Still the greatest

Ringling Bros. circus a delight -- even before the main show begins

FRANCESCA B. and BRIDGET N.

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The lights were on and the floor was sparkling from just being washed as the big double doors flew open.

Before the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus even started, there was a very interactive preshow happening on the floor of TD Garden. There was a rack with a lot of colorful and crazy costumes. The woman standing there was handing out costumes for kids and adults to come over and try on. These costumes were the ones worn by the actual performers in the circus!

In a pen next to the costumes, there was a dog and his trainer performing. The dog was jumping through hoops and getting a lot of treats. After a bunch a tricks, another dog came out and was jumping up to the trainer’s waist to grab the treats. After the dogs performed, the trainer said, “The dogs were all rescued from a shelter.’’

Earlier, Vicki, one of the performers in the circus, came out for an interview with her kids, Richie and Sophia. The family lives and travels with the circus. Richie said, “I like working and traveling with the circus is fun.”

Both kids said that they enjoyed the circus. Vicki said that she was teaching Richie to juggle. Sophia worked to help train the dogs in the circus.

There were a lot of clowns walking around and talking to the little kids. Many of the kids were fascinated by the colorful costumes and makeup on the clowns. Another performer was a guy dressed as a clown. He looked like a clown, but wasn’t really trying to get laughs. He was juggling four pins. Then, after he did that, he would move up to five, six, and seven pins and juggle those.

Walking around through the preshow crowd was a huge man in stilts. He walked up to the center stage and stood next to the dancer, who was practicing her act. He started to dance along on his stilts, and he was really great. It was surprising that he could be so balanced on his wobbly stilts.

Soon it was time for the main show to start. The audience left the floor and found their seats in TD Garden. The lights flashed as the performers raced into the ring. The show started off with an introductory dance with all of the performers. There were dancers, trapeze artists, motorcyclists, elephants, tigers, and clowns.

The next segment was called “Queen of Clouds”, and included eight women doing flips inside a hoop that was attached to the ceiling. There were also two male rope acrobats. So this could also be called “The King of the Clouds.’’

After this part ended, there was a short intermission. Once the 15-minute break was over, the audience came back to their seats to enjoy the rest of the show.

The show was back on the road when a beautiful chestnut-colored horse trotted into the ring. Acrobats rode on the horses as they circled the ring. The horses gained speed as the acrobats performed tricks while standing on them!

Next came the “Death Ball.” This huge hamster ball was rolled onto the stage as seven motorcycles revved their engines. One by one, they entered the ball and began to gain speed, while riding around and performing tricks.

The crowd couldn’t stop roaring when the tigers entered the ring. The tigers hopped from one platform to another and, with a little help from the instructor, they could stand on two feet.

After this, there was a huge finale with the whole cast, including music, dancing, animals, and tricks. The circus was a great family event and never had a boring moment. The circus was a huge hit!

(For information and tickets, go to www.ringling.com.)

–Oct. 12, 2010–

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Still the greatest