2014 Convention



Saturday, May 24, 2014


Shrine Circus at Mennen Arena
Elephant kindergarten. Photo By George!

The Daring and Lovely Angela. Photo By George!

Miss Aravik stands on her head. Photo By George!

Top dog: Susan Sheryll's Royal Afghan Champions. Photo By George!

Shrine Circus at Mennen Arena
The Sensational Seyranyan Sisters tie themselves in knots. Photo by Hal Crosthwaite.

The Sensational Skymasters. Photo By George!

Circus dazzles Galion community
May 22.2014
The Culpepper and Merriweather Circus was in Galion this week, thanks to the Rotary and Kiwanis clubs of Galion. The big top, one-ring circus went up in Heise Park on May 20 and two shows were offered to the community. The exciting performance opened with three jungle cats named Soloman, Delilah and Francis. Also appearing in the ring were a family of unicyclists, a trapeze artist and a contortionist, among others. For the finale, “Los Moralitos” took a spin on the Wheel of Destiny, a massive, death-defying rotating arm with a wheel on each end.
Circus is coming to town

MAY 22, 2014
The Estevan yand District Shrine Club will be bringing tleshe Shrine Circus to Affinity Place in Estevan on June 3. There will be three shows: 9:30 a.m., 1 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. 
Funds raised from the circus will go towards the Shriners Hospitals for Children that are located throughout North America, including their hospital in Montreal, said local Shrine club member Gene Davis. The money also helps patients with the cost of travel to the hospitals, as well as medical services.

“The service that the Shriners provide through their hospitals for children has no attachments for ability to pay…it’s provided to them at no cost, said Davis.

As for the show, Davis said that spectators should expect traditional circus performances, which include elephants, trapeze performers and clowns. He said the Shriners are hoping to get big cats for the circus, too, as they were part of last year's show.

The Estevan and District Shrine Club’s goal for the circus this year is for every child in Grade 6 and under to attend the circus for free. Davis said the Shriners hope that businesses within in the city will buy a large amount of tickets to give to school systems, so the children can go to the circus.

“We hope to get enough support through the business community to enable us to do that, and that’s the type work we do here at the club,” said Davis.

Overall the circus is a great fundraiser for the Shriners Children's Hospitals, as in the past Davis said that the event was usually well attended.

Giffords Circus rolls into town

Tweedy the Clown stars in the new season of Giffords Circus
By Gloucestershire Echo  
May 23, 2014
YOU know summer is here when Giffords Circus appears on a village green near you with their latest show.

Sudeley Castle in Winchcombe is the first venue for this year’s production The Thunders by Nell Gifford and her international cast of circus performers.

Based loosely on the ancient Greek legends, the show is touring for four months around Gloucestershire and surrounding areas.

Everybody’s favourite clown Tweedy is back and getting his head round the Trojan horse, while Ethiopian jugglers Bichu and Bibi are also back in the Big Top for the season.

Authentic costumes with plenty of tunics, gladiator sandals, laurel wreaths and silver headdresses are lined up, along with an original music score by James Keay.

And the show also features four rescue dogs, which have been trained and will appear alongside the humans doing tricks like riding ponies and jumping through hoops.

Nell said: “We’ve played very fast and loose with the legends but it is very beautiful and hopefully very funny.

“The set is like a 1960’s film type set with a dreamy, picturesque look; it’s very pre-Raphaelite.”

Created by Nell and directed by Cal McCrystal, the show also features heroic Theseus, the terrifying snake-headed Medusa, goddess of harvest Demeter and a beautiful siren from the deep.

New acts to watch out for this year include horse riders from Martinique and Hungary, an Australian contortionist and a Polish singer.

Giffords Circus opens at Sudeley tonight at 6pm and runs until Tuesday, with midday, afternoon and evening shows.

It then moves on to Pittville Gardens in Cheltenham and other venues include Daylesford Organic Farm in Kingham, Frampton-on-Severn’s village green, Minchinhampton Common and Stratton Meadow in Cirencester.

Outside Gloucestershire, the circus also visits Blenheim Palace and Alice Park in Bath.
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Family circus returns in June

Some kids enjoying the family circus last year on the grounds of Saxe Middle School. This year’s event will be held Saturday, June 21.
By New Canaan Advertiser  
May 22, 2014 
The New Canaan YMCA and Kiwanis Club of New Canaan announced that the annual family circus will take place on Saturday, June 21, at Saxe Middle School. It will feature new acts from the Zerbini Family Circus, the eighth generation circus who made their New Canaan debut last year.

Showtimes will be at 1:30, 4 and 6:30. Last year’s acts under the big top included aerialists, jugglers, acrobats, camels, and the death-defying “Wheel of Destiny.”

Proceeds benefit financial assistance for the Y’s summer camps, as well as the Kiwanis community fund, which supports youth programs throughout the community. Sponsors thus far include: TD Bank, Walter Stewart’s, Karl Chevrolet, Hawthorne Ackerly & Dorrance, Indian Rock Families, Fresh Dine, Simply Delicious, Sperry DeCew, and First County Bank. Event sponsorship is still available through Wednesday, May 21.

Tickets will be available  starting Sunday, June 1, and are $20 in advance and $25 at the door; children 2 and under are free. They may be purchased the Y front desk as well as Baskin Robbins, Karl Chevrolet and TD Bank, as well as

Parade group may offer Circus World grant money

BY Ben Bromley 
May 22,2014
Money left over from the last Great Circus Parade in Milwaukee may yet benefit Circus World Museum.
During his report Thursday to the nonprofit board that operates Circus World, Executive Director Scott O’Donnell said the Great Circus Parade Inc. has $55,000 left from the 2009 parade. The parade group may use that sum as seed money to offer matching grants to fund operational needs at Circus World.
“It could become sort of a yearly operation,” O’Donnell said. “It’s exciting.”

He also told the Circus World Museum Foundation board that organizers of this summer’s gala fundraiser have amassed about $150,000 toward their $190,000 goal for the event. That puts the gala ahead of last year’s pace.

“We should not take our foot off the pedal, to be sure,” O’Donnell said.
Cool weather limited attendance at the museum’s opening weekend, especially among Boy Scouts who were scheduled to camp out at the Sauk County Fairgrounds. Still, thanks to a $1 ticket price increase, revenue for the weekend was up. The museum netted about $11,550 for the opening weekend, up from about $9,700 the year before.
O’Donnell also reported on the Big Top Parade and Circus Celebration set for July. Entering its second year, the event has grown into a four-day festival, starting with a circus-themed installment of Concerts on the Square on July 24. Other festivities include a concert at the Al. Ringling Theatre by parade grand marshal Tom Wopat, the parade and circus festival, and a car show. “It really has expanded into a four-day celebration in town, with a goal of getting people here and keeping them here,” O’Donnell said. “We have a lot to trumpet.”

In other news, O’Donnell reported:
Candidates for the museum’s new development director position soon will be interviewed.
The long, bitter winter dried out the Gavioli band organ, which needs to be restored. “It’s one of our wonderful elements that makes a connection with our guests,” O’Donnell said.
Renovation of the museum’s steam calliope is 90 percent complete.
Circus World, Inc. has raised $16,000 toward restoration of the Old Woman Who Lived in the Shoe float. “That allows us to start and get into it,” O’Donnell said.

Circus motorcycle crash evacuates Marietta 
The circus finale ended abruptly when a motorcycle stalled in mid-air and crashed

Julie Wolfe, WXIA 
May 22, 2014
MARIETTA, Ga-- The finale at the Shrine Circus in Marietta ended abruptly when a motorcycle malfunctioned and crashed.

Karen Webb was attending the Yaarb Shine Circus Wednesday night at Jim Miller park with her family. The show had entered the finale and included a stunt with two motorcycles jumping the center ring. "One of the two motorcycles crashed into the end of the landing ramp and fell to the ground," Webb said. "The ring master immediately requested assistance of a paramedic and told all in attendance this was not part of the show."

Richard Burke, Potentate of Yaarb Shrine, confirmed the crash with 11Alive's Julie Wolfe. Towards the end of the show, the two motorcycles took off on the ramp and were flying through the air towards the landing ramp when one of the motorcycles stalled. The performer hit the large, inflatable safety bags just up at the head of the ramp.

"It worked like it was supposed to work," Burke said, "And he did everything right, everything he was supposed to do."

Burke said there were paramedics on sight, and they responded within minutes. There was not an ambulance on site. One was called and transported the motorcyclist to the hospital. He was released after he was treated for two broken ribs.

