The first thing people notice about Circus Vargas is its big-top tent. Hand-fashioned in Milan from 90,000 square feet of cerulean-blue and sunshine-yellow fabric, the canopy, along with spotlights and saw-dust-covered floors, completed the illusion of an elegant lost era when used in the 2011 film Water for Elephants. The last thing people notice is the absence of animals. They're too busy gaping at a man balancing a 12-step ladder with his mouth.
Keeping its marvels strictly human, Circus Vargas builds on a 40-year history by blending classic feats of fearlessness with surprising new tricks. The show features magic tricks along with a skilled hand balancer, a speed juggler, and the wheel of destiny.
The instructors at Airealistic Circus & Flying know a thing or two about gravity, having defied it on behalf of Cirque de Soleil, De La Guarda, and Franco Dragone productions. For example, program director Carmen Curtis uses a foundation in gymnastics to elevate her cirque routines, which she showcases as a member of Airealistic Theater Company. These experiences grant her the expertise to lead her aerial classes, which are taught alongside gymanstics and yoga classes. Whether teaching family circus or acroyoga classes, all staff members prioritize safety as they introduce kids and adults to aerial apparatuses.
In addition to gymnastics, booty bar, and Vinyasa yoga sessions, the trainers teach AIReal Yoga, Acro and Tumbling, Hatha yoga, Power Barre, Barre Fitness, Contemporary Dance, Pilates and Afro-Brazilian Dance, believing that one's choice of style reflects his or her own unique character. Their aerial and acro-yoga variations also encourage students to test their notions about human flight in a noncompetitive setting. Each class incorporates a fitness component into its exhilarating routine, and the schedule includes classes at all times of day.
16: how many hours it takes to set up The Greatest Show On Earth
10: how many hours it takes to tear it down
2,500: average pounds of popcorn consumed in between
85: the number of animals, which include Asian elephants, tigers, lions, leopards, and llamas; all receive superlative animal care
61: the number of cars in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus train that carries the show from city to city; that?s more than a mile long
20,000: the number of miles that train will cover in one year
3: the miles the train master walks each day as he tends to the animals (all seated at the front of the train for the smoothest ride) and gives them regular water and exercise stops
Size: 20 different productions currently active worldwide, featuring more than 1,300 performers of 50 different nationalities
Mission: Stir the imagination, invoke the senses, and provoke the emotions using theatrical production values, character-driven story lines, and no performing animals.
Audience: more than 160 million spectators (and counting) since its founding
The Hershey Theatre, conceived in 1933 by noted philanthropist and chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, stands as an opulent tribute to the performing arts. Taking architectural cues from Saint Mark’s Basilica in Venice, the foyer’s towering arches gleam with golden paint and crystal chandeliers. The blue-and-gold mosaic that leads to the main seating area is the masterwork of two German artists who spent two years on its construction. Once inside the theater, audiences might think they’ve stepped onto the streets of Venice thanks to the atmospheric ceiling, stonework facades, and gondoliers paddling them to their seats.
####Bethel Woods Center for the Arts
Music has permeated the 800 manicured acres where the Bethel Woods Center for the Arts has stood since 1969, when farmer Max Yasgur agreed to let love, peace, and harmony grow wild at the very first Woodstock festival. These days, the renowned outdoor venue and cultural center continues to attract the biggest acts in music to its pavilion stage. The open-air design ensures ample ventilation on the natural sloping lawn, and a roof protects up to 15,000 fans from inclement weather and the prying eyes of Cessna pilots.
Fanny Kerwich, Lone Star Circus?s founder and current creative director, was born with the circus in her blood. An eighth-generation member of a renowned French circus family, she has been performing since age 6, delighting international audiences at Paris?s Lido and Moulin Rouge, Germany?s Circus Roncalli, and San Francisco?s Teatro ZinZanni.
Fanny?s performing experience and artistic vision now guide the nonprofit Lone Star Circus, which is a two-branched operation. Its performance troupe?s grace and athleticism shine during shows. The circus?s school hosts classes for adults and children throughout the week. Beginners? classes cover a variety of circus skills, from trapeze and aerial silk work to acrobatics and lyra, also known as aerial hoop. Learning to lift and hold your own body weight is a good way to get stronger and see muscle definition quickly.