On Friday, May 10 I took my eldest daughters, Kate (7) and Jacqueline (5) to the first night of the Royal Canadian Circus. My kids were very excited for their first circus visit and their enthusiasm was infectious (as was the Afro circus song they sang in the van the whole way there).
While I had been to the contemporary circus, aka Cirque du Soleil, this was my very first time attending a traditional circus performance. Held in a 42-foot ring designed to enable a horse rider to stand upright on a cantering horse, the ring and seating in the round is all contained under a gigantic red and yellow canvas Big Top.
The Royal Canadian Circus is owned by TZ Productions, named after founder Tarzan Zarbini. A circus family since 1763 in Italy, the Zarbini family and their circus has undergone many transformations. The circus travels across Canada and the United States performing in major cities for short stints, and Calgary is home to the show until May 20.
Unfortunately, due to a permit tie up at the border, the show’s 14 tigers were not able to perform for the performance we were attending. However, the rest of the phenomenal trapeze artists, jugglers, acrobats, unicycle riders put on a wonderful show. Children as young as six performed exciting tricks and enthralled the audience – my kids were literally spellbound through all of it, despite the frequent passing-by of the cotton candy seller and souvenir guy.
Gabriela Zerbini’s aerial act, performed with no nets or safety harnesses, was stunning to watch. Many of the audience members (myself included) let out shrieks as she swung through the air hanging from her knees and at the apex of a swing, slid down to grasp the bar by just her ankles. Having taken a trapeze class myself in Montreal last summer, I could definitely appreciate the skill and talent required to perform her incredible feats.
With a 7:30pm start time for the evening performance, we took advantage of the intermission at 8:45pm to head home, full of popcorn and shaved ice and cotton candy. I’d definitely recommend taking in one of their afternoon or early evening performances rather than the later showing if you have small kids in your party.
The Royal Canadian Circus is currently offering a two for one deal on general admission tickets if you use the special coupon code FUN.