Circus News

A Fine Balance

It’s been 136 years since the first circus tent was pitched in India. And it is time now for the big top to reinvent itself

Ticket in hand, I walk down a carpeted path to the entrance of a massive tent. A huge globe, within which daring motorcycle acts will be performed, is stationed in one corner. There are poles and ropes and other paraphernalia. And outside are those familiar multi-coloured pillars, grille gates, large flex boards advertising popular acts, and an arched banner that screams ‘Grand Circus’ — not much has changed since I first visited a circus as a child 20 years ago.

The performers, in blue-and-white acrobat suits, emerge from the green room waving at the audience as film songs begin to blare. The clown, in his flowing flowery shirt and trousers, stands out. They are about to perform the flying trapeze act — always the circus’s most exciting and risky stunt.

The troupe begins climbing the rope ladder to the pedestal and the trapezes that swing high above a large safety net. The catcher, now positioned upside down on the trapeze, begins swinging slowly. As the music picks up momentum, so does he. At the other end, another artiste waits for a trapeze to swing to her. She grabs it and lunges into the air. A perfect somersault later, she grabs his hands. The audience cheers and whistles. Now it is the clown’s turn to take the plunge. But he is clearly terrified. When he finally does, he can’t seem to reach the catcher’s hands; the catcher manages to grab the clown’s pants though, which come off easily. Children burst out laughing. He makes it safely back to the trapeze at the other end, and the act is over.

Link to Full Article on The Hindu.