Passing Spectacle Vol. II, No. 3

As Its Title Suggests,

 Ringling is Built to Amaze

The most fascinating thing about the new Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show Built to Amaze is that despite some familiar acts we have seen either in previous editions of the big show or on the Gold Unit, it does in fact amaze.

Despite having seen Duo Fusion, Taba and his tigers, the King Charles Troupe, the Negrey Troupe of tumblers on the fast track, the Danguir Troupe on the high wire, the aerial strap artists Dmitry Dolgikh and Nadejhda Tarasova, and even a rerun of a recent clown production number before, the show seems as fresh and exciting as if it were all a newly hatched surprise.  In large part that is due to two newcomers, Alex and Irina Emelin, two protein performers from Russia.  It is difficult to classify them, for they are part comics, part magicians, part animal trainers.  All of these talents are merged in two very elegant, attractive performers, who are so appealing it is impossible to take your eyes off them whenver they are in the arena, which happily seems very often.  To say they take part in all the production numbers is a vast understatement, for they really take them over and make them showcases for their various talents, not the least of which is their wonderfully eccentric dancing.  Their success in energizing the show serves to maintain the premise first espoused by Kenneth Feld, that a clown is needed to provide the connecting tissue that holds the show together. (Okay, P.T.Barnum said it first, but his insistence that clowns were the pegs on which the circus was hung and Kenneth Feld’s belief that they are the connecting tissue are really two different concepts.  At any rate no further proof of either statement is needed after watching this pair and seeing the effect they have on the entire production.)

Their featured numbers include a section in which they make some bunnies seem to appear and disappear comically after which they produce one of the show’s biggest surprises, a fur coat that falls apart and runs off in all directions.  The fur, it turns out, is that of trained ferrets. The duo  also present a display of trained poodles that is one of the liveliest moments of the show, which is saying something, because one of their competitors in this category is the King Charles Troupe who are up to their familiar antics in a frenetic basketball game played on unicycles.

The Emelins have yet another novelty with which to surprise us near the end of the show.  They appear on cross-country skis and stomp out a rhythmic dance that is utterly charming.

The other element that makes this show such a whirlwind of entertainment is the ease with which it moves from moment to moment.  It would be inappropriate to say from act to act because the acts are sometimes broken up and have other things interspersed throughout them, as happens early in the show as we move continually between a ring of liberty horses, an aerial duo on straps and several young ladies on spiral- lyra in what amounts to a latter day aerial ballet.  Each of these acts, when presented straight through without interruption run the risk of seeming repetitive and static, not so with this approach in which we keep receiving new visual diversions.

Ashley Vargas, the pre-show hostess, presents the liberty horses, a mix of  Friesians, Pfords and three paints, all with blankets.  In one installment of the act four black Arabians pick their way through four small rings to the music “Yankee Doodle,” and it all becomes a charming game of musical chairs. Thanks to the musical joke it is a delightful number.  The aerialists meanwhile are Dmitry Dolgikh and Nadejhda Tarasova.

Another reason for the show’s sprightly demeanor is that this may be the Ringling show that most fully achieves the oft expressed goal of being a fully integrated production, moving from feature to feature with ease, or, as they say in the TV news , deft “hand-offs.”  I don’t think there is a blackout in the show except perhaps to punctuate the conclusion of a gag.  And speaking of the lighting I very much liked the use of gobos to produce various patterns of light on the floor, keeping it from becoming a boring charcoal grey that was so off-putting to so many when the rings were first abandoned several years ago.

In keeping with the show’s title, the arena’s portal suggests a construction site as do most of the props and even some of the costumes, carrying that theme throughout most effectively with hard hats, light wands, traffic cones, scaffolding, paint splattered overalls.  In place of old-fashioned floats, there is heavy construction equipment, a Tonka dump truck which kids would most certainly recognize and relate to as well as a scissor-lift front-loader.  All of that goes into the opening number, which is quite hectic without being chaotic and maintains a level of excitement, as the images and configurations of the cast change constantly.    The six girls who work on the spiral-lyra wear paint splattered long dresses, whose skirts are used to produce a lovely image.  Otherwise there’s lots of chartreuse and orange in the color palate.

The early portions of the show move along quickly.  Following the King Charles troupe, our attention is directed upward where Francleib Rodriguez and Monica Neves provide some new thrills in their upside-down walk high among the arena girders which ends with some daring leaps to a trapeze.  So effective is the lighting here that we are never aware of the tiger cage being simultaneously set until the lights cross fade from the sky walkers to the cage where Taba Maluenda and eighteen magnificent tigers are already in place and ready for action, another visual surprise that seems as if it all were just pulled out of a magician’s hat.

