The circus is coming to town one last time
The circus is coming to town one last time
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.ticketmaster.com, and the Royal Farms box office.
For more information about the show, go to http:// www. ringling. com/ out- ofthis-world/.