September 27, 2012 2:12 PM
Big Apple Circus - see it at Dulles through 10/8
Here we are arriving at The Big Apple Circus Tuesday night - waiting for Tripp, Matt and Jonny to join us.Have I said how much I love the Big Apple Circus? Well, it's never too late to say it again. This was our family's eighth or ninth year of seeing it, and I can say emphatically that it was the best. I wasn't sure because last year was a little lackluster - and this would also be the first year without Grandma the Clown. Still, I knew my kids would appreciate it no matter what.
The wonderful thing about the Big Apple Circus is that it's perfect for children. No seats farther than 50 feet away, and only one ring. A more intimate setting and more intimate acts.
Every year Big Apple chooses a theme which ties the show together. This year's was "Legendarium" and the show began with an ox-drawn wagon and old-fashioned entertainers such as once traveled the country performing for whatever crowds they could muster. The costumes were absolutely wonderful (and one thing that makes BAC especially family-friendly is that costumes are gorgeous without the use of cleavage).
The music is wonderful because it is live - produced by an excellent mini-orchestra perched between the big top and the ring. Having live music means that the conducter can follow closely the actions of the acrobats, clowns and ringmaster. This year there was a lot of creativity here - with an emphasis on traditional American tunes.
I didn't take pictures because frankly I was too mesmerized by the performers. I have seen a number of contortionists over the years, but this one was by far the best ever.
she attained some poses that seemed impossible. When I checked the creative bios, I found out why: Elayne Kramer, a sixth-generation circus performer from Argentina, started practicing contortion and hand balancing at the age of four and gave her first performance at age seven.
There was Daniel Cyr, inventor and teacher of the Cyr Wheel, working with a 5'6" diameter hoop - something I'd never seen before and very amazing.
There was a husband/wife duo who juggled while doing a passionate tango - unique and unforgettable:
Because it's so up close and personal, the Big Apple Circus gives you an understanding of the universality of circus. The performers come from many different countries, like the Qunterion Troop from Hungary:
This year's Big Apple was an intelligent circus - not one that simply depended on thrills and chills, but one that theater/music lovers would appreciate for the artistic choices made by the director which took some exciting material and pushed int into the unforgettable universe.
For example, the slack wire performance of Zhang Fan, a young man from China, was transformed because of the live background of Gershwin's Rhapsody in Blue:
Simply brilliant. Tuesday night the audience could not stop applauding. And I was left hoping the year would go by extra fast to see what delights Big Apple would have in store for us next. Never had that feeling before.
Job well done, Big Apple!
And I urge all parents to take their kids to see this unforgettable show. If your budget's tight, bring some lollipops and skip the cotton candy. But this is definitely worth a splurge!
Visit Big Apple Circus to find out more.