Ringling Brothers, Barnum & Bailey Built to Amaze! Circus Review . . .
How do you feel about the circus? I don’t even remember the last time I’ve gone to one and am not sure if we’ve ever taken our daughter. With Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built to Amaze! on tour and in our area, we decided to check it out.
Before the show, a small group of bloggers and their children were invited to see a preview of the ‘poodle act’. We were lead to and seated in two blue and pink teacup cars on the stage floor. The dogs came out to perform fun tricks as they walked, danced, ran, jumped, and rolled along their trainers, Alex and Irina Emelin. Irina then took two of the dogs to greet each of us in our little teacups. Their puffy heads were so soft and their tails were wagging like crazy! As Irina did that, Alex answered questions.
I found out that they start training the dogs around six months but just a little bit as their bones are still developing. We were also told that they only work with boys as they are stronger. One little boy asked, “How do you know they are all boys?” I had to snort a little through my nose as Alex turned bright red and there was silence. The mother looked as if nothing was wrong and patiently waited for an answer. After a few minutes, Alex replied, “Because they all have boy names!” Nice save! The preview was quick as the crew needed to get ready for the event later.
My daughter and I went out to get some dinner before meeting my husband for the show. Protesters were outside handing out leaflets and wearing sandwich boards with disturbing images. Upon entering the hall, there were huge signs pointing out the elephant conservation efforts by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey.
We only caught the tail end of the pre-show on the floor with a bounce house, some rope climbers and clowns, and a painting elephant. They called it ‘pop art’ but the handler basically gave the elephant a brush and let it swoosh the paint across the paper. He then moved the elephant’s trunk again to repeat the process with other colors. All this might have been fun for the little ones but my family was content to watch from a few rows above.
Little did I know that, along with the serenading ringmaster, Alex and Irina were the main hosts of the the whole circus! The costumes were great, the music was peppy, and everything was nice and colorful. Acts rotated between human performances and those of animals.
Human performances included a human cannonball, rope swinging, clowns (that were actually pretty funny), tumbling, basketball on unicycles (this was kind of boring), trampoline jumping, balancing on two huge revolving steel rings, and strength demonstrations. The tightrope performers were so daring!
As for the animal acts, well, we had mixed feelings about those. The dog act was great and you could tell the dog were having fun and treated well. After all, dogs enjoy doing tricks and making people happy. I was surprised how roughly the rabbits were handled but the bunnies seemed very docile and somewhat unconcerned.
The acts with the tigers and elephants were strange though. Instead of being nice, it was very odd to see the animals while performing in totally unnatural ways. The tiger handler seemed very harsh and there people outside the safety net poking the tigers when it was their turn. The only enjoyable part of that was watching one of the tigers scratch an itch he had during most of the act.
Kids of all ages could enjoy the entertaining acts and this would be a great ‘first’ circus. Souvenirs were plentiful and horribly overpriced though. $16 for cotton candy with a felt hat and $35 for a small plush elephant?! I thought the choreography was done very well and the mood was kept light throughout. We found out that circuses aren’t really our thing but, if you’d like to see one, Built to Amaze! would be the perfect choice.