, in front of the tent, opens Saturday, May 18.


Lifelong circus dreamer comes to Queens

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John Kennedy Kane will serve as ringmaster for Big Apple Circus’ “Legendarium.”

by Joseph Orovic
May 16, 2013
Queens,NY--It is considered something of a cinematic clichÈ: the wide-eyed child stepping under the big top for the first time, walking out hours later to swear to anyone who’ll listen that he or she will join the circus.
The story rarely plays out. Inevitably, the kid comes to his or her senses and picks up a seemingly sensible career, like accounting or lawyer. Yawn.
Starting May 19, Queens will host a true embodiment of that starry-eyed kid, when the Big Apple Circus’ John Kennedy Kane appears under the big top — as the ringmaster, just as he always wanted.
He’ll be the master of ceremonies for the circus’ “Legendarium,” a nod to the circus as it used to be. It’s a suitable venue for Kane, who himself is a veritable time warp.
A substantial mass of humanity, with a deep guttural voice and cadence that’s prone to theatricality, Kane is the rare case of a ringmaster who’s born, not bred. In an era when actors stand under the big top and deliver rehearsed lines, Kane can say he is doing the very job he has wanted all along.
“I was that kid who wanted to join the circus and actually did,” Kane said. “[My parents] thought it was a phase. They helped me pack. They were so sick of hearing me talk about joining the circus.”
The Buffalo native was such a nag about his big top ambitions he was nicknamed “Circ” as a teen.
He started as a magician and was soon eating fire for the Clyde Beatty-Cole Brothers circus, before making a short-lived move on to being a clown.
The 52-year-old has called the circus home for 30 years. This excludes a diversion into the wild world of journalism (which you may understandably confuse with being a clown).
Kane then paid his professional dues, traveling with 15 “mud shows,” inside show-biz talk for the dirt-pit classic circuses that act as testing grounds for top talent. Venues like Big Apple and other bold-faced names don’t accept resumes, Kane said. They’ll find you.
And all those years working the circuit have paid off professionally for Kane. He knows the ins and outs of a show, and can keep the pace going.
“I know circus rigging,” he said, citing an example: “I know that trapeze isn’t ready to go yet. They have said that the few times here that I had to make up stuff, I did a great job. All my years being a clown, being a magician have helped. Nothing here phases me.”
And that kid who always wanted to run off and join the circus is coming back to his home state for a stint in Cunningham Park, where, he says, “The audiences are amazing.”
Big Apple Circus
When: May 19 to June 16. Twice per day, times vary
Where: Cunningham Park, 196-22 Union Tpke., Fresh Meadows
Tickets: $20-$60
Tootsie Roll Story
From: Casey Gibbs

Uploaded on Jun 22, 2010
LtCol Andy Traynor, USMC (Ret), and Major Dave Vickers, USMC (Ret), tell a unique story of how Marines used Tootsie Rolls during the Chosin Reservoir campaign.


The mane attraction! Circus performer dances with death in lion waltz

Dances with lions: Oleksiy Pinko, a Ukrainian circus artist, dances with a lion during a presentation of the new program in Ukraine's National Circus in Kiev on Wednesday
By Daily Mail Reporter
16 May 2013
Dancing in the arms of a full-grown lion may not be how most would prefer to spend their day, but then sticking their head between its jaws may not be either.
Oleksiy Pinko, Ukraine's famed circus artist and lion tamer, is a regular sight for such death-defying spectacles while photographed during his latest literally jaw-dropping performance with the National Circus in Kiev on Wednesday.
The lion, with paws the size of dinner plates, is seen twirling in Pinko's arms on the center ring while in another shot he's amazingly seen gently kissing the tip of the creature's wet nose.

One-to-three: The massive cat with paws the size of dinner plates wraps itself around Pinko as they twirl around the center ring
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Death defying: Pinko uses a few fingers to help stretch open the lion's massive jaws before he stuns his audience by sticking his unprotected head inside
If that weren't enough for his audience, Pinko then stretches the cat's massive jaws apart before sticking his unprotected head inside.
Pinko releases one hand from the cat's bottom jaw as he presses his head, face first, down the throat of the mighty beast.
As a long-time lion tamer, the astonishing series of stunts weren't his first brush with danger - nor would it have been his first time if attacked.
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Al Kaly Shrine Circus
Circus performers wow audiences at the Cañon City Rodeo Grounds

