Sarasota Circus Soars – and Sings
By Kai Rambow
The sound reminds you of the best surround sound music system in a theater – except it is live. This is one of two great experiences at the Sarasota Circus.
Circus Sarasota’s Rich Tradition
This circus has everything you remember except for performances with animals. Astonishing body contortions, amazing skills and comic relief in between acts. It is a rich, traditional experience not to be missed.
Performers have intriguing backgrounds, beyond their biographies. Here’s a sampling: Ringmaster Joseph Bauer was impressively dressed when I interviewed him. This, it turned out, was his “casual” dress. “No one gets to see what I wear in the ring until I step into the ring,” asserted this enthusiastic performer.
Bauer first performed at age six in Osaka, Japan. His parents came to America to perform with the Ringling Brothers. Their sway pole act took them all over the world. “We were in Japan for three months. My parents said, ‘You can’t just stand around.’ I started with my one trick of doing a handstand on my dad’s outstretched arm. Then I started doing my own acts, including a motorcycle on a high wire. I would always watch and admire the ringmasters. You have to have a commanding presence – and you don’t have to be flipping around in the air.”
Bauer would introduce the ringmaster and ended up becoming one when he needed to fill in one day. “I’ve been doing it ever since. I’m glad the guy didn’t show up.” Bauer has loved being the ringmaster for 30 years.
AJ Silver, from the Bronx, started as a professional trick rider. “As a boy, I had dreams of running away with the circus,” – and he did. “After college, I found mentors, trained and became a professional rodeo performer.” Opportunities opened for Silver to perform in circuses and he has now performed all over the world. “I do a western act and pay tribute to the cowboy.” Silver has performed in many rodeos in Florida, but 2018 was his first performance in Sarasota. “I love show business, and you can’t get more show business than the circus.”
Cirque des Voix
The name is French, meaning Circus of the Voices. One hundred choral performers and an orchestra provide live accompaniment for circus performers. The surround sound effect is powerful.
The first performer, from Brazil, contorted his body into the shape of a pretzel, or close enough. The speed of his body changes made this impressive act seem like it was on steroids. The last performer was Kurt Wallenda of the famous Wallenda family performing a high wire act.
Circus Sarasota presents a wonderful family opportunity to experience a rich American tradition. Cirque des Voix is a new way to experience the circus. Both have top performers with renowned international reputations. Note: Performances vary each year. The examples here may not be performing in this year’s circuses.
Tips for a Great Trip
Comfort: This is under the “big top.” It is a large tent. If the weather is warm, expect it to be warm in the tent. Air conditioning, introduced last year, helps a little. Circus Sarasota is right beside University Town Center shopping mall in Sarasota. Tickets range from $15 to $55; parking is $5.
Tickets: Can be purchased online and picked up 30 minutes before each show.
After Show Treat: Close by is C’est la Vie, a French bakery at 8527 Cooper Creek Blvd. (941) 355-2323.
February 15 – March 10
Cirque des Voix
March 22 – March 24