Luciano and Gladis Anastasini, who are in charge of the year's dog act, are eighth generation circus. Both grew up in the circus, and it is the only life they have ever known - certainly, the only one they can imagine. They met and fell in love in the summer of '78. Now they live and travel in their eighteen-foot motorhome, with their two sons, Adriano and Brando, and their fourteen dogs.
With the sudden passing of Gladis Espana Anastasini's father, Gladis and Brando fly down to the funeral. Here, we see that friends from the larger circus community have come to pay their respects to a brilliant performer who loved putting on a show. And we meet Gladis' extended family, the brothers and sisters she used to fly with in their family act - the Espana Flying Trapeze troupe.
Everyone is still getting to know each other in the first few weeks of Walden. And what better way to break the ice than a company-wide potluck, where everyone brings a dish that represents their native home?
The entire company of Big Apple Circus comes together to celebrate the holidays, with dinner in the ring, a visit from Santa Clause, and a special musical presentation by an ensemble that includes Harmony French, Guillaume DuFresnoy, Sarah Schwartz, Olivier Taquin, and Don Covington.
A glimpse of the can-do spirit that not only inspires circus artists to attempt amazing feats of artistry and bravery in the ring each day, but also inspires the audience to feel that anything is possible, and that ordinary people can do extraordinary things.
A preview of the PBS series, CIRCUS, which follows the Big Apple Circus on their annual year-long town-to-town tour. The preview includes behind-the-scenes footage and commentary from the filmmakers on the making of the series.
The Flying Cortes arrive just in time to perform on opening night in Dulles, Virginia. Brothers Alex and Robinson Cortes, along with flyers Chrystie Toth and Alida Wallenda Cortes, talk about what it feels like to soar through the air on the trapeze.
There are many notions and mis-perceptions about clowns, when in fact, they are characters with a depth beyond the makeup or wig they put on. Barry, Mark and Glen talk about their inner clowns.
The traveling circus is a family business and kids are as common a site on the lot as clowns. Circus kids know that they live in a unique world and often wonder what life is like on the outside.
Veteran clown and Big Apple Circus icon, "Grandma" aka Barry Lubin, shows circus newbie Glen Heroy the ropes of performing in a circus ring. Can Glen pull off a Big Apple signature routine, called "lead-a-band" as they would like him to?
The crew are the backbone of the circus. Taking down the tent and setting it up in each location, they literally move the circus. Like so many who ran away and joined the circus - the working crew find a home away from home at Big Apple, where the work is hard but the meals and living are free. It's hard but rewarding work, we learn, but can three new girls survive their first load in?
The Rodion Trio performs one of the most talked-about acts in the circus: the Russian barre. It's an elegant, classic circus performance that requires much technical skill and involves serious risk.
Each location on the circus tour has distinctive features, and its own set of challenges. But is it a foreboding omen that the first stop of the tour is Dulles, Virginia, where the terrain is -- literally -- rocky? Here, the show is still going through its growing pains, and everyone is working frantically to mount a high-caliber show for their first paying audience.
The circus world is a family affair and kids are as familiar a sight on the lot as trailers and tents. Some of the Big Apple kids (and adults) tell us what it's like to grow up in and around the ring.
Tent master Sergio Nguyen builds a fully proportioned puppet woman, constructed entirely out of bamboo, for his friend Olivier Taquin's new act. We watch from the moment Sergio begins slaving over his creation to the moment Olympia and Olivier meet and dance together for the first time. It's love at first sight.
In the weeks before the season premiere, the Big Apple Circus production team works long hours honing and tightening the program, a process devoted to rearranging acts and making tough decisions. Beloved wire walker Sarah Schwarz is devoted to her craft, so it wasn't easy when she was asked to cut her act down by two minutes -- practically half the length.
Austin Sanderson runs the Big Apple Circus costume department, where all of the costumes for the new season are designed and built from scratch. This means creating costumes with the performer's unique requirements in mind. By the dress rehearsal, Austin learns that some costumes need more work than others.
Circus Historian and Curator of circopedia.org Dominique Jando has a great appreciation for the circus as an an honest, tangible art form. In this excerpt from an interview shot for the CIRCUS series, he explains that the circus showcases ordinary people doing extraordinary things.