Facing Fears with Nik Wallenda: the Relaunch of Big Apple Circus

Circus News

Facing Fears with Nik Wallenda: the Relaunch of Big Apple Circus

Within the circus world, a name like Nik Wallenda almost needs no introduction. Everyone knows who the Wallendas are– and everybody especially knows who Nik is. In case you don’t, here’s a quick bio. Nik Wallenda is a professional daredevil, wire walker, and author who holds multiple world records. He is best known for crossing the Grand Canyon and Niagara Falls. Nik has been nicknamed “King of the Highwire.” As for his family, the famous Wallendas brought their highwire act from Germany to the United States in 1928 and toured with the Ringling Brothers until 1946. Today they’re famous for their seven-person pyramid and other feats. Kim Campbell recently sat down with Nik to ask him about the rebirth of the Big Apple Circus. Along the way, they also discussed highlights of Nik’s career, as well as his perspectives on facing fears, creative decision-making, building a team, and the current landscape of circus and entertainment. Keep reading to listen in on the discussion.
Kim Campbell: I’m excited to hear about your new investment in reviving the Big Apple Circus; it’s an East Coast circus tradition. For some context, Circopedia says the Big Apple Circus is a cherished New York institution. It’s a nonprofit, founded in 1977 by Paul Binder and Michael Christensen, and was originally the performing arm of the New York School for Circus Arts. Over the years, it’s gone through many transformations. It last relaunched in 2017. Back in 2020, it was closed up during the pandemic. Nik, what motivates you to bring the Big Apple Circus back? Nik Wallenda: You hit on that point in the bio. My family history in circus dates to the 1780s. Circus is something in my blood. I was born and raised doing it. I have been blessed with an amazing career that has taken me outside of the bi...
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Kim Campbell

Kim Campbell has written about circus for CircusTalk.News, Spectacle magazine, Circus Now, Circus Promoters and was a resident for Circus Stories, Le Cirque Vu Par with En Piste in 2015 at the Montreal Completement Cirque Festival. They are the former editor of CircusTalk.News, American Circus Educators magazine, as well as a staff writer for the web publication Third Coast Review, where they write about circus, theatre, arts and culture. Kim is a member of the American Theater Critics Association.