World’s Strangest Circuses
Great introduction to some very interesting circuses.Â I’m happy to report that my show was chosen to be featured!
World’s Strangest Circuses
At Londonâ€™s Hoxton Hall, acrobats scamper up each otherâ€™s shoulders to form a pyramidâ€”although it hardly looks human. The performers are unrecognizable beneath elaborate ant costumes complete with antennae and googly eyes.
Circuses have always been a bit offbeat, but theyâ€™ve morphed well beyond the classic three-ring spectacle of clowns and animal tamers. Todayâ€™s strangest circuses are small and innovative. Some, like the Insect Circus, push the boundaries by incorporating burlesque or performance art, while others are reviving near-extinct sideshow traditions for a new generation.
â€œCircuses were once the biggest shows in town,â€ says Marc Hartzman, author of American Sideshow. â€œPeople didnâ€™t have the same mediums of entertainment that we have today.â€ As audience interest drifted in the 1970s, circuses began adapting, particularly in the U.K., the U.S., France, Canada, and Australia.
A painter by trade, Mark Copeland founded the U.K.-based Insect Circus in 2002, designing fantastical costumes for the acrobatic â€œants,â€ a winged trapeze duo that go by the names of Baron and Baroness Flutterby, and others. He is especially proud of a stag beetle shell worn by three performers. This lumbering six-legged â€œinsectâ€ takes on a matador in an act that resembles a Spanish bullfight.
For truly death-defying stunts, look to Delhi, India, where the Diamond Maruti Car Circus has become infamous for performing while hanging out of speeding vehicles. For 25 cents, you can peer over the edge of a pit and watch performers on motorcycles and in cars zoom in circles as they grab hands and stand up on their seatsâ€”an unbelievable performance that also qualifies as one of the worldâ€™s strangest sports.
Even in an age of entertainment overload, the worldâ€™s strangest circuses share the ability to keep you on the edge of your seat. Hereâ€™s a sneak peek at their shows.
Acme Miniature Flea Circus, New York
Inspired by Hubertâ€™s Flea Circus in Times Square, which closed in 1957, Adam Gertsacov pieced together the tricks of the flea trade from his circus mentors. The Acme Miniature Flea Circusâ€™s bloodsucking insects have tumbled their way through four different countries and 38 states since the mid-1990s. The only thing Gertsacov asks from his audience? No dogs allowed.
Strange Factor: Two fleas race to a finish line while pulling a chariot. Other less fortunate fleas are shot out of a mini cannon into a Hula-Hoop called the â€œhoop of death.â€