Tuesday, 23 February 2010

Circus Sarasota

On Sunday last I, with my guest Betsy, went to a performance by “Circus Sarasota”. It was magnificent.

“Circus Sarasota” was founded in 1997 by Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs.

Dolly is a daughter of the famous American Clown, Lou Jacobs. (see http://www.loujacobs.com/index.htm)

The mission of “Circus Sarasota” is to “Entertain, Educate, and Enrich”.

Enrich. C.S. has a year round programme called “Laughter Unlimited” which enriches the lives of seniors in nursing homes, children in hospitals, and people with cancer.

Educate. C.S. has a State of Florida approved educational program with school-children in grades K – 8. This program enables sciences such as “physics” to come alive as the students consider (say) juggling or wire walking. “What are the physics of juggling?” Think about that for a while!

Entertain. C.S. has a one ring circus which takes us back to the days before “Circus” was absorbed into “show-biz” or the entertainment industry. By that I mean that audience members can understand and enjoy the acts as if the performers were folks who live next door. (Which indeed they are).


So it was that Betsy and I enjoyed Casey Boehmer, a juggler who was born with only one arm. (A “one armed juggler” sounds like a joke, but this was real and the act was stupendous..

Then there was “Foot Juggling” (known as the Risley act), in which 10 or 12 years old Fabio Anastasini was juggled by and on the feet of his brother (or uncle) Giuliani Anastasini.

The show stopper was by the “Fabulous Wallenders” who pulled off the astonishing high wire act known as the “Seven person chair pyramid” with Sarasota native Nik Wallenda - see


Betsy and I thoroughly enjoyed the show.

I will not speak for her, but for me this was because:

1. I could see the performers as if they were folks who live just down the road (which some of them do!).

2. The enormous dedication of the performers to the skills of their acts was impressive and entirely admirable.

3. The entre-act clown, “Renaldo” was brilliant in the ways in which he involved people from the audience.

4. Circus is not simply about the acts. More importantly, it is about the ways in which the acts are presented.

In that sense it has something in common with good food.

(Good food is good because of (a) the ingredients, (b) the ways in which those ingredients are combined and cooked, (c) the art of presenting that good food on the plate, (d) the engagement of the diners at the table ).

1 - 4 are true about Circus Sarasota. I believe that they should also be true about worship in our parish and local churches.

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