Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey presents Legends

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(Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Presents Legends is currently playing the Baltimore-Washington, DC, area through April 19. Check dates and buy tickets here.)

Ah, the circus. Just the word conjures up so many different images, thoughts, and emotions. For some, going to the circus was an indelible part of childhood. For others, it’s been something to share with their own children.

For many, the circus–and particularly Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey–has become a lightning rod for controversy. Claims of animal neglect and abuse seem to dog the circus at every turn. Protesters are a common sight outside host arenas. And online activism is a more-or-less constant force against the circus.

And it’s taken a toll. Indeed, Feld Entertainment (the company that owns Ringling Bros) recently announced that it would eliminate elephants and elephant acts from all of its shows. After 145 years, they will be pulled from all Feld-owned circuses by 2018.

Some are declaring this a success, whereas others claim it’s merely a first step in the right direction.

On the flip side, there are those who side with Ringling and maintain that elephants are a defining characteristic of the traveling circus. The claim is that if you remove them, then there’s not much left.

It’s so easy to side with one of the extremes on this issue and add your voice to the chorus. Indeed, the voices at both extremes seem to be the loudest. However, I’m honestly somewhere in the middle.

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Big Apple Circus: Metamorphosis

BIgAppleCircus(Big Apple Circus is currently playing at the Dulles Town Center in Dulles, VA, through Sunday, October 5. Buy tickets here. The show then moves back to New York for the holiday season, through January.)

The Big Apple Circus is probably best described as a happy marriage between a traditional circus (think Ringling Bros) and Cirque du Soleil. There’s a nice mix of acrobatics, contortionists, jugglers, and small animal acts.

It’s a bit more “fun” for little kids than Cirque du Soleil might be (and certainly more affordable), and it avoids the large animal acts that often plague larger, more traditional circuses. (There are no elephants, lions, or tigers.)

The conceit here is fairly simple: the Big Apple Circus presents a one-ring circus underneath a big top with an old-school ringmaster between acts. It’s almost enough to transport you back to the Dust Bowl. Almost.

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Ticket Giveaway for Big Apple Circus

Big Apple Circus

Coming soon to the Dulles Town Center in Sterling, VA, just outside of DC!

Full disclosure that I’ve never seen the Big Apple Circus before, but it seems to be a nice mix of traditional big-top circus and more “Cirque du Soleil” type theatrics. They do use live animals, but I don’t see mention of any “big” animals, such as elephants or lions.

From their press release:  You will be thrilled by the Flying Trapeze, the razzle-dazzle of the Rolla-Bolla, the dynamo of the Diablo, the risky rhythms of the Risley team, the cunning conjurors of the Quick-Change, and the incredible flexible limbs of the Contortionists.

Big Apple Circus

Save $10 off with promo code BIGAPPLE (*Limited availability. Offer good on select seats and shows. Children under 3 are free when seated on the lap of a paid adult.) 

Additionally, Big Apple Circus has made two tickets available to Roarbots readers for the opening night performance on Thursday, September 18 (7:00 pm). Enter using the widget below, and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway