2014 Convention



Friday, May 30, 2014


The Culpepper & Merriweather Circus came to Old Field Beach State Park this weekend, entertaining scores during two daily shows. ABOVE: The big top tent is in place and patrons prepare to enter. FRONT PAGE PHOTO: The daring Canadian precision unicyclists known as The Arlise Troupe were featured performers. BELOW: Lions and tigers took center stage in a cage for a performance. (EXAMINER PHOTOS | RICK PITTS)
27 May 2014

Cole Bros. Circus Concludes Livingston's Memorial Day Weekend Celebration

By Jackie Goldman-Schatell
Tuesday, May 27, 2014
LIVINGSTON, NJ – This year’s Livingston Memorial Day weekend came to a close with two showings of the Cole Bros. Circus of the Stars, which was chock full of clowns, dogs, ponies, elephants, acrobats, tight rope walkers, the Thunderdrome, The Human Cannonball, and so much more.

Guests came from other towns aside from Livingston to eat popcorn, cotton candy and take in the show.

Outside, attendees were welcomed by many clowns—some juggling, doing face painting, or just walking around greeting guests and posing for photos.

Next, guests entered the Big Top for the show. Ringmaster Chris Connors got the crowd excited and ran a fun and fluid show.

In the first act, Vicenta Pages, a second-generation tiger trainer had the white tigers rolling over,  jumping over one another and looking more like kittens than ferocious tigers.

Other acts included: Petya Milanova performing an aerial act, while attached to a wire by her hair, Lana and Company, a mother and son hand-balancing duo; the Fassio family; the Corps De Ballet, doing artistic aerial choreography; the Ponce Family on the flying trapeze; The Frisco Family and their dancing elephants; and Eric, Windy and Anthony, circus daredevils, riding motorcycles in the tiny, round ThunderDrome.

The Circus ended with Jose Bermudez and The World's Largest Cannon, which shot human cannonball Dale Thomsen, across the Big Top.

“My favorite part was the ThunderDrome,” said Dylan of West orange, as he left the circus.

His friend Daniel, 8, agreed that it was cool, but said he liked the human cannonball the best.
Circus review: S by Circa, Darebin Arts Centre

“S” by Circa. Picture: Darcy Grant Photography Source: Supplied
DON’T worry if you haven’t heard of Circa, one of Australia’s top circus companies. Based in Brisbane, they spend most of the time keeping up with demand overseas. This year a regional tour is also on the go, so they’ve been spreading Circa love closer to home.
This isn’t big-top tents and roving clowns, though. A Circa production is a highly choreographed ensemble production, more akin to a contemporary dance show than standard circus fare.

“S” occurs on an unadorned stage with a white floor tilted into a diamond shape. The show is inspired by the swirly, sizzling glory of the letter S. From this take-off point, it’s 85 minutes of frenetic acrobatic highs, contemplative interludes, and enough injections of paraphernalia such as hoops, tissu and Chinese straps to stay true to circus roots.

As is often the company’s practice, director Yaron Lifschitz devised the content with the cast. It has a collaborative feel within its tight staging and even though there are vignettes of solos or duos, it never strays from its ensemble ethos.

Despite an overly prescriptive musical montage (including Kronos Quartet and Samuli Kosminen), “S” remains ensconced in Circa’s fairly understated vibe. Probably because we’re always reminded (through simple glances between performers or casual entrances) that normal humans are behind all the ridiculously difficult physical displays.

Ordinary gestures and emotional themes unfurl into very un-ordinary bursts of kinetic prowess. Unusual interpretations of familiar circus acts and creative uses of equipment elevate stock standard ideas into something totally other. Why handstand on one person’s head when you can use two? Why not use the fabric of the tissu as if it's a sturdy Chinese pole? Nothing seems out of the question for Circa.

Like all Circa’s offerings, “S” is really about the performers and all the possibilities and wonder within their varying physicalities. From stocky to slender, short to tall and each highly virtuosic in their own way, the seven cast members all contribute plenty to the party.

