Take a trip in time back to simpler days and the origins of the circus while having modern-day thrills. You can experience the innocence and joy of the original types of circus acts that would have the audience in awe and laugh at the funny clowns as you sit close enough to touch the performers at the Big Apple Circus, which opened for its 35th season this weekend at Damrosch Park in Lincoln Center, located at 62nd Street between Amsterdam and Columbus avenues. This year, the Big Apple Circus is presenting “Legendarium,” and it is lovely.
The performers include acrobats, contortionist, slack wire performers, dog acts, horse acts, trapeze artists, a woman who hangs from long silks, juggling and two extremely funny clowns who will have you smiling, laughing and surprised by their antics.
The amazing performers included Elayne Kramer, who could bend herself in ways that boggled the mind and made you feel sore watching.
Zhang Fan is absolutely unbelievable on the slack wire. He is able to balance himself on a ladder and balance the ladder on the slack wire, which looks like a dangling tight wire. He is also incredible as he rides a unicycle while on his head! Yes I said rides a unicycle while on his head.
A couple act called Desire in Flight is beautiful, graceful and phenomenal as they soar through the air–the woman often only held up by the man’s feet. They are like lovely blue flying birds.
Menno Van Dyke and Emily Weisse will have you never look at tango the same, as they tango while Van Dyke juggles balls and bowling pins.
Daniel Cyr, who goes around in a Cyr wheel, will have you inspired as he rolls around and hangs by just his hands in a spinning wheel.
The Quinterion Troupe was trained in Hungary and performs some well-disciplined flips and handstands–by that I mean standing on each others hands and flipping onto another person’s hands or shoulders.
One of the things we all love about the circus are the clowns, and the Acrobuffos–Seth Bloom and Christina Gelsone–definitely don’t disappoint. They come out in great costumes and wonderful masks and they do a very funny act. Gelsone struts an enormous ballooned butt, and she is not afraid to bend over and put it in the audience’s face. She will also do other things with it that you have to see to believe. The Acrobuffos are one hilarious couple to experience.
The act that left everyone’s mouth open and eyes wide was Jenny Vidbel and her Central Park Dogs. They jumped over fences and through hoops, they danced, rode scooters and were just adorable, and the fact that they were rescued from animal shelters made it even more delightful to watch.
The Big Apple Circus is one I look forward to every year, and it’s not just about the marvelous acts. This is one of the only circuses that understand that times are hard. The food, popcorn, cotton candy and beverages are still reasonably priced and so make it affordable to eat at the circus if you choose to. It shows an amount of heart to pay attention to helping people stretch a dollar in addition to stretching with laughter. John Kennedy Kane is very lively as the ringmaster and has a fun disposition.
Big Apple Circus runs through Jan. 13, 2013. For tickets, visit www.bigapplecircus.org.