We bit the Big Apple

Well, the circus, anyway.

February is Circus Month in Atlanta. Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey come every year. And there’s always at least one other and maybe two. This year Big Apple and UniverSoul are both here. Cirque du Soleil comes often, too. We go to Ringling almost every year but this year we saw that Big Apple was going to be in Alpharetta at the Verizon Amphitheater. It’s closer to home and cheaper so we decided to do that, instead. And it would be something different. We were talking to the lady at the souvenir booth before the show and she said the Ringling performers came to their show yesterday and the Big Apple people were all going to Ringling tonight. I think that’s pretty neat that they see each others’ shows.

Poster in the entry way
Here we are!
Acts
Acts

Well, it was different right off the bat. I’ve been to lots of circuses and I’ve seen lots of circuses on TV. I’ve never seen or even heard of a cow in a circus. And this one had two! Although they may be oxen. But either way, not your typical animal.

Cows in the opening parade
Cows in the opening parade
Acrobat jumping over the cow
Acrobat flipping over the cow

The ringmaster was John Kennedy Kane and he was really good.  He’s been in 15 different circuses over the year and says “I come from a family of politicians and car salesmen. Me joining the circus actually helped our image in the neighborhood.”

Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane
Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane

Big Apple is a really intimate circus. There’s only 16 rows so there are no bad seats and you really feel close to it all. Unlike having the nosebleed seats at Phillips Arena! It was a lot about the history of circuses. The ringmaster explained that the original circus rings were 42 feet across because that was the minimum space a horse needed to get to full gallop. He said things have changed (horses can gallop in a smaller area?) but their ring was 42 feet. He explained the history of some of the acts and also the history of the leotard. It was invented by a circus performer whose last name was Leotard.

The clowns were easily the highlight of the show. There were only two and they were the funniest clowns I have ever seen. I think all of their skits involved audience participation, either pulling audience members into the ring or the clowns in the seats, interacting.

Audience member gets a kiss from the clown
Audience member gets a kiss from the clown
An audience member gets serious with the clowns.
An audience member gets serious with the clowns.
The clowns and an audience "volunteer".
The male clown is down for the count!

They both wore masks as clowns originally wore masks before grease paint came along.

Clowns. You can see their masks pretty well.
Clowns. You can see their masks pretty well.

The contortionist (couldn’t get a good photo of her) was pretty amazing. Katy said she read about her in National Geographic Kids and that she’s in the Guinness Book of World Records. She turned upside down, bent over double and shot an arrow at a balloon (and hit it) with her feet.

The performing dogs were very cute. It was noted that they were all rescues from animal shelters. That kind of sounds like a Charles Dickens story. Get dumped at the shelter and adopted by the circus!

Dog act
Dog act
Dogs in "Central Park"
Dogs in “Central Park”
Where's my lunch?
Where’s my lunch?

The slack wire was a new act for me. It’s like the tight rope, except not tight. It’s also not nearly as high off the ground, but it doesn’t need height to be impressive. This looks way more difficult than the tight rope!

Slackwire act
Slackwire act
Unicycle on the slack wire
Unicycle on the slack wire

The final act was trick riders. I thought it was going to be horses. No, it was bicycles. This was a Chinese troupe and they were really neat. They all rode bicycles and switched back and forth and had one performing standing on another’s shoulders. The neatest thing, though, was when three rider lined up side and by side and a fourth flipped her bicycle over them. I managed to get a photo mid-flip.

IMG_5981

If you get a chance to see The Big Apple Circus, we recommend it!

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