By Kyle Petersen

Big Apple Circus

Big Apple Circus: Dance On

Since 1977, The Big Apple Circus has been a fixture in New York City. I first attended the Big Apple Circus on my fifth birthday, and going to the circus soon became a birthday tradition in my family. To be sure, Big Apple occupies a special place in my heart. It was where I was first introduced to the circus arts; the first place I saw a real juggler and a real unicyclist. Years later, I think back at the important role that Big Apple Circus played in my development as a variety artist.

On October 21st, Big Apple unveiled its 2010 offering: Dance On. The show features a strong cast of some familiar faces and impressive newcomers. Clown Hall-of-Famer Barry Lubin is back once again as the lovable Grandma the Clown. Rob Torres also contributes to the clowning with excellent comedic acts featuring shaker cups and hat manipulation. Ethiopian acro-juggler Girma Tshehai dazzled the audience by juggling up to six silicon juggling balls within a Michael Moschen-inspired large clear plastic diamond.

All contained within a one-ring, European style circus tent, the show also features the standard circus fair: A strong animal act, in which goats mounted and rode on ponies; a high-flying aerial act and back-bending contortion. The strongest performers, however, were the members of the Hebei Wuqiao Acrobatic Troupe.

The troupe performed a number of acts. Their acrobatic ultimate wheel display featured a few mistakes but demonstrated mind-blowing skills, including a back hand spring while riding an ultimate wheel. The troupe also provided the show’s closing number: an acrobatic wild-west style rope spinning act. Their act was a special delight, gracefully combining manipulation, equilibristics and acrobatics.

Dance On will play at Lincoln Center in New York City through January, after which it will tour the northeast. Go to for more info.

PBS’s new documentary series Circus featuring performers from the Big Apple Circus primers this November. Take a look at the preview below!

Watch the full episode. See more Circus.

Disclaimer: The author Kyle Petersen works for the Big Apple Circus as an instructor, though is not affiliated with the tent show.

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