This year Big Apple Circus returns to Lincoln Center in Manhattan for an extended run, through February 2nd. The circus, unlike in years past, has no plans to take the show on the road after February.
The traditional circus format remains the order of the day, with singing ringmaster Storm Marrero, clown Amy Gordon, and international acts of high skill level and good variety.
Featured solo juggler is IJA member Kyle Driggs. Kyle performs his rings and umbrellas routine that has brought him success in numerous festivals including IJA competitions, and a season with Cirque du Soliel, “Paramour” on Broadway.
Kyle balances rings on his head while juggling closed umbrellas, then balances a closed umbrella on his head while holding a ring around it.
He juggles five rings, does a 360, and changes to pancake throws. He does a full pattern of sideways throws with five. With three he rolls them over his shoulders and rolls them over his back, Bob Bramson style.
He juggles three rings and a closed umbrella, in a fountain, then in a triple single.
He finishes with three and four opened umbrellas, and five with his partner Andrea Murillo. He also finishes by catching the last opened umbrella upside down on the top of another opened umbrella very precisely.
Most of his routine is his solo work but the brief passing he does with his partner gives the act a romantic touch, set to the tune of “Something” by The Beatles.
There were no other juggling acts in the show this year, though the high-wire act, The Lopez Troupe, used a unicycle at one point.
Did someone say there were no other juggling acts? That depends on your definition of “juggling” which can be different, depending on who you ask, or what lecture or workshop you’re attending. Case and point, the Russian team, Aliev Troupe’s act included a great deal of throwing and catching, only they were throwing and catching each other!
The act combined elements of acrobatics, trapeze, and pole jumping using the Russian barre. But the best part was an extended routine wherein they would toss one partner across the ring to the catcher on the other side. This twenty feet up in the air and including flips and twists. made for a truly spectacular finale. The act was created by Asher Aliev who won the Silver Clown at the 35th international Circus Festival in Monte-Carlo.
Other acts included the aforementioned high-wire team, jumping rope, riding bicycle and unicycle, and finishing with brothers Johan and Jonatan and sister Zuliedy building a human pyramid on two bicycles. Jason Dominguez did flips and leaps on the wheel of death. Ukrainians Maryna Tkachenko and Tetyana Yudina did a sexy aerial straps routine. Dupla Mãona Roda performed handstands and acrobalance. The Savitsky Cats did a trained house-cat routine which was about as interesting as watching paint dry. Daniel Bridon Benitez and Abel Driggs executed their Chinese pole routine. Caleb Carinci did a terrific acrobatic horseback riding routine which, while riding around the ring, included backflips and jumping from horse to horse, backwards, and once doing the significantly more difficult stunt of jumping to the forward horse.
Behind the scenes and listed as “Circus Scholar” is Juilliard professor Hovey Burgess who also hands Kyle his props at one point in Kyle’s routine. Hovey won the IJA Excellence in Education award, authored the book, ‘Circus Techniques’, and created Circo Dell’Arte.
The show is directed by Jack Marsh and Cecil MacKinnon, with costumes by Emilio Sosa.
Overall the show was what you want and hope the circus will be – a thrilling, funny, mesmerizing, silly, stupendous, sawdust and horse smelly, surprising, and fun family show.