We interrupt the regular feature of Tall Tale Tuesday to announce that the circus is in town!
Last Saturday, a small-time circus came to our small-time town in Iowa. They set up two red and yellow striped rings in our little county fair shed. The elephant’s head scraped the rafters, which made her look even more unreal. The juggler’s batons weaved in and out of the beams, which made the crowd ooo and ahhh even more. And the trapeze artist could have kissed the roof. The small venue made the performer’s feats even more larger than life.
At the height of the circus’ popularity, aka, when there was no Hollywood (around 1900-1920) there were more than 200 traveling circus wandering through the country giving performances.
Now, there’s no more than a handful.
Live shows just aren’t sought after anymore. If you can see an elephant or dog show or motorcycle tricks on YouTube, no need to pay $16 and see real ones.
But the thing about YouTube is, you can’t smell the sawdust or taste the cotton candy and dirt in the air. You can’t watch open mouthed with a hundred other people as the contortionists shoots a bow and arrow with her feet. And when the clown comes onstage . . . there wasn’t anyone who wasn’t gasping, snorting, giggling, gaffawing by the time he tripped over his big shows and exited the arena.
Circus’ aren’t just a sensual experience, they’re a communal one.
I liked seeing what went on backstage almost as much as what went on in the ring. Hard workers, those roustabouts!
You can see the sweat on the performer’s brow. Your heart beats faster when the tigers roar because you know they could kill you if they got loose. Your stomach is in your throat as you watch the acrobats flip around in the air like a bouncy ball because you can almost feel their pulse and adrenalin and strength. And when the most beautiful woman you’ve ever seen, the elegant ringmaster, looks you in the eye and bows, you feel a part of her show.
YouTube just can’t give you that.
Feats of death defying magnitude!
The most beautiful woman in the world!
Wonders beyond your imagination!
You’ve never seen anything like it!
Also, if you’re interested in seeing the circus and learning about the performer’s and worker’s lives, I recommend these two phenomenal documentaries. One is particularly helpful in solving the performing animal’s rights dilemma.
A great look into the Rosaire circus family and about how they treat their circus animals…
Not only an exciting peek behind the curtains, also an enthralling human drama. I highly recommend this documentary!
So Have You Been To A Circus?
If all the circus’ in the US go under, have we lost something of value?