- The Washington Times - Saturday, September 29, 2007

By Jessie Kusuma, age 14

Home schooled, Annandale

Have you ever wanted to witness acrobats on tall stilts being catapulted to the top of a 63-foot-high tent? Would you like to see people jumping rope — with other people standing on their shoulders?

If you answered “yes” to these questions, hurry and get your tickets because the Big Apple Circus has landed its new show, “Celebrate!” in honor of its 30th anniversary.

At the Dulles Town Center in Sterling, Va., this show runs through Oct. 8. Performers executing feats of agility, wonder and hilarity have come here from places all over the world, including England, Russia, China, Switzerland, Italy and Ireland.

This show is family-friendly, focusing more on performances featuring people than on animal antics (although there was an adorable doggie act from Russia led by Irina Markova). Cleverly incorporating dance and storytelling to introduce the acts, the Big Apple Circus set the atmosphere with many elaborate costumes.

The whole show will grab your attention and amaze you. Even the “filler acts,” such as Grandma the clown (Barry Lubin), will engage you.

My favorite part was the Kovgar Troupe from Russia. These incredible gymnasts were hurled into the air by a large seesaw. Some landed on one another’s shoulders in interesting positions (like the splits). Others flipped onto an elevated chair.

Other incredible acts were the living-statue balancing act by Andrey Mantchev of Bulgaria, Virgile Peyramaure of France and Sarah Schwarz of Germany and the hilarious clown team of Gianna Fumagalli and Daris Huesca from Italy.

Although it was great having ringside seats, I suggest not sitting in the front if you’re not up for some audience participation — including the possibility of getting a little wet, showered with popcorn or even pulled out of the audience to dance.

It is worthwhile to go to see and support this circus because of all the community work its performers do, such as the 200,000 cheery visits made each year to hospital patients by clowns. No matter what your age, this show will have you gawking or rolling with laughter.

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