The Greatest Show On Earth

The Holy Bible famously documents the stories of individuals whose origins in no way point toward the legacy they are celebrated
High costs, falling ticket sales and animals rights battles have brought down the curtain.
You're Only As Good As The Whole Ignorance makes strange the stranger and fear an enemy of one's neighbor. A society that
"Vocal training and singing correctly and efficiently was of the utmost importance in getting through 13 shows a week," says
"Nothing is comparable to the experience that is Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®," says producer, Alana Feld. For the
I've become a committed realist as of late. I suppose this latest chapter in the storied history of Ringling Bros. and Barnum
"I never wanted fame; I just wanted to be valuable," says Peggy Williams. Such a sentiment sounds terribly out of sorts in the age of selfies and YouTube stardom, where fame is the sole aspiration. For Peggy Williams, such a sentiment isn't hyperbole, it's simply the truth.
It is clear to anyone who has been privileged to see Alexander and his big cats at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey®, either during the show or at one of our many Animal Scout Clinics that their rapport is one of mutual respect.
The name a person is given often reflects the hopes of those who bestow it upon the one who has been deemed as such. At Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, cast and crew alike know Cinqué as "Q."
Circus (or cirque) thrives on living art for audiences of every age and conceivable walk of life, be it under the big top, the theatrical stage or the many sumptuous arenas that host The Greatest Show On Earth.
I was young and so very green, but I knew this was an enormous opportunity. However, it came with something a lot weightier -- history. Holst, himself a former Ringmaster, informed me that if I were to accept the position I would be the first black American in what was then the 129-year history of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey to preside as Ringmaster.
I was naïve upon leaving The Greatest Show On Earth® in 2004. I thought I could simply walk into any audition and acquire the role. After all, I had the talent, right? Right, I did. But so did many others.
Clowning is a compulsion. The pull of clowning is inescapable. So it was for Joan Fernández Cabrera. "I feel a little magic," is how Joan Fernández Cabrera describes his transformation into his clown alter ego, Cantaleta -- a hyperactive blend of mischief, athleticism and a hapless romantic.
Of all the many trapeze artists I've had the pleasure to present, not a single one ever considered such a career in flight as a plan B or something to hold them over until their real dream kicked in. The trapeze is either for you or it is not.
Imagine there's nowhere you can go where you are not the curiosity that tempts roving eyes and odd glances. Imagine that your very presence evokes a profile in the imagination of others, which instinctively limits who and what you are.
Every clown has a story about when they knew they wanted to be a clown. Perhaps it was that first trip to Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, or an insatiable desire to affect others through laughter.
I learned two things upon joining The Greatest Show On Earth over 15 years ago. 1) Top billing belongs to the four-legged mammals and 2) circus at its purest is a celebration of living things at their utmost.
Fear, heaviness and doubt were eviscerated by the onslaught of courage and joy it takes to fly, to dare, to soar, to be circus; and maybe, just maybe that inspired performance reached that someone in the shadows who we'll likely never meet. Hence, the show must go on.
Next time you take your kids, grandchildren or even your parents to the circus, please keep in mind that the artistry can be spectacular, the acts can be death-defying, and the show must go on.