At this point most of the world has heard about the Greatest How on Earth pulling up stakes for the last time. May of 2017 is the end of an era, another chapter closed in the pages of history. Shall this be the demise of the clowns, acrobats, jugglers and the many other talented performers? I for one say “NO” we shall not go the way of the Dodo.
The road ahead:
Many terrific clowns, jugglers, magicians and the like have not come up through the ranks of a circus yet have made their way in the world of entertainment quite nicely. Although sad, the closing of the Ringling Circus does not affect all performers directly. Now this does not mean we should kick back and coast along status quo as this can be a dangerous mind set. We should consider the fact that one of the worlds longest running shows is coming to an end and therefore we need to heighten our senses. Could it be that people want something different than the circus has provided for generations? A good question indeed. I mentioned in my article “When the Laughter Dies” how we can let our routines become outdated and loose connection with our audience. Now more than ever we must seek to be current, relevant and innovative.
I love to watch America’s Got Talent and how often we see circus acts appear on the show. The circus performer has an opportunity to reach a whole new generation of viewers on a nationally televised show. This is also true of magic acts, sword swallowers and other “Sides show” style acts. The 2016 season we saw “Tape Face” who is a mime artist with a very clever twist. His wacky props and skits timed with appropriate music took the audience by storm and the large piece of duct tape on his mouth is a comical way to present his mime attributes. You my have guessed, Tape Face has a circus background.
Thrill acts such as the high wire, trapeze and other aerial routines, fire eating, sharp shooting and knife throwing still make the audience gasp with fright at the apparent danger to the performer. Routines that seem to defy gravity and physics like the Rollo bola (balance board) jugglers and human balancing acts are an amazing display of strength and coordination. The 2016 season of AGT we even saw the Argentinian Gaucho dancers which was hugely popular with the ladies. This gives proof that the desire to see circus style acts still does exist, we just need to search for venues other than the big top.
Perhaps a Vegas style show is the future for larger circus acts but have you searched your hometown lately. The traveling circus is still alive with the one ring Big Top shows. Kelly Miller Circus still is out and puts on a terrific show at an affordable price for families. Variety shows and open mic nights have been rekindled as of late in some areas along with other small theater shows. Hoop dancers, fire manipulators, folk singers and poets are out in small theaters and community gathering spots to delight audiences with their talents. “What’s old is new” as the saying goes, however we must keep the entertainment value up as to not fall short of our audiences expectations. I have a friend who belongs to a hula hoop club and she teaches classes. Not only is it good exercise but it is fun to partake and to watch. The group often meet in a local park when the weather permits inviting onlookers to join in the fun. Activities such as this are a great way to meet people and introduce an art form that otherwise may go unnoticed.
Do some searching, hop on the internet, read local entertainment papers to locate groups that may be an interest to you as a performer. Get involved with them and hone your skills or learn a new talent, perhaps join the show. If nothing else, go out and support these local artists at one of their events, every little bit helps keep these magnificent treasures from fading away. I recently attended an Open Mic Night at a Yoga studio, not only were there many talented singers, musicians and poets but I also met some fascinating people in the audience and struck up some interesting conversations.
We can make our local theaters, coffee shops, family fun centers and outdoor venues our playground. We don’t have to wait for the show to come, let us be the show. The Clown Antics crew will continue to post ideas, tutorials and other inspirational pieces here on our blog page to hopefully enlighten, educate and inspire you to become the best you can be.
We are all part of the Greatest Show on Earth!