Nov 252014

This past weekend was the annual Big Apple Circus Family Benefit. It’s a terrific event where supporters of our not-for-profit circus get to see the year’s show and interact with the performers. Before the performance of Metamorphosis kids were invited to join Clown Care Unit members in the reception tent where they get to learn juggling, wire walking (very low), plate spinning, balancing, and other circus skills. During intermission there was an auction for kids (or their parents) to become a guest ringmaster for a future performance. And if that wasn’t enough, after the show there was dessert in the ring!

The auction and event were staged to help raise funds for our five award-winning community programs:

Clown Care, the signature community outreach program of the Big Apple Circus, brings the joy of classical circus to hospitalized children at 16 leading pediatric facilities across the United States.

Circus of the Senses is a unique performance that enables children and adults with vision or hearing impairments and other disabilities to experience the magic and joy of the circus.

The mission of Circus After School is to provide a unique opportunity for at-risk youth to develop life-enhancing skills such as teamwork, commitment, and responsible risk-taking through a structured program of learning and performing the circus arts.

Vaudeville Caravan brings the uplifting power of the circus to delight the residents of nursing care facilities.

The mission of Circus for All! is to give every child and every family the opportunity to see a live performance of the Big Apple Circus. We distribute up to fifty thousand free tickets every year.

Family Benefit - Dr. Ima Conused and Susan Ayala at New York-Presbyterian, photo by Susan Watts

Clown Care: Dr. Ima Confused (Julie Pasqual) entertains Susan Ayala and her mother at New York-Presbyterian, photo by Susan Watts

Family Benefit - Rob Torres teaching Franklin Kocheran how to twirl a plate, photo by Amel Chen

Circus of the Senses: Rob Torres (who appeared in last year’s show) teaches Franklin Kocheran how to twirl a plate, photo by Amel Chen

All of us at the Big Apple Circus are extremely thankful for the support of our contributors, and we enjoy spending the day interacting with them.

Judging from applause, one of the favorite acts at this year’s family benefit––and one that certainly fits the theme of metamorphosis––was the Smirnov Duo’s quick change act. Quick change routines are more than just a little circus magic. They’re a lot of circus magic. They require many, many, many rehearsals to get the exact timing perfect. Olga and Vladimir have been working on their timing for over twenty years, working together on quick change along with their other circus skills. The costume designs are splendid, and the ingenuity that went behind the quick change act in Metamorphosis wins over the crowd. When you come see the show, don’t blink or you may miss Olga magically changing her costume 9 times in less than 3 minutes right in front of us without us having a clue of how it all happens. I know how … it’s magic!

The Smirnov Duo, photo by Bertrand Guay

The Smirnov Duo in “Metamorphosis,” photo by Bertrand Guay

 Leave a Reply

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>