There’s strong man Casey Douglas who’s surprisingly nimble for such a beefy fellow. The tiny but fierce Jessica Connell bases men on her shoulders and uses hula hoops stunningly. Brittannie Portelli is a muscle-ripped powerhouse who can flip off her wrists, forearms, shoulders and probably even her nose.

Along with Duncan West, Kimberly Rossi, Nathan Boyle and Daniel O’Brien, they burst forth with seemingly unending possibilities for movement invention. Team that with their commitment to working as a whole unit, rather than individual circus stars, and that ticks the boxes for something “S”pecial.
Illiana Garden Railways Circus Train Day on June 7
By Times Staff
May 27, 2014
VALPARAISO | The Circus comes to town on the Illiana Garden Railway Society's G- Scale "Bull Moose" diorama for one day, June 7. Five Colossal circus trains will run all day long, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

There will be short European style circus trains running alongside their longer American cousins. These circus trains, hauled by mighty turn of the century steam engines and powerful modern diesels locomotives, will arrive and depart from the railway gardens Franville Station every few minutes. A special custom-built mechanical musical circus train, that includes an elephant playfully blowing soap bubbles, will make an appearance too.

For more fun viewing, a Grand Circus Parade with elephants, zebras, giraffes, a calliope and circus wagons, carrying a lion, an ape and a hippopotamus, winds through the downtown streets of Franville. The circus wagons pulled by hefty Clydesdale horse teams, are led by an amazing harnessed pair of Bull Moose. A group of performing clowns on foot and the circus owner in his town car complete the parade. Meanwhile, an assortment of circus gaffers are setting up a single ring circus tent on a sawdust filled back lot away from Franville's downtown. Town folk who have arrived early by car for the days big show watch while an elephant, led by its handler, offloads a another circus wagons from the newly arrived circus train.

The Illiana Railway Garden Railway is located on the Samuelson Greenhouse property at 295 N. Ind. 2. Call (219) 996-6959.
Ringling's 'Super Circus Heroes' hits Mobile Civic Center next week

For Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey ringmaster David Shipman, Mobile is familiar territory: He grew up in Pensacola. (Courtesy of Feld Entertainment)
By Lawrence Specker | 
May 27, 2014 
One thing Ringmaster David Shipman wants to make clear right up front: "Super Circus Heroes" isn't about mixing comic-book brands with circus sparkle.

The Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey production comes to the Mobile Civic Center arena Thursday, June 5, through Sunday, June 8. While it does purport to feature it share of "superhuman athleticism, power and pageantry," it's more about "the bravery, courage and honor that lives inside all of us."

"This is unlike anything we've ever done before," said Shipman. "The message itself is so beautiful, it's something that everybody really can take away from ... the idea is that everyone has a hero within themselves, they just have to have the strength and the courage to bring it out."

In this day and age it takes a strong storyline to keep onlookers invested in a program, and Shipman said this production has one. "The cool thing about our show, we have this guy, Mr. Boredom, who starts out at the beginning of the show as this guy who is an average Joe, he's kind of lazy, and he doesn't really know what he's good at." For him, and the audience, the show is a journey to find his gifts.

Of course, it also features its share of action. Featured acts include the Lopez Family, specializing in high-wire and motorcycle globe stunts; Shaolin warriors; the Cuban Comets teeterboard troupe; the Lighting Rods hand-balancing trio; the Twin Titans aerial strap act; Clown Alley; and animals including elephants, horses, camels and more.

Shipman said one his favorite aspects of the show is an all-access pre-show that takes place an hour before showtime and which is free to all ticketholders. It gives children a chance to meet performers, try on costumes and even try their hand at a few circus skills. "We call it our superhero training camp," he said.
The close contact has taken on new meaning since a recent accident in Rhode Island, in which a troupe of nine aerial performers fell during a performance. That was a different tour, not the one passing through Mobile. Speaking of the injured performers, Shipman said, "The girls are in good spirits."

"Part of what makes us the Greatest Show on Earth is that there is an element of risk in everything we do," he said. "We have been so overwhelmed with love and encouragement and support and prayers and healing energy."

