The cir­cus is com­ing to town one last time

The cir­cus is com­ing to town one last time

The Avenue News - - FRONT PAGE - By LISA HAR­LOW

It’s now or never! Rin­gling Bros. and Bar­num & Bai­ley Out Of This World Cir­cus Ex­pe­ri­ence is com­ing to Bal­ti­more Thurs­day, April 20 – Sun­day, April 30. This is the last time fam­i­lies will be able to see the Great­est Show On Earth be­fore the cir­cus closes per­ma­nently.

Ken­neth Feld, chair­man and CEO of Feld En­ter­tain­ment, the pro­ducer of Rin­gling Bros. and Bar­num & Bai­ley, made the de­ci­sion to close the cir­cus be­cause of a dra­matic drop in ticket sales fol­low­ing the elim­i­na­tion of the ele­phant acts cou­pled with high op- er­at­ing costs. But the show must go on, at least un­til May 21.

Out Of This World fea­tures an im­mer­sive cir­cus ex­pe­ri­ence that takes au­di­ences to space to wit­ness in­cred­i­ble ac­ro­batic per­for­mances on dif­fer­ent plan­ets. Through the lens of a magic te­le­scope ca­pa­ble of dis­cov­er­ing the most spec­tac­u­lar cir­cus stars in the galaxy, they will join the Cir­cus Space Fleet on a heroic mis­sion of good ver­sus evil to bring per­form­ers back to Earth, trav­el­ing to in­ter­stel­lar worlds of sand, wa­ter, fire and ice.

New this year, Rin­gling Bros. will fea­ture sev­eral per­for­mances on ice. Thrill skaters com­bine ac­ro­batic dis­ci­plines and trick skat­ing in an ex­cit­ing dis­play of ath­leti­cism. The Hei­longjiang Pro­vin­cial Ac­ro­batic Troupe Co. Ltd. per­forms a va­ri­ety of im­pres­sive feats on ice, in­clud­ing stilt-skat­ing, hu­man pyra­mid for­ma­tions and hoop-div­ing. A tal­ented group of freestyle skaters also makes its U.S. de­but, de­light­ing crowds with their skills and dar­ing aerial stunts at stun­ningly fast speeds.

The King Charles Troupe, the world’s only uni­cy­cle-rid­ing basketball va­ri­ety show, will also per­form on the ice.

“We are rid­ing uni­cy­cles on ice, and that’s a first. The cy­cles have spe­cial tires filled with foam in­stead of air to keep them solid,” said Mark Birth­wright, a troupe rider and co-leader who started with the troupe in 1980. “The show takes a lot of en­durance and ex­er­cise. We prac­tice ev­ery day.”

The King Charles Troupe is sort of like the Globetrotters, but on wheels, and fea­tures 12 rid­ers, and for the first time in 30 years, the troupe in­cludes a fe­male rider: 21-year-old Aaniya Ra­phiel, who is the grand­daugh­ter of one of the group’s orig­i­nal mem­bers.

“Most of the guys here are re­lated to some­one who was or still is in the troupe,” he said. Birth­wright now has two sons in the troupe, ages 34 and 21.

Birth­wright started out in the ju­nior ac­ro­batic gym­nas­tic group, the KCT Ju­niors, and even­tu­ally made his way up to the troupe. He has done shows in Europe and Las Ve­gas, and trav­eled all over the world with Siegfried and Roy’s show, in­clud­ing Ja­pan. But his fa­vorite part about trav­el­ing with the

cir­cus is trav­el­ing on the cir­cus train.

Orig­i­nally from the Bronx, Birth­wright now calls Las Ve­gas home. When the cir­cus ends in May, he will go back there to plan their next per­for­mances.

“It feels pretty sad, the cir­cus end­ing. A lot of kids grew up on the cir­cus. I grew up lov­ing the cir­cus, all of the peo­ple, all of the an­i­mals,” he said. “When I was a kid I al­ways wanted to learn the trapeze, but I’ve al­ways been stuck on the ground.”

“We are very much look­ing for­ward to com­ing to Bal­ti­more,” said Birth­wright. “My ad­vice is to get there early and en­joy the pre-show. You’ll get to meet a lot of per­form­ers, in­clud­ing us.”

The Starseeker’s Early Ac­cess pre-show starts one hour prior to the show. Free to tick­ethold­ers, Starseeker’s Early Ac­cess pro­vides guests with a peek back­stage to see how Out Of This World pre­pares to launch and al­lows them to meet per­form­ers as they in­ter­act in the seats, on the con­course and from the arena floor.