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Canon City,CO--The excitement built up with the sound of music, children laughing and the aroma of popcorn in the air.
Dozens of people cheered when the tigers were brought into the Cañon City Rodeo Grounds arena Thursday at the beginning of the Al Kaly Shrine Circus, produced by the Jordan World Circus.
And the crowd was not disappointed when the tigers lined up to sit on their haunches on the stools before climbing down to spin around on the pedestals. They then laid on their stomachs, rolled over 180 degrees and rose on their hind legs in unison. Two of the tigers took turns jumping through a flaming hoop and performed in ways that captured the audience's attention.
During the performance of the Flying Kumquats, the crowd watched in awe as the aerialists swung high above the crowd then the audience held their collective breath as two performers passed each other in the air.
Hardly anyone can imagine how the circus performer could ride a motorcycle through the door, where another performer was tied by her wrists and ankles and not be hurt.
Then the dogs took over, leaving the crowd laughing and cheering them on as they jumped over hoops, followed by one of the dogs pushing a car with a child in a child's riding car and many other tricks. Of those attending the show, Cheryl Miller said she enjoyed the tigers, as well.
"We've never been to this circus before," she said. "I liked it. It's kind of nice."
Raquel Gillentine, her daughter, Sierra, and Rachael Griffin and her daughter, Clarissa Clark, attended the circus, as well.
"This is my first time," Raquel said. "I think it's pretty cool."
She said she like the aerialists the best.
"I wanted to take my daughter (so she could) ride an elephant," Raquel said.
It was magic for Griffin, as well.
"It's great," she said. "I liked the dogs the best."
This was the first time Sierra has been to the circus.
"I think it's awesome," she said. "(I liked) the guy that went around in the wheel."
Clarissa said she enjoyed the clowns and riding on the elephant.
"It was really, really fun," she said. "I want to do it again."
Sierra had never ridden an elephant before.
"I thought I was going to fall," she said.
Prior to the show, Charlotte Gribble attended with her daughter, Sarah Harrison, and grandchildren, Coby, 9, Heaven, 6, Angel , 1.
"I think it's (good)," she said. "Some of that stuff, I wouldn't have the nerve (to do, like) the guy on the wheel."
It was the same for Harrison.
"It's wonderful," she said. "(But) it's pretty scary." This year, Brenda Hodge brought her daughter, Cora, 4, for the first time, reminiscent of bringing her other daughter, Elisyana, 8, several yeas ago.
"I like it," Cora said.
Elisyana agreed.
"It's awesome," she said. "I thought (the tigers were) pretty cool."


Circus World attendance, revenue up
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By Ben Bromley, News Republic
May 16, 2013
Attendance and revenue are up this spring at Circus World Museum, a trend leaders attribute to a new magic show and publicity over a proposed state takeover of the site.
Treasurer Jim Kieffer told the Circus World Museum Foundation’s executive committee Thursday that admission is up 33 percent so far this year. The site attracted 1,332 visitors through the end of April, up from 891 last year.
Kieffer also reported fundraising revenue — grants, donations to the summer gala and other gifts — through the end of April was $136,000, up from $78,000 last year. As for daily operations, admission revenue is up $3,400 this year, and store sales are up $2,000. Circus World opens its summer performance season Saturday.
“All these are positive signs,” Kieffer said. “Hopefully that’s a signal of things to come for the summer.”
Committee members pointed to the addition of shows by illusionist Tristan Crist, presented twice each weekday, as a key attraction. They also surmised statewide publicity about the museum’s fate, after Gov. Scott Walker proposed rolling Circus World into the Wisconsin Historical Society, generated interest.
“It was an interesting way of trying to get business, but let’s not try that again,” committee member John Lloyd said.
Support for next month’s Circus of Chefs gala appears poised to surpass last year’s levels, Kieffer reported. Revenue is up $30,000 year-to-date. More than $130,000 already has been paid and pledged toward a goal of $165,000.
“We anticipate a significant number of individual tickets to be sold yet,” said Steve Freese, Circus World’s executive director.
The committee agreed Thursday to remove from its 2013 budget a new development director position. The position was designed to pay for itself this year, but was put on hold due to uncertainty regarding the state budget and Circus World’s future. It was best to pull this provision from the budget, Freese said, to accurately reflect the absence of that salary expense and the foundation’s more modest fundraising goal without a development director in place.
A full-time fund raiser still may be hired by the end of the year. “We’d still love to do it. We just don’t have the resources,” Lloyd said.
The executive committee leads the Circus World Museum Foundation board. The nonprofit foundation operates the site for the state Historical Society, which owns the buildings, grounds and collections.
UniverSoul Circus

Published on May 16, 2013
The UniverSoul Circus is in the D.C. area.


Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus a spectacle of organization

Photo by Mike Brown, The Commercial Appeal
May 16, 2013 — Electrician Kat Wrozek helps install the lighting on a suspended truss as the crew sets up for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Landers Center in Southahven. The show runs through Sunday. (Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal)

By Henry Bailey
May 16, 2013
“The Greatest Show on Earth” may also stage the slickest setup and takedown process on the planet as the mobile entertainment dynamo also known as the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus rolls from city to city in its several versions.
“During World War II, the Army came and studied the circus — logistics officers were amazed how fast we could set up tents and props and pack up, and wanted to use our techniques to move troops,” Dean Kelley said amid Thursday’s activity the day before the show was to open.
Kelley, also known as preshow host Dean the Clown, is a top tour guide for what the circus calls the “load in.”
“We’ve been around for 143 years, so I’d say we’ve got it down to a science,” he said.

Photo by Mike Brown, The Commercial Appeal
May 16, 2013 — Alfonso Lopez, the patriarch of the all-family Lopez Troupe, helps assemble the 12-foot diameter, steel globe that he, his son and daughter-in-law speed around in at the same time on motorcycles during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus at the Landers Center in Southahven. The show runs through Sunday. (Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal)

He conversed amiably amid the organized hubbub of a circus rising in the Landers Center in Southaven, where the traveling community of people, pets, animals, a school and a nursery — with a different backyard every week — was plugging in for some electrifying action.
The weekend series of Landers shows starts at 7 p.m. Friday, and $1 of every ticket purchased for this performance going to Ronald McDonald House. Other showtimes are Saturday at 11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m.; and Sunday at 1 p.m. and 5 p.m. Tickets are available at the Landers box office and online at Ticketmaster.
With more than 100 cast and crew members, the little mobile neighborhood offers big-scale entertainment and extraordinary teamwork to build Fully Charged in 45 cities across America this year. Sharing the trip — some 25,000 to 30,000 miles — are three Asian elephants, three camels, four horses, two ponies, one mini horse and 17 dogs.

Photo by Mike Brown, The Commercial Appeal
May 16, 2013 — Dean Kelley is a clown and preshow with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus. Kelley says: “Clowns don’t say ‘break a leg’ for good luck. We say ‘bump a nose.’” (Mike Brown/The Commercial Appeal)
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Dean Kelley in is clown persona. Photo courtesy of Ringling Brothers.
It generally takes eight hours to “load in” and four hours to “load out” after a city visit. Fully Charged arrived earlier this week from Asheville, N.C., and will head next to Wichita, Kan., packed on four semis plus a flatbed trailer and generator trailer, and three animal trailers. Larger Blue and Red circus units travel by rail, said Kelley, “on the two largest privately owned trains in the country.”
To set up for a Fully Charged show, which includes laser lights and electronic effects in addition to the acrobats, animals acts and clowns of tradition, involves 12,000 feet of cable, 15 conventional and 35 moving lights, 50,000 watts of speaker power. Oh yes, don’t forget three confetti cannons, firing 10 pounds of confetti and streamers per week, and 200 pieces of flashy wardrobe for the performers.
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Baby elephant to perform at Cole Brothers circus in P-burg

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Posted by Kathy Lauer-Williams
May 14, 2013
Baby Val, the little Asian elephant, will be one of the many animals featured at Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars Monday and Tuesday at Phillipsburg Mall,1200 Highway 22 East.
 Val will join a troupe of performing Asian elephants in the center ring of the circus set up under its distinctive red and yellow striped big top.

Laugh at the crazy antics of the clowns, be amazed at the Fassion family from South America who do balancing feats on a thin pole and watch as the human cannonball Jose Bermudez is shot out of the world’s largest cannon.
Other highlights include a trio of aerialists who perform on a ring, by hair and with fabric strips; Vincenta Pages and her white Bengal tigers; a thrilling daredevil motorcycle act and the Tabares family who perform a high wire act in which they form a human tower
Shows are at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. Tickets are $16 to $23.


Woman with clown married to one

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By Rebecca Smith-Dawkins
May 16, 2013
IF you are scared of clowns, the last thing you would want to see is your husband of 21 years dressing up as one for his circus job.
Moscow-born Natalia Gonchorova, 41, works as a mannequin in her husband's clown act – but her phobia means she cannot stand the sight of him once he is all dressed up. In fact, the only way she can look at him is behind sunglasses.
The couple will be performing together at the Moscow State Circus in Nottingham this week – the fifth time the circus has come to the city since it arrived in the UK in 1995.

Natalia knew that her husband, Pavel Ivanov, 43, worked at the circus, but it was only when they were married three months later that she found out he dressed up as her worst nightmare for a living.
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