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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Circus brings traditions to SL

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Quaint Circo Osorio offers old school performance with international flair

To most Americans, the idea of circus brings to mind a lavish gala of big tops and elephant shows in the over-the-top Ringling Brothers tradition, or perhaps the stylishly glitzy Cirque Du Soleil tourist productions.

The circus coming to Storm Lake Wednesday, August 15, is a show of another stripe.

The American Crown Circus and Circo Osorio is a throwback to a bygone era when small, family based troupes toured their corners of world, from Europe to Mexico, practicing timeless arts of aerialism, tumbling, juggling, balancing, clowning and anything else they could imagine to draw a crowd and collect a few dollars on trinkets.

American Crown Circus (the Circo Osario moniker in keeping with the Hispanic circus roots of the show) will present two performances Wednesday, August 15, at Storm Lake's Fitzpatrick Truck Center, near Wal-Mart. Tickets for a free child admission with a paid adult are available at the chamber of commerce and participating merchants. Showtimes are 6 and 8 p.m.

Based in Las Vegas, the low-tech show is based around a family with a tradition in acrobatics. The show has produced famous performers featured in major international circuses and champions in competitions such as world juggling events. Circus officials like to say that their performers represent "more than 100 years of circus history," and many of them have perfected skills passed down through generations of their own families.

There is Alejandro, "the youngest whip tamer in the world," the Stardustr Troupe, Peruvian masters of the teeterboard, Bronco, the world's smallest performing horse; the Amazing Bardo, performing on "the Wheel of Death," the Masters of Juggling, the Waldo Troupe and the American Circus Clowns. The one recent concession to modern demands of late, has been a motorcycle trick rider.

The small band trucks across the nation almost without stop, with a colorful trailer that doubles as a ticket office, and tent walls the performers erect themselves. With no internet presence or large advertising budget, this circus relies on advance posters and those children's tickets to draw in families to their small sets of stands.

Low budget as it may be, the skills of performers such as trapeze artist Airel Lyra are not inconsiderable - she's been known to swing by her hair. The bilingual emcee takes the audience on a tour of performers from places such as Argentina, Mexico, and Columbia. When they aren't performing, the same artists are quick-change artists, serving double and triple duty serving snacks, changing sets, and peddling balloons, color books and other goods to the children.

No elephants. No glitz. Just circus the way it used to be.