In this version of the act Taba uses no furniture but for the cats’ individual seats.  It is all ground work, lying down and sitting up.  Most of the tigers are young and new to the act, but they all demonstrate that they have already learned to sit up before being sent home.  The two big closing tricks are a hind leg walk and hind leg jumps.

While the cage is struck, the corps of clowns gets involved in a slop act with gobs and gobs of white slosh dumped over one and all in what quickly evolves into a match-up between the boys and the girls, providing the transition to an extended battle of the sexes, which takes up most of the latter portion of the first half of the show.  In the first round of the competition two sets of mixed hand balancers show the women doing most of the heavy lifting, which is the novelty of both of these strong and elegant acts, presented by Duo Fusion and Duo Solys.

The girl dancers are next transformed into a squad of cheerleaders led by Irina, before the Danguir Troupe takes to the high wire and seems to sway the outcome toward the boys.  Although we saw this troupe two years ago it is a very accomplished act that includes some breathtaking leaps and concludes with the two bikers supporting a woman on a chair. As a result it manages to maintain a high level of excitement throughout its time in the spotlight.

But it is Elliana Grace who finally wins it for the girls with her cannon shot.  Her spectacular landing leads to a big celebratory first act finale.

The second half opens with the Trampoline Tower Tumblers, a wall trampoline much like the act I saw in Monte Carlo.  This one involves five boys and one girl, who provide a display of perpetual motion.

 

 

Covering the breakdown of this apparatus the clowns reintroduce their “Clowns Got Talent” gag with many of the same gags used in its previous incarnation, and before we know it the herd of elephants has taken over the floor with a group of leapers and the International Folklore Dancers, which this year includes a group of men as well as women.

Alex and Irina tap dancing on skis concludes with a beautifully managed handoff to four people on the giant double wheel, two to a ring, one of them a woman.  Their novelty is a two-high walk on the outside of the ring for a single revolution.  Flavia Costa de Azevedo is the topmounter in that bit of daredevilry.  Others in the troupe are Cristhian Javier Villaquirian Marquez, Gerardo Medina Izaguirre and Carlos Augusto Pinto Morales.

Rather than providing a change of pace the speed produced in the wheel is maintained and accelerated by the Negrey troupe of tumblers who flip their way down the 84 foot fast track at breakneck speed.  Adding a visual flash, Julia Negrey, the troupe’s leader works in a dress with a long, full skirt.  The only way to bring all this speed to a conclusion is, of course, with the signature fireworks display.

This relentlessly entertaining production is the work of Rye Mullis (director), Grant Moran (writer), Greg Poplyk (costume designer), James Youmans (production designer), Michael Picton (composer), Michael Himelstein (lyrics), Kevin Wilson (choreographer), and Richard Shoenfeld (lighting design).

 

Circus Sarasota

Helps Nik Wallenda Continue His Journey

Fresh from his walk across Niagara Falls, and even as he begins preparations to walk across the Grand Canyon, Nik Wallenda found time to headline the most recent edition of Circus Sarasota.  As both the headline attraction, the show is titled His Journey Continues, and major draw he has been generous with his time, patiently meeting and signing autographs for members of the audience following each  performance.

His performance on the high wire included all the classic tricks once performed by his grandfather Karl.  His wife Erendira does the shoulder rolls around a bar held by Nik and his cousin Blake, and his sister Lijana Wallenda Hernandez does a split on the same apparatus.  The pièce de résistance of the act involves the two men on bicycles, a bar is set between them resting on their shoulders, and on it a chair is placed for Erendira, who, when the group reaches the middle of the wire, rises to her feet on the chair.  It is a moment filled with the kind of tension for which the Wallendas are famous.  As we watch in suspense, each delicate action needed to make it work is painfully apparent, and it almost always elicits a standing ovation.

Besides the Wallendas, the best acts in the show are those presented by hand balancer Encho Keryazov, who also is accorded not one but two standing ovations, the first following an astounding bit of strength and balance as he plunges from a stack of blocks to his pummels.  He tops that with an even more impressive show of strength and his second “standing O” comes after his final trick and bow.

Duo Manducas

Equally impressive was Duo Manducas.  In a way their act is similar to Encho’s.  A hand to hand balancing act, it too depends on great strength, but is distinguished by its flourishes of comedy.  The two men, who have worked principally in Europe where they have been headliners for many years, manage to combine true skill with delightful comedy, a combination that tends to make their feats all the more amazing.

In addition there were a number of familiar and favorite acts: Dolly Jacobs on the aerial straps with a new partner Rafael Palacios, quick change artists Vladimir & Olga Smirnov, who appear to be perennial favorites with Sarasota audiences, and the ventriloquist Willer Nicolodi, whom we have seen before in Monte Carlo and the Big Apple Circus.  His most effective turn involves three people from the audiences, whom he turns into what amounts to his dummies, providing them each with a uniquely bizarre voice.

Snow birds from the New York area will also have been familiar with the new guest ringmaster, none other the Big Apple Circus’s ringmaster emeritus, Paul Binder, whose style is perhaps a bit more laid back than is usual in comparison to other ringmasters who have played this venue, but is always ingratiating.

Duo Platchkov

The ball bouncing Duo Platchkov, provides some fascination in that it is the female partner who does most of the work, while the male styles awkwardly.  The most interesting part of the act is when the woman uses three bouncing balls to play a tune on an electrified keyboard set on the floor. She also has a set of drums off to each side, but they never seem to be used for any musical or rhythmic purpose because he can’t hear them.

The rest of the lineup is somewhat less than world class, leaving one with the impression that this was not the strongest show fielded by Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs.

 

 

 

 

 Animals Star at Kay Rosaire’s

 Winter Extravaganza

There is something of the feeling of a hometown frolics about the performances Kay Rosaire stages at the Big Cat Habitat during the month of February which makes it quite charming and surely the most low-keyed and easy-to-take extravaganza one is likely to find.  Although there is a cast of regulars like several members of the Rosaire family: Clayton with the big cats, Pam and her family of chimps, Eliana with her horses and camels, David’s Perky Pekes and Kay herself as the hostess, there are always a number of surprises, provided by visits from animals acts that happen to be in town between engagements.

In that category we saw Fiona and Tony present two different acts, the first with tropical birds and the later with domestic cats.  The exotic birds put on something of a circus themselves, one of them presenting a roller skating act, another working the Roman rings, others doing foot juggling and spinning the German wheel or walking the tight wire.  The cats were similarly athletic and accomplished.

Patricia Zebrini presented a magnificently tusked elephant, which she cued from offstage, putting to rest the notion that these animals only work when prodded by a hook.  This bull went through an impressive repertoire of tricks cued by only the spoken word.

The real surprises, however, were the appearances of two young performers in unlikely acts.  Catherine Poem, who may soon out grow her father’s foot juggling act, has emerged with a beautiful and daring act of her own that opens with her posing on the back of a draft horse and then being lifted into the air aboard a lyra, on which she executes an exciting series of tricks that include hanging by her heels and toes.  In all respects the young performer acquitted herself like a seasoned professional in an act worthy of any circus.

The other young performer was Aurelia Wallenda Zoppe.  We have seen her for years working in the family high wire act as the topmounter, and as a solo aerialist on the cloud swing.  Here she was more Zoppe than Wallenda, filling in with the other Zoppe contingent in a riding act.  I had to confirm what I saw was in fact this beautiful young lady, and her father Tino informed me that as a youngster she had often worked with horses.  She was more than a creditable addition to this branch of the Zoppe family’s pad act.

As for the Rosaires, they have all well honed acts that include large helpings of humor and comic patter.  This is especially true of the interplay between Clayton and his mother and he with his tigers.  David’s dog act is decidedly comic and has a hilarious blow off with a stage coach driven by a gun-toting baboon.  Pam’s commentary about her primate friends is as appealing as a parent’s bragging about her talented kids. All of this may diminish the thrills somewhat but definitely increases the charm and humane appeal of their presentations.

Other members of the growing Rosaire family also manage to work their way into the proceedings.  The show opens with Clayton’s four year old daughter and two year old son, getting broken in to the ways of show business.  Clayton’s wife Danielle also presented a pony drill.

Besides the good humor of all this, there is also an element of seriousness to this casual extravaganza, as Kay takes every opportunity possible to inform the audience about the needs of animals, and how they are surely not being met by the radical activists.  She is also proselytizes, if you will, about the joys and responsibilities of maintaining close relationships with animals like those who have found a home in the Gulf Coast Sanctuary.  One gets a lot for his money here, and the money does a lot for the animals.

Elianna Rosaire

 

Circo Rolex Wows in Mexico

I’ve seen a lot of different styles of circus in the past fifteen years of editing Spectacle magazine.  They have ranged from circus as a revival meeting to circus as a horror show.  The latest novelty has turned out to be circus as a rock concert.

Now while many circuses attempt to create the atmosphere of these musical orgies, none that I have encountered has actually had a rock star as its center piece.  At least not until I came across Circo Rolex, a Mexican circus that packs in hordes of screaming groupies at every performance.  They are there to swoon and scream over Franccesco, who is nothing less than a true phenomenon.  The young man with the golden hair and the killer smile sings and accompanies himself on the guitar, sometimes even while riding a horse.  But the magnificent Friesian he is aboard is more than just a prop for the singer.  The horse is put through some showy dressage maneuvers by the singer as he renders yet another pop favorite which his adoring fans all seem to know and don’t hesitate joining in.  Try cueing a high school horse while hitting all the right notes and dazzling your fans.

But this is still a circus, however much it may resemble a rock show.  Beside his singing, Franccesco also rides three horses Roman style, executes a double on the flying trapeze, and  is the featured leaper on the Russian swing, during which he appears, quite fittingly,  wearing a Super Boy outfit.  He is also capable of producing and landing a backward somersault from the back of one horse to another.  In the interest of full disclosure I must admit I did not see the last named trick in person, but rather on a YouTube video.  But then the performance I saw was only the second of a four performance day, and the star may be forgiven for pacing himself through such an exhausting schedule.

The circus in question is aptly named Circo Rolex, for it looks like the top of the line in every possible way, both physical and artistic.  In all aspects of the show the emphasis is on sexiness, but oddly enough the costuming is quite tasteful.  Nothing is really vulgar, not even the one lady in the show who did a balancing act somewhat reminiscence of Rogana’s act on the Ringling show of another era.  Her costume certainly accentuated her figure and unmistakable physical endowments, but stopped just short of crossing that line that separates the sexy from the vulgar.

Throughout the show the special lighting effects of which there were many, bombard us visually, while the sound level was such as to reverberate in the sternum.  I mean it was LOUD.  The decibel level surely raised the excitement level to a considerable degree, especially as counterpoint to the screaming groupies.  But the numerous announcements felt as if someone was trying to climb down my throat.

The clowns, like everyone else in the cast, are very young, and seem as much adored by the vocal fans as is Franccesco, perhaps because he is also one of them.  One of the cultural differences to be observed is that the clowning is mainly verbal, except for the rude noises created by a trombone.  There is something of a visual gag in a muscle suit one of the clowns wears, but in all cases it is clear that it’s all about the verbal jokes and the jokes are risqué.  I may not speak the language but there is no missing the tone of the laughter or the screams of delight produced by the verbal exchanges of the clowns between themselves and members of the audience.  Clowns don’t talk here in the States, but that is not to say, judging from what Ryan Combs has told me about his act with Steve Copeland on the Kelly Miller show that they don’t entirely eschew the crude jokes.  The work of these two American clowns tends to get more and more raunchy the further south the tour takes them into Texas.

There are also other cultural differences.  Another is the amount of time allotted to the clowns south of the border.  Clowns, as it turns out, are interspersed between every act, and they do tend to go on…and on…and on.

One act involving two young clowns, one of whom happens to be none other than Franccesco in yet another specialty really managed to work up the teeny-boppers in the audience, which is a sizeable portion, into a near frenzy of titillation.  A man dressed in a suit  who attempts to evict them from the ring,  is suddenly turned into a drag queen by having a boa draped around his neck, provoking the only dialogue I understood,   “Che macho!” which was delivered with appropriate sarcasm by one of the several announcers.   This act went on for about 20 minutes.

The show opens with a production number with the entire cast, and apparently the ring crew as well, dressed in spiffy, theatricalized sport clothes.  It is a fully staged highly choreographed, high energy number with two male vocalists belting out a presumably popular song.

The most unusual act in the show, not from the stand point of being in comparison to American circuses, but in the context of the rest of the show, was a short and simple, but quite appealing contortion act performed with complete nonchalance by two young brothers.  Their repertoire included several shoulder dislocations, all of which were performed without the slightest hesitation.

The aforementioned woman who presented a balancing act was the only female in the show presenting a featured circus act.  The eight girl ensemble, however, was used mainly to dress other solo acts, like Spiderman on aerial straps.

The big Wheel was worked by a solo male, not terribly impressively.  The musical scoring for this act came from a full orchestra and it is quite effective in ratcheting up the tension, which would not otherwise have existed.  But the performer’s dismount is certainly one of the most impressive I have ever seen, landing him deep in the entrance tunnel.   Speaking of music, a lot of it, but for soft rock songs sung by the show’s star, sounded like traditional circus music.

Besides Franccesco one of the most impressive acts of the show was a liberty display with three Friesians and two dromedaries, which was, of course, introduced by an ensemble of women in Arabian costumes and veiled faces. This was a very good looking act in all respects.  It was presented by Eduardo Calabrese, Franccesco’s father.

The other impressive act also involved animals.  Act two opened with a cage act once again introduced by a bevy of beauties dressed as felines, reminiscent of the cage act Ringling fielded in 1945.  This one had seven white and two gold tigers.   Like all the other acts, the cats were presented by two very young and sexy men.  One of them does a hand stand as two tigers jump though his spread eagle legs.  Another goes through a fire hoop and finally a big white is lifted into the air on a swing with one of the trainers.

I found it something of a refreshing novelty that no attempt was made to mask the striking of the cage.  Instead we were treated to some good circus music instead, all recorded.

In Franccesco’s riding act, he maneuvers the three Friesians over low fences, and then leaps over another himself before hurdling a flaming bar for a great exit.

While the flying net was being rigged the cast distracted the audience with some ball bouncing, the novelty here being that the balls keep getting bigger.  The flying act itself was made up of five flyers and a catcher.  Franccesco is once again the star, although the best he can come up with is a double, and then a single blindfolded.  The flying is preceded by a strip tease on the fly bar, as the flyers strip off their jackets and pants and get down to tights and bare chests.   Then there is a great deal of shaking their booties, a la Chippendales, revealing another cultural difference.  We may see flyers dancing the salsa but never blatantly shaking their behinds on a U.S. show.  As they dropped one by one into the net at the close of the act one tried to duplicate Tito Gaona’s wonderful trick of getting hold of the catcher’s lock, but unfortunately he missed.

The flyers have barely made their exits when Franccesco returns in a flash, now in a new Aztec-style costume, to sit down and sing another song, this time to his own guitar accompaniment, soon to be joined by the entire cast, also in a new set of costumes matching his for their bows.

Circus Rolex, I have learned, is one of sixteen shows owned by the Fuentes-Gasca family in Mexico.  It is run by Ana and Apollo Fuentes Sanchez with help from Franccesco’s father Eduardo Calabrese.  It has beautiful equipment and makes a spectacular impact on the lot, with its elaborate entrance façade and menagerie tent.  The show stays in the same location for several months and continues to draw huge audiences throughout the run thanks to its exclusive use of social media to advertise and promote its young star and his music.

Another sister of the Ana Fuentes Sanchez family, Kruchev, runs another of the family’s circuses, Circo Miami.  It stars Kruchev’s daughter who is the same age as Franccesco and is said to be equally as talented.  She even works a cage act.  She, too, sings.

In doing some research on this remarkable performer, I discovered that Franccesco, who might be called the Justin Bieber of Mexico, is just 18 years old.  His repertoire includes horses, trapeze, tumbling, Olympic gymnastics, ground acrobatics, and, according to someone connected to the show, “sings like an angel.”  He started performing when he was just two years old, when he was carried into the ring in a suitcase by his father.  He won the circus reality show and TV circus contest: “Los Cinco Magnificos,” The Five Magnificents in 2008.  Since then he has become famous throughout the circus world.  Despite having legions of fans he is said to have his feet firmly planted on the ground, and he makes himself available to his fans, which is why they love him so.

                      

      Circus Vargas  Fails to Live Up to Expectations

Speaking of beautiful equipment and a spectacular front, another show with an Hispanic heritage is Circus Vargas, currently owned and operated by the Nelson and Katya Quiroga family of the Flying Tabares, who were performers when Cliff Vargas, the original owner of the show was still alive.  The beautiful front end has a distinctive European look, with two semis and the box office vehicle forming an impressive façade.  The interior of the big top is huge, backed by a large stage draped in heavy red velvet curtains.  Sadly, however, little use is made of this lavish display insofar as framing entrances or exits.  Adding a note of tradition is the sawdust under foot.  All this décor raises one’s expectation for a show that can match the splendor of its surroundings.

This is a circus trying to be more theatrical than ethnic, but missing the mark by a margin wide enough to be discernible.  The opening ensemble number has ringmaster Kevin Venardos singing an original song, which does not do much for either the production or the singer.   Mixed into the mélange of awkward choreography, acrobatic charivari and original music are some fast paced magic illusions, which are not quite as amazing as one might hope.

