“The Circus is in town!” exclaimed the child, eagerly scanning the day’s newspaper. “Let’s go today, please, Mummy please daddy.” A visit to a circus is a boon or a much eagerly anticipated outing in a child’s life. In a child’s mind a circus is like gladiators ring found in ancient Rome and the performer’s right from the ring master to the clown are all his toys.
A circus is most commonly a traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, trapeze acts, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists. A circus is held in an oval or circular arena with tiered seating around its edge; in the case of traveling circuses this location is most often a large tent called the big top. A traditional circus performance is led by a ringmaster who has a role similar to a Master of ceremonies.
The ring master presents performers, speaks to the audience, and generally keeps the show moving. The activity of the circus takes place within a ring. Common acts include a variety of acrobatics and gymnastics including tightrope walking, aerial acts such as trapeze and cradle, and a variety of floor routines.
Juggling is also a common act in circuses; the combination of juggling and gymnastics is called equilibristic and include acts like plate spinning or the rolling globe. Clowns are common to most circuses and are typically skilled in many circus acts. A variety of animals have historically been used in acts. While the types of animals used vary from circus to circus, big cats, elephants, horses, birds, sea lions and domestic animals are the most common.
The fact is, animals do not naturally ride bicycles, stand on their heads, balance on balls, or jump through rings of fire, thus they are specially trained for this act. To force the animals to perform these confusing and physically uncomfortable tricks, trainers use whips, tight collars, muzzles, electric prods, bull hooks, and other painful tools of the trade. But all these are not seen to the audience.
In modern times the use of these animals is being banned to protect their rights. The people associated with the circus take a very high level of risk and commitment and present a very high level of entertainment to the audience. A circus performance is led by a ringmaster the ring master presents performers, speaks to the audience, and generally keeps the show moving and thus plays the major role in the circus performance.
And although the popularity of the circus has dwindled in the recent past due to the movies there is still quite an apprehension about the visit to a circus though the atmosphere in every child’s life remains as memories for a very long time. One can only hope that the circus does not lose its identity in history, but at the same time hope that animals may be respected and treated with love and care. But the charm shall live on.