"It's a genuine concern," he said. "It's a beautiful thing to see how much people care. Circus is family. Ringling is family, period."

For Shipman, there Mobile show brings another element of family. He's originally from Pensacola, where he participated in various performing arts ensembles on his way to a career in theater. So a visit to Mobile is almost a visit home, which is hard to come by when you're hitting 48 cities in 46 weeks.

"I've got so many friends and family who are coming to the show, because it is so close," he said

"Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey: Super Circus Heroes" will present shows at the Mobile Civic Center at 7 p.m. June 5 and 6; 2 p.m. and 6 p.m. June 7; and 2 p.m. June 8. Ticket prices range from $15 to $50; advance tickets are available at the Mobile Civic Center box office and through Ticketmaster. Children ages 2 and older must have tickets. For more information, visit

Sauk County Reflections: 1989; Circus World opens new exhibit hall
By Kathy Waddell Sauk County Reflections
May 28,2014
25 years ago this week (1989)
It was a celebration of color, history and life. More than 500 people gathered Monday to celebrate the grand opening of Circus World Museum’s new Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall and Visitor Center. The dedication featured all the festivities of the circus, with jolly clowns, lively music, cotton candy and lots of colorful balloons waving in the breeze. It was a celebration symbolizing a brighter future for circus enthusiasts and the Circus World Museum. The Irvin Feld Exhibit Hall and Visitor Center, honoring the late impresario of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus, is a $1.6 million exhibit facility which will allow the Baraboo museum to be open year round to the public for the first time. Irvin Feld, an innovative showman and creative producer, revitalized The Greatest Show on Earth after it ceased touring under canvas in 1956

Uplifting circus acts will get crowd on edge of seats

By Lincolnshire Echo  
Posted: May 29, 2014
Award-winning acts from around the world will come together for a two-hour family show for the 2014 tour of Billy Smart's Circus which visits Lincoln's South Common from Tuesday, June 3.

Billy Smart founded his circus in 1946, and this year's show is hosted by Yasmine Smart, Billy's granddaughter.

Television appearances have made the circus famous, and the 2014 tour will include artistes such as the Flying Aces from Australia – five youngsters on the flying trapeze. The 10-handed Asadullin Troupe from Russia will bring their acrobatic springboard and Russian bar acts to the UK for the first time, while aerial star Alina Eskina and The X-Ttreme Brothers, a trio of talented acrobats from Romania (pictured), are also on their way.

Italian clown Jonny Bogino will entertain UK audiences for the first time as well, as he entertains with his whimsical comedy style.

Also on the bill will be the Argentinian bolas drumming of Gabriel Carmona and the footjuggling skills of Germaine Delbosq from France.

Ongoing to June 8. Various shows each day. Online discounts available, £3 off each ticket – starting price £7 for a child (age 2-12). Visit
Read more:
Sarasota’s Circus Arts Conservatory educational and humor therapy outreach programs
May 28, 2014 
The Circus Arts Conservatory, Sarasota is home to world-class performances, excellence in training for the Circus Arts and community based educational and humor therapy outreach programs. Their extraordinary mission underscores their commitment to sharing the entertainment, education and enrichment that Circus Arts provide.
Elements of the outreach programs include:
Sailor Circus Academy - At 65 years old, Sailor Circus Academy is America’s oldest youth circus with more than 1 million spectators throughout its history attending annual youth productions. Sailor Circus Academy is an after-school training program for students aged 8-18 who develop life management skills, gain self-discipline and bolster confidence and a commitment to achievement, all in a circus atmosphere. Sailor Circus is known worldwide as, The Greatest “Little” Show on Earth with more than 1 million spectators attending performances of America’s oldest youth circus where students are recognized as future leaders and major contributors to the circus legacy in Sarasota. Nik Wallenda, star of Circus Sarasota and daredevil high wire walker along with Encho, Trio Moscow, and the Platchov Duo are internationally acclaimed professional circus artists that work with Sailor Circus Academy students. These professionals deliver workshops and hands on training in various circus disciplines to the Sailor Circus 

read more: