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Circus Review: The Big Apple Circus – Dance On!

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It may be a cliché, but the circus really is for “children of all ages,” especially the Big Apple Circus’ Dance On!, showing now through January 9, 2011 at Lincoln Center in Manhattan.

The Big Apple Circus has only one ring, but within that ring there is a lot of action. Behind and above the ring is a full band and above that, a small house with a spiral slide that comes down to the ring. The set takes you back to when you were a child, especially all the bright colors.

The show starts with the introduction of a dancing clown, Mark Gindick, who keeps appearing throughout. He reminded me of “Steve” on Blue’s Clues, the children’s television show. His red and white-striped shirt, big, thick black glasses, and yellow sneakers fit right in with the cartoonish look.

Following that, the audience sees an eclectic mix of acts ranging from the Hebei Wuqiao Acrobatic Troupe from China performing on monocycles to X Bud Roses Troupe from Mongolia contorting their bodies in ways that you would never think the body could move. As a matter of fact, if I put my body in the position that these women put their bodies, I would never be able to move again.

When Regina Dobrovitskaya of Russia does her cloud swinging performance, everyone in the audience is on edge. Although she had a security strap on her, she was doing some outrageous stunts that made me grip the side of the chair. She was so high up that we had to rub our necks when she came down.

The best part for me was when Intermission was over and the animals came out. First goats, then dogs, then ponies.  It was hysterically funny when the goats rode the horses, trying to balance themselves as the pony ran along the ring.

In between each act, “Grandma,” played by Barry Lubin, would come out and make the audience laugh, especially when she uses a treadmill and keeps flying off.

The whole atmosphere was so playful. I was sitting next to an older man who was there by himself. He was laughing so hard at times I thought he might have a heart attack. There were plenty of little children there too. Most people go to the circus to take their children but this one is really for everyone. It’s fun, it’s breathtaking, and it’s action-packed. What more can someone ask for in a circus?

Tickets start at $15 and can be purchased online at bigapplecircus.com.

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