- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 29, 2008

By Samantha Lee, age 10

Luxmanor Elementary School, Rockville

Entering the Verizon Center on Wednesday night, I went straight to the backstage area where I met a Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus performer, Omar Dudley.

Mr. Dudley is an awesome guy. He is part gymnast, acrobat, jump-roper and dancer, and he works with the clowns. He is originally from Chicago and began performing four years ago with Ringling Bros. However, he says that he has been performing ever since he was 8 years old.

Mr. Dudley told me that performing for the children and making his audience smile is what he likes most about working for the circus. All performances are memorable for him because he feels he learns something new every time when performing. Besides training and performing, Mr. Dudley enjoys high-energy activities. His favorite hobbies include such sports as basketball and football.

After the pre-show, the 137th edition of the Ringling Bros. circus, Bellobration, began. Basically, this edition celebrates Bello Nock, a funny character who works as a clown and also performs acrobatics.

I think the show was awesome, but I didn’t like how Bello Nock was chasing his love, a female acrobat. It was kind of cheesy.

However, my favorite circus performers all made their appearances. Asia, the famous 40-year-old elephant, was there. And so were Taba and his tigers — he even had white tigers this time. He and the tigers were great.

Alberto and Mauricio Aguilar, Mexican tight-rope walkers, gave an amazing performance with their little umbrellas (to keep them balanced). Ty McFarlan, the ringmaster, had a great voice and personality.

I also enjoyed the trained dogs. They did an awesome job of doing back-flips. And if you like cannons and people shooting out of them, husband and wife Brian and Tina Miser were there as well.

The clowns were OK. They can be irritating. But if you like clowns, they’re there, all right.

So this is an edition of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus that I recommend for all children and their families. I noticed that a family with a really young boy left and never returned. So younger children may be scared — it’s very loud and chaotic. But definitely check out this edition of the Greatest Show on Earth.

½

WHAT: Bellobration: Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus

WHERE AND WHEN: Verizon Center, 601 F St. NW, through Sunday; Patriot Center, 4400 University Drive, Fairfax, Wednesday through April 13.

PRICE: $14 to $95

INFORMATION: www.verizoncenter.com, www.patriotcenter.com, ringling.com

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