The Greatest Show on Earth
You know you're a mother - when, instead of being amazed at
the tiger/lion tamer - you're wondering how that conversation
went: "Ugh, mom, I've got something to tell you. I've decided to
join the circus and be the lone person in the tiger's den, hoping
he won't eat me."
But since that wasn't my son nearly being torn up by lions and
tigers, I must admit that this Ringling Bros. and Barnum &
Bailey: Dragons was as exhilarating as it was when I didn't worry
about the fate of the lion tamer. And more.
The circus had everything it's always had: The elephants,
horses, token dwarf, animal protestors and wiry trapeze artists. It
also went well beyond what you'd ever expect from a circus that
swung into town for a few weeks.
The first inkling of the out-of-the-norm show was the
motorcyclist who zoomed over the crowd connected to a tightrope
wire, accompanied by two acrobats who did ridiculously incredible
upside-down stints while zooming high above our heads. We sat in
the seventh row, which made this stunt even scarier, as they were
directly over our heads (please don't fall, please don't fall).
A few acts later were the two women who did tricks hanging from
their ponytails. Yes, their ponytails were connected with a wire
that held them up while they twisted and turned and managed to
smile and make even that look like a fun thing to try (don't).
Then there were the Shaolin Warriors, who broke sticks over
their heads and bent steel rods using their necks. It was quite
impressive and scary and awe-inspiring all at the same time.
The ringleader, Johnathan Lee Iverson, who made his claim to
fame as the first black man to hold the job (full disclosure: he
went to high school with me), was great as always. He captured the
crowd of unruly children and nostalgic adults smoothly and
entertained everyone with traditional Greatest Show On Earth
If you come to the circus, make sure you arrive about an hour
early to enjoy the free all-access preshow. You'll get to go onto
the stage to meet some clowns, watch jugglers up close, take
pictures with the performers and watch a continually changing show
just a few feet in front of you. But if you go to that pre-show,
you should probably bring $5 so your child can do the bouncy house.
If you don't happen to have any cash on you and your child notices
the bouncy house, there may be a meltdown. Just sayin'.
Danielle Braff lives with her two daughters and husband in downtown Chicago.
See more of Danielle's stories here.
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