Big Apple Circus

Photo Credit: Eden Pontz/Discovery TravelingMom

For those who head to the tents when the circus comes to town, the Big Apple Circus show, “Luminocity,” provides a dose of travel fun as performers take you to the “Crossroads the World,” aka Times Square in New York City.

Pre-Big Top Tent

Before the show even starts, your children can learn from some of the show’s clowns and jugglers, pose for photos with clowns on stilts, and behind circus cut-outs, and dance with some of the folks from “Radio Disney.” (Yes, they’ve got a DJ table set up outside of the big top tent.)

The Tour Guide Will Tell All

Ringmaster John Kennedy Kane acts as official “tour guide,” working to set the scene as you follow him through a day in New York City’s Times Square—showcasing some types of characters that you’d actually see there in real life—and some that are clearly just visiting! This year’s show includes a cast that includes circus artists who’ve traveled from France, Russia, Mongolia, Japan and more.

“Hot dog vender” Ty Tojo, is a 15-year-old juggler who holds the Guinness world’s record for backcross juggling with 7 balls. (You have to see it to fully understand how complicated this is.)

A lost tourist is played by clown Rob Torres, who brings a suitcase packed with oohs and ahhs—literally–and helps to get the crowd laughing early on.

Big Apple Circus Performers

Photo Credit: Eden Pontz/Discovery TravelingMom

Pierre Ginet of France, and his act, “the art of the pickpocket,” provides one of the most impressive “impromptu” versions of a pickpocket (or as they call him a “flimflam man”) I’ve ever seen. His act uses an audience member—so be prepared to hang onto your wallet…cell phone…keys…and more. (Good luck if you’re chosen.)

A miniature horse is transformed into a taxi for dogs, construction workers (from Russia and the Ukraine) become hand to hand

balancers in the Acro-Duo act, and the end of the show sees Times Square at New Year’s Eve—complete with married couple and high-wire balancing act Duo Guerrero (you’ll be impressed with the Mrs. In this act—she more than holds up her end of the relationship), and fireworks—of the human variety in the Dosov Troupe. There are other acts throughout-each one with a thematic connection.

Traveling for Causes

One of the things that’s so impressive about this non-profit circus are the community outreach programs they provide including “Circus of the Senses,” that gives free performances for hearing- and vision-impaired children, the “Vaudeville Caravan,” bringing classical circus acts to elders that are institution-bound, “Circus for All,” distributing more than 40,000 free and discounted tickets to economically and/or physically challenged children and their families, “Circus After School,” for at-risk students and “Clown Care” a professional hospital clowning program that serves 14 pediatric hospitals around the country – a la Robin Williams in Patch Adams.

Big Apple Circus Performers

Photo Credit: Eden Pontz/Discovery TravelingMom

Travel Down Memory Lane

And for those who just can’t get enough, another project  of the Big Apple Circus is Ciropedia.org—an established online encyclopedia about all things circus. From biographies to historical essays, historic prints and photos—it’s free online for all circus-minded types who wish to learn more.

This year, the Big Apple Circus also travels to Alpharetta, Georgia; Bridgewater, New Jersey; Boston, Massachusetts; and Queens, New York. And with tickets helping to go towards a good cause, and the single tent meaning no seat is more than 50 feet away from the center ring, it may be hard to keep yourself away.