The show runs through May 26th, and Burke said there will be no changes. There will be at least one motorcycle in the finale tonight. Originally, when the performer thought he only has bruised ribs, he was hoping to return before the show ended. Since he was diagnosed with broken bones, that won't happen.

Circus Flora readies its next move, 'The Pawn'

Dan Donovan
The Flying Wallendas, performing with Circus Flora in 2011. Handout photo
By Calvin Wilson
May 22, 2014
Circus Flora will return to Grand Center next week with a chess-inspired show called “The Pawn.” The circus’ 28th season will feature some promising new acts along with some old favorites. But a familiar face will be missing under the Big Top: co-founder and longtime artistic director Ivor David Balding, who died May 9.
Balding had already passed the baton to Jack Marsh, 29, who was named his successor in 2012. The move was very much in keeping with the family spirit of the one-ring circus: Marsh’s mother is Cecil MacKinnon, its theater director. Audiences know her as the circus’ colorful narrator, Yo-Yo.
MacKinnon has been with the popular, nationally recognized circus since its beginnings.

“What kept me in Circus Flora was David’s vision, which was very much my vision — of what we wanted circus to be, and what we wanted to create,” she says.

Yo-Yo the clown, in Circus Flora's production of "A Trip to the Moon" in 2013. Handout photo
Like last year’s Circus Flora show, “A Trip to the Moon” (which was based on a 1902 silent film about astronomers and their lunar adventures), “The Pawn” is the kind of concept that lends itself to being explored circus-style, MacKinnon says.

The game of chess serves as a passageway to a story evoking the atmosphere of ancient India and Persia — with a pawn taking center stage. Circus Flora partnered with the World Chess Hall of Fame and the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis in bringing the show to life.

Jeff Finazzo
Circus Flora's tent behind Powell Hall. Handout photo
“As opposed to the queen, the pawn is kind of out there and very vulnerable to the world, which makes for a dramatic situation,” MacKinnon says.

Also, Marsh says, chess is ideal for telling a story with a large cast.
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Clown, aerialist reveal life in Cole Brothers Circus
Big top show comes to Denville this weekend

Flying high
Aerialist Xan Kaplan, originally of Philadelphia, performs her show at Cole Brothers Circus, coming to Denville on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24.
May 22, 2014
DENVILLE - The shows of the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars start off with roars from their white tigers.
And for 130 years, the tents have been popping all along the east coast from Maine to Florida, sometimes as far west as Louisiana, bringing performances to generations of American families since 1884.
No one knows this better than circus clown Julius Carallo, a.k.a. “Chips,” who travels with the Cole Bros. and also performs at birthdays, school shows, and corporate events.
Chips is just one of the dozens of attractions that the Cole Bros. Circus has to offer to Denville on Friday, May 23 and Saturday, May 24, at the St. Clare’s Festival Grounds, located on 22 Pocono Road.
The shows will begin at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. on Friday and 1:30, 4:30, and 7:30 p.m. on Saturday.

Originally from Brooklyn, N.Y., Chips has been a clown for about 20 years. Before this, he had been a printing manager until he went to a local magic store in 1995 and put on make-up for the first time, thus finding a new calling.
Today at age 67, Chips lives on the road with Cole Bros.
“We are strong and courageous to do this type of work,” said Chips. “But we do it for the love and magnificence of this wonderful show.”
Chips explained that he and his fellow performers practice skits and plan new ones every day. They work for nine months of the year doing two or three shows a day, with no scheduled days-off, moving from place to place along with the circus all the while.
The performers are lucky if they get two to three hours of sleep, Chips said.  “Sleeping becomes a job because you gotta maintain your strength.”
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Thursday, May 22, 2014

Circus Harmony Trapeze Center Swings Into Action At Union Station

Julia Campbell is airborne after leaping from the platform at the new Flying Trapeze Center at Union Station. "We hope everyone comes to fly and see how it feels," said Jessica Hentoff, artistic and executive director of Circus Harmony. photo by Diana Linsley 
by Jaime Mowers
May 21, 2014
Imagine flying through the air and flipping from a 25-foot-high trapeze – defying gravity isn't just for circus performers anymore.

