Circus – DVD Review

Ah, the circus. A veritable cornucopia of sights, sounds, and adrenaline-charged thrills that entice and delight both young and old. Most people have either visited a circus or have seen one on TV or at the movies. Whether it’s a three-ring circus or another configuration, the circus has been and will always be a part of human culture.

Clowns, jugglers, horses, lions, elephants, acrobats, and more tantalize and intrigue circus audiences with their fast-paced and oftentimes death-defying routines. But what many people don’t know are the stories behind the scenes. The performance is only part of the story when it comes to the real life struggles and joys of these men and women.

Circus takes us behind-the-scenes of the Big Apple Circus as it begins to cast, stage, rehearse, and perform 350 shows for audiences all over the United States. Based in New York, the group works to find the rhythms and routines that will make audiences cheer, laugh, and burn with excitement.

A lot of people don’t realize how dedicated circus performers and workers are to their craft. Acrobats and animal trainers aside, the men and women who make up the entire team live in less-than-stellar conditions, work long hours, and work hard to put on the best show possible. Despite the hardships faced by these folks – including the dip in the economy – they still manage to remain dedicated and focused on their primary goal: to put on the best circus possible.

With intimate interviews with workers, performers, and others associated with the Big Apple Circus, this documentary series delivers an insightful and thought-provoking look into a form of entertainment that still manages to compete with film, TV, video games, and mobile devices. The hardships, frustrations, excitement, and elation these people share both as individuals and as a team of circus performers is quite inspiring.

This six episode series includes over an hour of bonus features with deleted segments, interviews, and further insight into what its like to live, eat, and breathe the circus lifestyle.

If you’re a fan of the circus, I highly recommend this excellent documentary series. Well done, PBS!

Circus is available November 9, 2010 on DVD and Blu-ray!

What’s your favorite part of the circus? Leave a comment and let us know!

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