This week, I received a phone call from Coach Michael telling me he’d found an article on the circus that could be an ideal topic to write about on my blog. I enjoyed hearing about subjects that are interesting to others and then incorporating them into my blog posts, and I was excited about it. When I meet Michael, he offers me a Smithsonian magazine which directs me to the article “Step up! Explore the New Face of Great American Cirque!” by Holly Millea.
After I was home, I read the article and realized it was much longer than I had hoped to read. After that, I glance at the title again and reflect on the number of articles I have read about the new circus. I instantly thought, “BORING! I’ve seen the same thing previously.” If it weren’t that particular article, I’d read something similar to it is identical. I thought I’d go through it, but not on that day, and I put it away. The magazine stared at me for an entire week before I finally decided, “fine, fine, fine, I’ll read it.” And thank goodness I did! I’m not lying! The article was fantastic and well-written in that it completely blew all other articles I’ve ever read about circus entirely out of the water.
I discovered the complete article online, and I’ll post the link below for you to look at. I want to encourage you to read it, and I thought that, in case you didn’t have access to the time or didn’t have the time, I’d provide you with my top section. The story concerns the most recent Ringling Brothers and the Barnum & Bailey Circus show. I hope it tugs at your heartstrings just like mine did, and you’ll then go through the entire article.
“For the people along with 54 train cars from the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus Xtreme, Providence, Rhode Island, is the last stop along the line. Kenneth Feld, whose family owns the circus, attends and expresses gratitude to the sold-out audience of 14,000 for over 146 years of “making the impossible happen. Then,”the Greatest Show on Earth–one more time!”
The long-awaited goodbye is here! Fire jugglers are camel-riding contortionists who juggle, glow-in- Acrobats, snake charmers encased by bright yellow pythons, and a Mongolian strongman who carries a massive 551-pound load of Mongol kettlebells and gals using the “jaws of steel.” Clowns are spotted popping up everywhere, and I’m overly excited. A 20-foot cannon that is wheeled into the arena draws my interest. The fuse goes out. The crowd goes through the countdown from five to the sound of “Nitro” Nicole Sanders is flying more than 100 meters at the speed of 66 miles an hour in the slumbering blanket of an enormous airbag, precisely as the first couldnonballer Rosa “Zazel” Richter did 140 years ago. Who invented the first cannon made by humans? It was a funambulist (tightrope walker), William Leonard Hunt, a.k.a. the Great Farini. This asks, what was the reason he wasn’t the first person to have a human cannonball? (“Zazel, you go first.”)
Following the explosion, “Nitro” Nicole takes her bow, and intermission is announced by an explanation of how our world is changing. “In the event of firearms, stay calm and look for the nearest exit.”
The main attraction of the second part is the 12 tigers in the considerable cage that is surrounded by their bald, buff coach, Tabayara “Taba” Maluenda, who is a sixth-generation Chilean circus performer who is dressed in a lavish green velvet jumpsuit that has no sleeves as well as matching armbands and leather knee-high boots. With the flick of Taba’s whip, the majestic beasts move between stool and stool, lay down side-by-side, and then slide over each other. Taba is sweating bullets all over while scrubbing his cup. When he comes to us and makes a bow, it’s evident that tears are pouring down his face.
The trainer turns to kiss one of the man-eaters on the cheek. He cries and turns to them and addresses them. “For 30 years, you put food on my table,” he mutters. “Catana, I have had you for 13 years, since you were 6 months old.” He calls Catana to him, and she buries his head into her fur. He then snuffs out each cat and thanks each one by name. When the last cat is left, Taba kisses the empty floor.
At the end of the evening and the era it was, Kristen Michelle Wilson, Ringling’s first (and the last) female Ringmaster, invites about 300 crew members and cast into the ring to perform “Auld Lang Syne.” From backstage, spouses, husbands, and children join them. No babies are crying, but the adults are.
“We circus people always say, ‘We’ll see you down the road,'” Wilson says, her voice booming with emotion. “So, ladies and gentlemen, children of all ages: We’ll see you down the road!”
AH! Did that not make you feel all the emotions? I was there watching the final performance! As promised, here’s the link to the complete Smithsonian article”Step Right Up! See the Reinvention of the Great American Circus!