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Ringling Brothers Circus
March 2017
The last time I went to the circus when it rolled into Philadelphia, I was in elementary school. When we heard that Ringling Brothers was shutting down the circus for good this year, we decided that we should go see its last hurrah. We splurged a little and got seats in the second row. There were two separate touring shows this year. The one that came to Philadelphia was "Out of this World." (The other being "Circus Xtreme.") Wow, what a difference from the last time I saw the show. I remember seeing Gunther Gable, elephants and a unicorn. I probably don't want to know what kind of animal rights violations were committed in the production of the unicorn, but I did miss the elephants. As for Gunther, there was a big cat trainer there who was also quite good. The other surprising part was that besides the acrobats, clowns, contortionists, dog trainers, etc., a portion of the show was also performed on ice. Add some horse stunts, motorcycles in a steel sphere and a menagerie of animals including a kangaroo and you have quite a fun spectacle. It's really sad that this will be the last year that anyone will get to experience it.

(click any photo for a larger version)

01 Wells Fargo Center 03 Arena Before Show 05 Pre-Show Hosts
The circus train rolled in to the Well Fargo Center this week
We got there early to watch the warm ups and pre-show.
The pre-show hosts
06 Clowns 07 Clown 08 Basketball Players
The clowns get an early start
This guy was kind enough to come over and pose for me! Not your traditional clown!
The King Charles Troupe warms up their unicycle and basketball skills
10 Dog Jumping Rope 14 Tiger & Trainer 17 Clown
A dog jumping a rope that's bigger than he is
Alexander Lacey and his tiger friend
This clown is ready for the show to start
20 Countdown 21 Preparing for Show Start 22 Light Ropes
Almost time for the show!
The seats are full and the show is about to start
Whoa, invisible light rope twirlers!
26 Balancing Astronauts 27 Balancing Astronauts 28 Balancing Astronauts
Launching the show with wheel walking astronauts
Launching the show with wheel walking astronauts
Launching the show with wheel walking astronauts
30 Balancing Astronauts 32 Aerialist in Globe 35 Circus Queen on Horse
Launching the show with wheel walking astronauts
That just looks painful!
The Evil Circus Queen and her horse
36 Ringmaster 39 Ringmaster 40 Leopard & Trainer
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson rides in on his motorized platform
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson makes his entrance
Alexander Lacey rides into the ring with one of his leopards
42 Cast in Light 43 Lions & Tigers 44 Lions & Tigers
The opening cast in a brief moment of light
The big cats are one of my favorites but I'm still glad there's a cage between us!
Lions and tigers, oh my!
46 Lions, Tigers & Trainer 47 Lions & Tigers 48 Ringmaster
Wow, it's hard to get even one cat to cooperate like this!
Cute but terrifying cats
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson
49 Contortionists 51 Motorcycle Globe 52 Circus Queen
Icy contortionists
Steel globe full of speeding motorbikes
The Evil Circus Queen makes another appearance.
53 Trumpet & Keyboard Players 55 Trapeze Artists 57 Trapeze Artists
I love that the circus still uses a live band.
No circus is complete without trapeze artists
No circus is complete without trapeze artists
58 Trapeze Artists 61 Sidekicks Walking on Ceiling 62 Basketball Players
No circus is complete without trapeze artists
This photo is a little blurry, but it's not upside down, the performers are on the ceiling.
The King Charles Troupe plays a friendly game of basketball on unicycles.
63 Skaters 66 Pig 67 Donkey
I think I might've worn an outfit like these to elementary school in the 1980's.
Whee! A 1200 pound pig hits the sliding board.
A circus donkey
68 Pig & Dogs 72 Llamas 73 Llama & Trainer
Pigs and dogs, a natural combination
Llamas circle the ring
A llama and his friend
74 Kangaroo & Trainers 75 Skater & Dogs 76 Pig
I didn't expect to see a kangaroo at the circus. How cool!
These dogs are spoiled. They get their own wagon.
Only at the circus do you find a pig in a lei.
78 Diving Dog 79 Fire 81 Flaming Hoop Performer
This dog is much less afraid of heights than I am.
Flaming ice!
Flaming hula hoop
82 Cossack Horse Rider 83 Cossack Horse Riders 84 Cossack Horse Rider
The Evil Circus Queen is also a skilled Cossack horse rider
The Cossack horse riders
Cossack horse rider
85 Ringmaster 86 Cossack Horse Riders 87 Ringmaster & Sidekick
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson watches the action
The Cossack horse riders finish up their routine
Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson and his sidekick Paulo Dos Santos
89 Ringmaster 90 Clown 91 Finale
The circus goes neon
I'd sit down if I were her too. The clowns don't stop through the whole show!
The big finale!
93 Band
I love that the circus still uses a live band.

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