A chill and rainy Thursday night in Columbus is not the epitome of a good time. However, if one was brave enough to venture out there were good times to be found. At Nationwide Arena a menagerie of performers, acrobats, clowns, tigers, goats, dogs, horses, zebras, and elephants brought the circus to town. Ringling Bros and Barnum and Bailey have kept the magic alive since 1793. This ain’t your grandpa’s circus though.
With pyrotechnics, acrobatics at 5 stories without nets, a multimedia presentation, music, dancers, and pop-culture references “Bellobration” is the circus for the HD generation. As a child of the ‘80s who grew up with the simplicity of Smurfs and felt Fraggle Rock was cutting edge I was a little overwhelmed.
All of the classics were present. The Grand March opener with all of the animals and performers was impressive. The horse act with three rings and 12 horses, including Arabians, paint, and quarter horses, a Shetland pony, and even 5 zebras, was a traditional performance with impressive trainers. The big cat act also boasted an impressive and humorous trainer with ten tigers, five of which were white. The majestic cats jumped stands, each other, the trainer, danced, and even kissed him. The star cat didn’t feel loving and bared fangs with the trainer came in for a smooch “okay, so no kiss!” he proclaimed. The tigress exited with a bunny hop instead. The most impressive animal act had to be the elephants. The show boasts ten of these gargantuan wonders that prance and preen for the audience like ballerinas.
Bringing the show into the 21st century were the extreme acrobatics, dozens
of tumblers, and BMX bikers. The only show that can even compete with the talent
might be Cirque du Soliel. One of the most impressive acts was the dueling spinning
poles featuring Bello (a world famous clown) and Endira, a gorgeous, curvaceous
acrobat. Five stories high with no nets or safety ropes the tension was palpable
as the performers swirled high. When they jumped and switched poles there was
an audible gasp from the packed house.
Review by Linsey Griffith
Photos by David Heasley