Tuesday, March 16, 2010

46 Circus Facts in 45 Days

In honor of 46 CIRCUS ACTS in 45 MINUTES, we have tweeted 46 Circus Facts in 45 Days leading up to its opening night on March 19! Here is our list of fun circus facts in its entirety.

1) Let’s start with the basics: Circus Fact #1: The word “circus” comes from the Latin word meaning circle or ring.
2) Circus Fact #2: A traditional circus is a traveling company of acrobats and performers, including trained animals and clowns.
3) Circus Fact #3: Cirque Nouveau combines art forms like juggling, trapeze, acting & music w/out a ring leader, animals or “big top” tent.
4) Circus Fact #4: In order to execute tricks safely, circus performers have to work as an ensemble- a group of equals without a single star.
5) Circus Fact #5: Basic balancing act= a base to lift/catch the flyer + a flyer who performs skills mid-air + a spotter who assists the flyer.

6) Circus Fact #6: Performers let us know their acts are done w/ their own signature style- maybe a wink, a hand gesture, or a “Ta-da!”
7) Circus Fact #7: Clowning is highly physical theater, often without text, that draws on traditions of Commedia dell’Arte and pantomime.
8) Circus Fact #8: Chaplin, one of the most influential clowns/comedians once entered a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest and came in third!
9) Circus Fact #9:
The Flying Fruit Fly Circus, where many of Circa’s artists trained is the only fulltime circus school for children in Australia.
10) Circus Fact #10: Cigar boxes are still a popular juggling prop today, used for high-speed mid-air box exchanges, balancing & other tricks.

11) Circus Fact #11: Legendary screen star Cary Grant started his performance career working as an acrobat and juggler.
12) Circus Fact #12: Contortionism is a circus genre in which a performer displays unusually flexible muscles and mobile joints.
13) Circus Fact #13: Funambulism (or tightrope walking) is the art of walking along a thin wire or rope, usually at a great height.
14) Circus Fact #14: It is statistically harder to get into The Ringling Brothers School of Clowning than it is to get into Harvard Law School.
15) Circus Fact #15: The simplest form of juggling using 3 objects is called a “
3 ball cascade.”

16) Circus Fact #16: Sousa's march, Stars & Stripes Forever was traditionally played to quickly signal an emergency to all circus personnel.
17) Circus Fact #17: Did you know?
Human cannonballs travel between 60-70 miles an hour every time they are shot.
18) Circus Fact #18: One circus superstition is that performers must enter the ring on their right foot to avoid bad luck.
19) Circus Fact #19: For good luck, some circus performers keep a
hair from an elephant’s tail in their pockets.
20) Circus Fact #20: Once a performer's wardrobe trunk is set down backstage, it's considered bad luck to move it before the circus relocates.

21) Circus Fact #21: Trapeze artists develop skills after years of training. Did you know there's a NYC Trapeze School?
22) Circus Fact #22: In circus lingo, a strolling vendor who sells concession items like popcorn and toys to the audience is called a butcher.
23) Circus Fact #23: The Oscar-winning 1952 circus epic,
The Greatest Show on Earth, was the first film Steven Spielberg ever saw in a theater.
24) Circus Fact #24: A free pass is called an Annie Oakley- the small hole punched in the ticket resembles sharpshooter Oakley's bullet holes.
25) Circus Fact #25: A lot of circus superstitions have developed along with traditions: one is that whistling backstage is considered bad luck.

26) Circus Fact #26: Did you know that popcorn, a popular circus and theater snack, has been around since 400 B.C.?

27) Circus Fact #27: In keeping with yet another circus superstition, performers never eat peanuts backstage.
28) Circus Fact #28: In 1793, John Bill Ricketts presented the first circus in America in Philly on April 3rd: Pres. George Washington attended.
29) Circus Fact #29: The modern circus- equestrian acts, feats of strength/agility and a clown- was created by Philip Astley in 1770 in England.
30) Circus Fact #30: Italian equestrian Giuseppe Chiarini led the most well-traveled early circus- visiting over 15 countries on 5 continents!

31) Circus Fact #31: The curtain separating the ring from the backstage of the circus is called the vorgang.
32) Circus Fact #32: And another circus superstition: Bringing a peacock feather into the circus tent is said to be bad luck.
33) Circus Fact #33: In 1882, Jumbo the Elephant comes to the US via Barnum/London show & jumbo becomes a synonym 4 large. http://bit.ly/bte8FO
34) Circus Fact #34: "Social Circus"
programs reach marginalized groups utilizing circus skills as tools for empowerment.
35) Circus Fact #35: Did you know that circus is over 2,000 years old? The Chinese Circus dates back to the Qin Dynasty of 225 - 207BC.

36) Circus Fact #36: “Happy Cooks” is a traditional Chinese circus act that involves plate spinning, andd juggling food or kitchen utensils.
37) Circus Fact #37: In 1971, the 1st week of August was designated
National Clown Week by President Richard Nixon.
38) Circus Fact #38: There are 3 types of clowns: Whiteface(the oldest), Auguste(zany and dim) & the Character Clown(Happy Hobo or Sad Tramp).
39) Circus Fact #39: Did you know? Saigon, the oldest circus elephant in Australia, is 55 years old!
40) Circus Fact #40: Looking for local circus happenings or juggling resources? Visit circusnyc.com and jugglenyc.com!

41) Circus Fact #41: Australian gold rushes, beginning in 1851, spurred the spread of circus entertainments throughout the Australian colonies.
42) Circus Fact #42: Sword Swallowers practice their craft first with spoons, plastic tubes, knitting needles and wire coat hangers.
43) Circus Fact #43: Most contortionists are either frontbenders or backbenders, depending on which direction their spine is more flexible.
44) Circus Fact #44:
Enterology is the practice of squeezing one's body into a very small box or container.
45) Circus Fact #45: The only full-time, permanent sideshow left in the world is
Coney Island Sideshows by the Seashore.

46) Circus Fact #46: CIRCA from Brisbane, Australia, opens 46 Circus Acts in 45 Minutes at The New Victory tonight!

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