Phoenix/ Fun & Entertainment
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Published on June 22, 2024
Ringling Bros. Circus Makes a Grand Comeback in Phoenix with a Focus on Human TalentSource: James G. Howes, Attribution, via Wikimedia Commons

It's no mirage, Phoenix residents: The circus, once emblematic of grand spectacle, is pitching its tent in your backyard. After a pivot to prioritize human prowess over animal acts, the rejuvenated Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is set to astonish Valley audiences this July, according to ABC15.

Performance Director Ashley Budinick detailed the plans for engagement, "We have 75 performers from 18 different nationalities doing just remarkable feats, pushing the limits of human potential" and interaction. Prepare for gravity-defying acts like the Criss-Cross Flying Trapeze and a Triangular Highwire, delivering jolts of adrenaline in what is billed as a 360-degree, immersive entertainment experience.

As part of their coast-to-coast gambol, Ringling Bros. is pulling out all the stops to reclaim its spot in the limelight sans the polarizing animal acts that nudged it toward temporary extinction six years ago. From cannon ball daredevils to gymnastic feats, producer Juliette Feld Grossman accentuated the focus on "pushing the limits of human potential," highlighting a playground or toy box-inspired set where the action is unconfined. Lauren Irving, described as the host for the show, waxed nostalgic in an ABC15 interview: "Every day I come into rehearsal I'm amazed. I'm in awe."

While those nostalgic for a nose-honking, pie-throwing entourage may find the absence of traditional clowns surprising, juggler Jan Damm assured that characters will still spark joy. "They wanted to adapt the show to fit their performers," he explained, and yes, some will indulge in clowning around sans the signature face paint. For Phoenicians ready to experience this evolved circus, the Footprint Center is the place to be from July 5-7, with a series of performances aimed to elicit the awe of yesteryears.