Circus Harmony, a nonprofit organization that teaches the art of life through circus, is making it possible for anyone to experience the thrill of flight at its new Flying Trapeze Center. The center – the only one of its kind in the area – is located just outside Union Station next to the Hard Rock Cafe in downtown St. Louis.

The center is bringing the joy of trapeze to anyone who is willing to take a flying leap off the platform – while tightly secured in a safety harness, of course.

"Remember when you were little, running around with a cape on your back and wishing you could fly?" said Jessica Hentoff, artistic and executive director of Circus Harmony. "Now you get to fulfill the dream of flying – you can defy gravity. We hope everyone comes to fly and to see how it feels."

Jaime Mowers of the West End Word experiences first-hand the thrill of the flying trapeze. photo by Diana Linsley 

Webster University student Toni Campbell loves the flying trapeze.

"It's exhilarating," she said while taping her hands before her fourth class at the center. "It's terrifying at first, but it's a really fun experience. It's also a great workout at the same time."

Fly for fun. Fly for fitness. Fly to 

Webster University student Toni Campbell loves the flying trapeze.

"It's exhilarating," she said while taping her hands before her fourth class at the center. "It's terrifying at first, but it's a really fun experience. It's also a great workout at the same time."

Fly for fun. Fly for fitness. Fly to overcome fears and find inner strength.

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A circus travels on its stomach

Pie car manager Matt Loory crisscrosses the country by train, serving meals to the performers and crew with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus. "We are one big family out here," he says. (Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey photo)
May 20, 2014
A circus train is a microcosm of the world, and the pie car manager is at the center of the action.

Matt Loory, 23, is the youngest pie car manager, aka top chef, in the history of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus, which is running its "Legends" show at the Giant Center through Monday.

While working at a breakfast chain restaurant and getting his degree Le Cordon Bleu College of Culinary Arts in Orlando in 2012, he ran smack into the opportunity of a lifetime.

"I got to see the circus train; I got to see the pie car," he says of the interview process. The choice? "Stay in Orlando and go into management or fulfill every little boy's dream and join the circus."

With his family's blessing, he stepped into the center ring and hasn't looked back.

"I had grown up every year going to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus," the Georgia native says. Working with the circus, he adds, will be "a great story to tell my grandkids."

The kitchen: The pie car where Loory and his staff produce most of the 1,000 to 1,500 meals they serve each week is a 110-foot train car with 45 feet of that dedicated cooking and prep space.

"It's the social hub of the train," he says. "No matter where you are on the train, if you want to go somewhere, you have to pass through."

The main kitchen is filled with heavy-duty, marine-grade equipment to handle the load and fit the space. The floor is slatted to allow for easy cleanup, and where a stationary restaurant would boast enormous walk-in fridges and freezers, the pie car relies on reach-in models.

"Putting away a truck with 1,500 pounds of food can be challenging," Loory says, laughing. "We've become 'Tetris' masters."

On some days, the circus offers two or even three shows, and performers might be ducking in for a bite with 10 minutes to spare. The pie car crew runs at top speed to get everyone fed.

"We have to have something that's nourishing and that they can eat quickly," Loory says. "It's absolutely pandemonium between that first and second show."

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Natalie Cainan Chandler
Culpepper & Merriweather Circus

Produced by Royal Hanneford Circus

The Human Cannonball, David Smith, 67, prepares for liftoff. It's a tough way to make a living, but the guy has 11 kids. Photo By George!

The 'Human Cannonball,' David Smith, blasts from a cannon. Photo by Hal Crosthwaite.

The sign adorns back of cannon that blasts 'Human Cannonball' David Smith through the air. If we were the cannonball, we would add an exclamation mark. Photo By George!

Sunday Favorites: When the Circus Came to Town

The Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus was a huge event. This is a poster from the original circus.
by Merab-Michal Favorite
May 18, 2014

Today, we’re surrounded by entertainment options; we have the ability to travel at will and the world, in general, is much smaller than it used to be.

But 130 years ago the arrival of the Ringling Brothers circus was not only cause for celebration, but also for the chance to stand in awe and the pure spectacle of it all.

Towns literally shut down when the circus would arrive because it was an opportunity to see wild creatures like elephants and tigers, crazy acrobatic stunts, feats of strength and clownish buffoonery.

The circus production was so large and so extreme it was almost like a small town in and of itself, with thousands of moving pieces being carted around the nation from coast to coast.

