Interest in the circus has never been higher. Where there were three circus schools in North America 15 years ago, today there are more than 300.
Circus people hate the currently ubiquitous use of the word “circus” to mean “chaos,” as in “the circus in Washington.”
It is therefore somewhat ironic that circus folks took over Washington’s National Mall in early July — not by way of protest, but rather celebration as part of the Smithsonian’s 50th annual Folklife Festival. Several tents were erected on the National Mall, including the Big Top from Sarasota’s Circus Arts Conservatory, a juggling tent, clown tent and cookhouse tent.
A highlight of the Independence Day parade was the fully restored 1902 Two Hemispheres bandwagon built for Barnum & Bailey, pulled by eight Clydesdale horses (not the original 40, but still an impressive sight). The flags of many countries, including Canada, were proudly displayed on this wagon, and I had the pleasure (as an active member of the Circus Historical Society) of representing Canada as I waved to the crowd from the wagon.
The largest American circus, Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey, held its final performances in May following 146 years of continuous operation. This has led many people to erroneously believe that the circus is dead.
In fact, although one circus has ended its run, there remain more than 30 active professional North American circuses, plus Cirque du Soleil’s many performing units (including seven in Las Vegas).
Link to Full Article at The Star.