More cir­cus high­lights in-

clude: Tor­res Fam­ily — In­side

the Vor­tex of Ice: Emerg­ing from in­side a glacier on the Ice Planet, the Tor­res Fam­ily dare the im­pos­si­ble in a 16-foot di­am­e­ter steelmesh globe, swirling around on mo­tor­cy­cles at high speeds. Rid­ers on space bikes or­bit at 65 miles per hour, pass­ing within inches of one an­other.

Simet Wheel: Mak­ing their U.S. de­but, the Simet Fam­ily open the new show and im­me­di­ately trans­port au­di­ences to outer space with an Out Of This World, grav­ity-de­fy­ing space­walk. The only per­for­mance of its kind in the world, the Simet Wheel com­bines the skill of tightrope walk­ing with the added chal­lenge of a ro­tat­ing wheel. The in­ter­ga­lac­tic cir­cus ad­ven­ture un­folds as the three per­form­ers, dressed as as­tro­nauts, give the im­pres­sion that they are de­fy­ing grav­ity. Big Cats: Alexan­der Lacey, King of the Big Cats, presents the most mag­nif­i­cent and majestic crea­tures in space on the Sand Planet. The per­for­mance demon­strates a life­time of ded­i­ca­tion, training and car­ing for his an­i­mals. Lacey’s pas­sion is ev­i­dent as he shows off their agility and strength, demon­strat­ing un­con­di­tional re­spect and co­op­er­a­tion be­tween man and an­i­mal. In this per­for­mance, her­alded

as the most di­verse pre­sen­ta­tion of big cats in the US, au­di­ences will see two tigers and li­onesses as well as two male lions, Ma­sai and King, mark­ing the first time Lacey has pre­sented two male lions within the same act. Tun­ziani Trapeze

Troupe: In a syn­chro­nized per­for­mance, these in­can­des­cent comets per­form the galaxy’s only si­mul­ta­ne­ous, side-by-side triple som­er­sault. A beau­ti­ful me­teor shower to be­hold, the elite group of high-fly­ing artists forms a dream team of aeri­al­ists. The troupe ex­e­cutes rou­tines re­quir­ing pre­ci­sion, stamina, strength and per­fect form on the dou­blewide fly­ing trapeze, an ap­pa­ra­tus cus­tom-de­signed for Rin­gling Bros. Thrill Skat­ing: The show fea­tures mul­ti­ple ice skat­ing and ac­ro­batic dis­ci­plines that com­bine to cre­ate a new cat­e­gory — Thrill Skat­ing — that in­cludes:

Hei­longjiang Pro­vin­cial Ac­ro­batic Troupe Co. Ltd.: The Hei­longjiang Pro­vin­cial Ac­ro­batic Troupe Co. Ltd. per­form a va­ri­ety of im­pres­sive feats on ice, in­clud­ing stilt-skat­ing, form­ing a hu­man pyra­mid and hoop­div­ing. Demon­strat­ing great bal­ance and strength, these ac­ro­bats per­form flips and som­er­saults on ice in dar­ing new feats. Per­form­ers will also wear two-foot-tall stilts and jump through mov­ing hoops stacked five or six rings high.

Con­stel­la­tion of Cos

sacks: In a breath­tak­ing per­for­mance of brav­ery and skill, Johnathan’s army of the finest horse­men in the galaxy, the Cos­sack Rid­ers, ex­e­cute in­cred­i­ble stunts as they thun­der into the arena on the backs of thor­ough­bred horses. The Cos­sacks’ daz­zling tricks in­clude the dead-man drag and the seem­ingly im­pos­si­ble un­der­belly climb, in which a fe­male rider — the only woman per­form­ing this trick in the U.S. to­day — climbs un­der a gal­lop­ing horse. The bond be­tween each rider and his or her horse is pal­pa­ble the mo­ment per­form­ers step on the arena floor, and au­di­ences will be in awe of each in­tri­cate ma­neu­ver.

Other acts in­clude: Mae­stro Wages Ar­gott and the Shoot­ing Stars of the SpaceFleet Band, Aeri­al­ists/Con­tor­tion­ists, Dogs and Mixed An­i­mals, and of course, the Art of Clown­ing.

Rin­gling Bros. and Bar­num & Bai­ley Presents Out Of This World

Thurs­day, April 20 – Sun­day, April 30

Royal Farms Arena in 201 W Bal­ti­more St, Bal­ti­more, MD 21201

Tick­ets can be pur­chased at all Tick­et­mas­ter out­lets, by phone at 800-745-3000, via www.tick­et­mas­, and the Royal Farms box of­fice.

For more in­for­ma­tion about the show, go to http:// www. rin­gling. com/ out- ofthis-world/.

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