When the circus was in town, it was bigger than the Super Bowl.

Circuses often arrived by train. In addition to the performing horses, some 400 other horses were used to transport goods. 
A trip to the miniature circus at the Ringling Museum of Art really puts into perspective the lengths to which the Ringling Brothers Barnum and Bailey Circus went in order to put on a good show.

Even in miniature form, this behind-the-scenes look at the hundreds of performers, caretakers and general laborers needed to pull off the circus is impressive.

There were food preparation tents, dressing tents, and tents for sleeping. There were tents used for mess halls and tents used for nothing except food preparation for the hundreds of animals that needed sustenance.

Cars lined up to park, then families entered the midway where concessionaires hawked their goods by saying “step right up” outside one of many small tents. Toys were sold as souvenirs, food trucks sold circus treats, and circus-goers bathed in the general sense of celebration and awe that accompanied every show.

One of the most interesting tents was the sideshow, which was filled with oddities that delighted both children and adults. The sideshow, sometimes called "The Kids' Show," required an additional charge, unlike the rest of the circus experience, but rewarded those brave and curious souls that dared to venture inside the tent with a look at the truly strange and wonderful things the circus had to offer. 
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New York recalls the World's Fair glory days

A woman is seen in silhouetted against the sun at the Unisphere fountain at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in New York (Shannon Stapleton Reuters, / July 22, 2011)
By Ellen Wulfhorst, Reuters
May 17, 2014
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The 1964 World's Fair in New York drew 51 million visitors to gaze in awe at its Technicolor visions of the future, sample exotic cuisines and join in singing along at the wildly popular “It’s a Small World” attraction.

Fifty years later, New York City on Sunday will celebrate the fair's remarkable impact with the hope of recapturing some of its wonder and promise in an anniversary festival.

The site is at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, where the monumental 140-foot steel Unisphere can still be readily seen from nearby LaGuardia Airport, and the anniversary marks both the 1964 and 1939 fairs, offering free exhibits, walking tours, memorabilia and performances.

"We want to attract both the World's Fair enthusiasts, the people who may have fond memories and want to relive it, and also just families and people who weren't even born at the time," said Janice Melnick, park administrator.

The fair that opened in 1964 was an exuberant cacophony of water skiers and porpoises from Florida, slick cars from Detroit, futuristic underwater houses, DuPont's Wonderful World of Chemistry, moving pedestrian sidewalks and a monorail gliding overhead.

"What is to come, through the fair's eyes at least, is wonderful," science fiction author Isaac Asimov wrote at the time. "The direction in which man is traveling is viewed with buoyant hope."

New York State Pavilion, one of the last architectural vestiges of 1964 World's Fair is seen at Flushing Meadows-Corona Park in the Queens borough of New York

Astronauts made appearances, the Beatles did a helicopter flyover and Michelangelo's Pieta sculpture was on loan from the Vatican.

"It was a real period of optimism, that life was good in the '60s, but it was going to be great going forward," said Bill Cotter, a World's Fair historian in Los Angeles. "Unfortunately, life has not turned out to be quite as utopian as the fair."

Yet it left indelible memories.

"It was just something so magical," said Karen Vati, 56, of Massapequa Park, New York, who recalls attending the fair 16 times.

"I was just a little girl, and things that I remember then were probably more vivid than things that I remember last week," she said.
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Circus performers train for risks

Ringling Bros. acrobats in Trenton on Friday. An accident two weeks ago in Rhode Island injured eight. MELANIE BURNEY / Staff
By Melanie Burney, Inquirer Staff Writer
May 19, 2014

They are all too familiar with the risks that come with performing death-defying acts to captivate audiences.

Performers train for and live for the thrill of the big top and accept the dangers of the profession. For them, life is always a circus.

A horrifying accident at a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show in Rhode Island two weeks ago put a glaring spotlight on those risks and how performers cope with the dangers of the business.

"You can't think about the accident when you perform," Svetlana Gololodova, a veteran aerialist with the Cole Bros. Circus, said in an interview from Tannersville, Pa., where the circus performed last week.

"You can't be upset and think, 'This could happen to me,' " she said. "You have to think about what you are doing."
After a weekend stint in North Jersey, the traveling circus will arrive in South Jersey for performances beginning Wednesday at the Burlington Center Mall.