Venardos, who was a singing ringmaster with both Ringling and the Big Apple Circus, has here been engaged to provide a Broadway-styled musical setting.  His voice, however, is not up to the demands of the original songs he has been handed, and they often seem strained and unmusical.

The costumes of the ensemble, which often appear in order to dress up some of the featured acts, are designed to suggest contemporary glamour, but they, too, look as though they were made on a budget.

The pre-show provides some promise of excitement to come. All the kids in the audience are welcomed into the ring for some juggling of peacock feathers with lessons provided by Jon Weiss.  He then does his signature balancing of a variety of objects, on nose and chin, concluding with a shopping cart.  Once the ring is cleared, a mirror ball is illuminated during what amounts to the overture with a big band orchestration, all of which is quite stirring, and further raises one’s expectations.

The opening act is a wall trampoline.  The backup wall has no windows so the acrobatic moves lack the variety such passages would provide.  Frankly the resulting work is not as accomplished as what I have seen in Circus Juventas.

Getti Garcia next performs a hula hoop act on the ring-curb covering the strike of the trampoline.  Her finish is one of the more exciting moments of the show as she is hoisted into the air while keeping several hoops in motion.

Another female works on silks serenaded by Verandos with much the same musical effect, as the opening number.

But then none of the solo work is particularly impressive.    Two motorcyclists from the Garcia family (husband and wife) work in the steel glove one at a time and finally as a pair.  Their eleven year old son Max also takes a solo turn.

A strap act performed by Victor Kim Tchepiakov and one of the girls of the aerial ensemble is one of the stronger acts.

The show is called Magi Kaira, and it provides nineteen year old Patrick the chance to exercise his performing chops.  Patrick is the son of Alberto Marinelli, Nelson’s older brother.  He cuts an impressive appearance in the ring, and is beginning to develop the kind of showmanship that will lead to sawdust stardom.   His illusions are pumped up considerably by the work of the ensemble in silver and black costumes.

The show’s principal attraction is the Flying Tabares.  This is a very big troupe that works in two lanes so that there is almost always someone in the air, although there are not many big tricks.  The act finishes with a double passing leap, performed in black lite with day-glo colored costumes providing the extra bit of theatrics.

The show’s clowning is provided by Matti Esqueda and Jon Weiss.  Their most effective gag is a reversal of the old atom smasher, so that here objects grow instead of being reduced, at least until the machine through which the people and props are put works in reverse to produce a surprising blow off.

The show ends with the rocket shot of Leo Garcia launched from an impressive cannon of his own design.  The ensemble is effective in building excitement before the actual shot.

It is difficult to fully assess the show as several of the acts listed in the souvenir program did not work, but from what was presented I got the impression that the current production of Circus Vargas is trying to be something it is not, which is theatre.  In the process of chasing that form, for which it apparently lacks the required resources, it has lost considerable energy, and the numbers are not strong enough to stand on their own and prI saw Circus Vargas again last week.  Since you saw it with the Circus Fans in February, the two missing acts have returned to the show.   Miguel Ferreri presents his bounding rope routine with a flamenco theme in place of Getti Garcia’s hula hoop number which was a filler while the show was waiting for the feature to return.  In the second half, Miguel’s son Michael, a speed juggler, is placed just prior to the cannon.  His finish trick is a nine ball cascade that transitions into a black light finale where he maintains five lighted balls in total darkness.  It brought the house down.  The flying act is still missing one of the featured flyers who normally presents a double double and the triple (which is why the act was short when you saw it in San Diego).ovide the needed “wow” factor.  So it is not really Broadway and not really ethnic.  It lies somewhere in between, in a no man’s land.

 

DonCovington, who lives in San Diego and arranged the CFA trip to see Circus Vargas has provided this update:

I saw Circus Vargas again last week.  Since you saw it with the Circus Fans in February, the two missing acts have returned to the show.   Miguel Ferreri presents his bounding rope routine with a flamenco theme in place of Getti Garcia’s hula hoop number which was a filler while the show was waiting for the feature to return.  In the second half, Miguel’s son Michael, a speed juggler, is placed just prior to the cannon.  His finish trick is a nine ball cascade that transitions into a black light finale where he maintains five lighted balls in total darkness.  It brought the house down.  The flying act is still missing one of the featured flyers who normally presents a double double and the triple (which is why the act was short when you saw it in San Diego).