Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey returns for its annual winter tour, this time building wonder before its audience’s eyes with “Built to Amaze!” The construction theme gives the circus a makeover that mixes blueprints, hardhats, dump trucks and heavy machinery with the glitz and glamour of what’s known as “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
Here are some highlights:
• The art and strength made famous by Cirque du Soleil is alive under the big top with aerialists and hand-balancing acts such as Duo Fusion and Duo Solys, both of which possess the sort of strength and skill seen most recently in Pink’s performance at the Grammys.
They’re also both made up of romantic couples. Duo Solys – making its U.S. debut at “Built to Amaze!” – features French-born Tatiana Colaquy and Hector Gutierrez of Cuba, who fell in love after she attended a show in which he was performing his hand-balancing act. Duo Fusion features the husband-and-wife team of Ihosvanys Perez and Virginia Tuells.
• Circus veteran Dmitry Dolgikh will perform an all-new Iron Jaw act in which he lifts wife Nadia Tarasova 30 feet in the air using only the strength of his jaw.
• Brazilian aerialist Franceleib Rodrigues, who made his Ringling Bros. debut in 2009, puts his own twist on traditional aerial and trapeze acts with his inverted foot-looping routine.
• Although not entirely new to Ringling Bros., the King Charles Troupe unicyclists – a bit like the Harlem Globetrotters on wheels – are returning to the big top after 15 years.
• The high-wire walkers not only walk the tightrope, they also bicycle, unicycle and balance on each other’s shoulders while maneuvering across it.
• Other classic favorites include a human cannonball (the world’s youngest female human cannonball, in fact); tigers, dogs, elephants and horses; and a clown alley that’s built for laughs.