The shows will include a crowd-favorite act in which performer Petya Milanova is held aloft by her hair in a "human chandelier."

It is the same routine that was performed at the Ringling Bros. show in Providence in which eight female aerialists plummeted at least 20 feet to the ground when a support on a suspended metal frame broke.

The acrobats were hospitalized, some with head injuries and neck and back fractures. A dancer on the ground also was injured.

Investigators have said a clamp known as a carabiner apparently failed, causing the collapse. They have not determined why.

Two of the injured acrobats previously worked with Cole Bros. and performed with Milanova in a three-ring hair act. Milanova, who has performed with the circus since she was a teenager, was too distraught to be interviewed.

"It's a terrible thing, the accident that they had," said Elvin Bale, Cole Bros. director and vice president of operations, who also knows the injured acrobats. "You don't expect something to fail."

But Bale, a retired daredevil, knows all too well that failures can happen. He broke his legs and back in a circus accident 20 years ago in Hong Kong when he missed landing on the air mat in a human cannonball act.

"It's a sad thing, but it's part of life," said Bale, a fourth-generation circus performer.

Dale Thomsen, a Cole Bros. human cannonball, said he "feeds off the adrenaline" of performing. The cannon, billed as the largest in the circus industry, propels him 90 feet.

"I have definitely fallen in love with the circus. It is hard not to," said Thomsen, 28, of Mount Cloud, Minn.

Ringling Bros. pulled the hair-hanging act from nine performances of its "Legends" show, which closed Sunday in Trenton at the Sun Bank Center.

"We are in the business because we love it. We understand the risks we take very day," said Matt Belopavlovich, 27, of Madison, Wis., a Ringling Bros. clown and preshow host. "But we are proud of what we do."

"The safety of our cast, staff, and crew, as well as our guests, continues to be our highest priority," the circus' parent company, Feld Entertainment, said in a statement.

At a Friday matinee Ringling Bros. performance in Trenton, an audience packed with schoolchildren applauded the show and performers.

"I loved it. The aerial acts were amazing," said Michelle Barbosa, 13, an eighth grader at Franklin School in Kearney, Hudson County, who was on a class trip. "I got so shocked. I thought they were going to fall."

Teacher Bob Lombardy said he was relieved to learn that the hair-hanging act had been pulled from the show.

"Once I heard that it was dangerous, I was glad that they got rid of it. No one wants to see anyone get hurt," he said. "There was so much other good stuff to see."

Bale said every possible precaution is taken for Milanova and all performers. Equipment is reinforced and checked daily, he said.

"I love being with the circus," he said. "The show must go on."

The Cole Bros. Circus will perform four shows at the Burlington Center Mall on May 21 and May 22 at 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. each day. Admission is free for children under 13. 

Circus World kicks off summer season

By Annie Getsinger
May 19, 2014
There were prancing ponies, appearing wagons and one tiny bicycle as Circus World Museum unveiled new shows and exhibits on its opening weekend.

“Actually everything’s been just very smooth,” longtime ringmaster Dave SaLoutos said. “All the acts are working great. The show looks fabulous.”

Opening weekend attracted varied crowds: Members of the animal-rights organization People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals — one dressed as an elephant, according to witnesses — showed up outside of Circus World on Saturday morning to protest the use of animals in circus performances.

Meanwhile, the grounds were filled with Boy Scouts, who were camping at the Sauk County Fairgrounds for their Baraboo Circus Heritage weekend.

Boy Scout Anthony Malisch, 17, and his dad, Richard, have been coming to the event every spring for the past six years. They’ve visited the museum each time.

“It’s wonderful to see so many scouts together all having a good time and working with each other,” said Richard Malisch, of Madison.

The scouts tried out interactive exhibits, laughed at Roger the Clown’s new showcase, marveled at Tristan Crist’s magic act and gathered together under the big top.

“I guess it’s just a plan once a year to go to the circus, and this is it,” said Anthony Malisch, who said he enjoys the “spirit and the cheerfulness” of the museum.

“The entire show is new,” SaLoutos said of the big top performance, which includes an aerial act, juggling, ponies, unicycle tricks, a dog with a special talent for backflips and other feats.

Band director Larry Stout, Crist, Roger the Clown and SaLoutos are the show’s only returners from last year.

“The tent is great,” said SaLoutos. “It’s just the right atmosphere, you know. It makes you feel like you’re at a circus.”

The ringmaster said people seemed to be enjoying the new indoor attractions, too, especially the recently unveiled “Caught in the Act” interactive exhibit.

“Everybody is just really loving it,” SaLoutos said. “They step in it and they spend a lot of time there going through it all.”

“I love the historical stuff,” said Meagan Parrish of Madison, who brought her daughters to the museum along with some friends. “I wish they had costumes that adults could try on.”

Parrish said it was her family’s second time visiting the museum.

“It’s a fun place to come,” she said. “Kids love it.”

SaLoutos encouraged people to check out the new circus model, clown, wagon builder and ringmaster exhibits, too.

“If you’ve seen us before, come see us again because it’s all new,” he said.

Jed Crouse, who has been volunteering at the museum for about seven years, said the weather couldn’t have been nicer for opening day.

“This is by far the best weather we’ve had,” he said.

The Baraboo native said that he’s long been interested in circus life and used to frequent the museum on his summer vacations. Now he’s a regular fixture. Crouse said the chance to learn about circus history from the people who’ve lived it is a unique opportunity and one he treasures.

“I do magic and clowning as a hobby, so it always seemed fitting to come down here and volunteer my time,” he said.

Blood, sweat and sequins: run away with the circus this exam term!
Emma Wright reflects on her experiences of circus performance and gives an insight into the magical world of the Cambridge circus scene

Circus: making your life a little topsy-turvy
by Emma Wright
Sunday 18th May 2014

Things have changed quite a lot since the days of traditional big top circuses in muddy fields surrounded by caravans.

Whilst travelling circuses still exist across the world and in the UK (though mercifully without the animal cruelty these days), you’re more likely to find a trapeze in a theatre than in a field. In the past 50 years or so, there has been an increase in contemporary circus across the world, usually mixing circus skills with physical theatre. Events like CircusFest in the Roundhouse, or the London Wonderground in the Southbank draw ever bigger crowds year on year. Circus schools now offer degrees in various skills and the National Centre of Circus Arts (formerly known as Circus Space) has just been given official recognition as the first pure circus skills degree available for students.  

Circus is a large and varied beast. In aerial dance alone the apparatus includes trapezes, silks, aerial hoops, ropes, and cloud swings before getting to the more unusual items such as aerial cubes, nets or chains. Ground-based acts can cover anything from juggling (balls, rings, clubs), staff, hula hoop, poi, stilts, unicycling, balance (tightwire, slackline or slackrope) or rola bola. Then there are non-apparatus based skills such as tumbling, contortion or handbalancing. And this hasn’t even touched on the more obscure such as Russian Swing or Wheel of Death. The list goes on and on. But that’s the beauty of circus.  There is no limit. 

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Ringling Bros. ringmaster guides you through the big top

May 19, 2014. 

A funny thing happened during his dinner-theater audition …
Johnathan Lee Iverson needed a job, something to help pay the bills while he developed his opera career.
The director of the dinner theater production for which he was auditioning happened to also be the director for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus, which was in need of a ringmaster.
In 1999, at age 22, Iverson became the first African-American ringmaster of a major U.S. circus.
Oh, and he got the dinner theater gig, too.
Beginning his career with the Boys Choir of Harlem, Iverson sang for four U.S. presidents and performed with Ray Charles, Stevie Wonder and Tony Bennett. Now he uses his distinct voice to usher the crowd around the three-ring circus.
He and his circus mates will be at the Giant Center in Hershey from Wednesday through May 26 with a new theme show entitled “Legends,” which combines the reality of the circus’ signature acts — clowns, elephants and trapeze performances — with mythological and prehistoric creatures (use your imagination).

“It’s fast-paced, action-packed,” says Iverson during a telephone interview about the show. “It showcases our talent.”
During the show, Iverson says he and Paulo the Legend Seeker present Paulo’s discoveries of living legends from around the world.
Besides Paulo’s mythological encounters with a unicorn and Pegasus, the winged horse, he also meets circus mainstays such as big cat presenter Alexander Lacey, Riders of the Wind Cossack horsemen and motorcycle daredevils.
Like a good ringmaster, Iverson explains what to expect during the upcoming show dates.
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