Item description for Big Apple Circus 25th Anniversary Book by Dominique Jando...
The Big Apple Circus is one of the world's most celebrated circuses. Hundreds of thousands of fans fill the seats of its one-ring tent every year; they can see and smell and almost touch the sawdust, the trained animals, and the daring and frequently hilarious human performers. The fans may not realize it, but at the Big Apple Circus they are participating in the rebirth in America of the once-forgotten classical circus, with all its intimacy, drama, and artistry.
The circus in America once meant the Big Top: Three rings! Performers everywhere you looked! Armies of clowns! Human cannonballs! Buy popcorn! Buy cotton candy! Sure you couldn't really see anything, but who cared? It was a spectacle. Then in the hot summer of 1977, a group of struggling jugglers, acrobats, daredevils and people who just loved circuses put up an ill-fitting green tent on a landfill in Lower Manhattan and changed American circus history.
Twenty-five exciting years have now passed. Now is the time to look back at the Big Apple Circus, from its unlikely beginnings to its growth into a beloved New York City institution. Principal author Dominique Jando begins with a short but detailed history of world circus to place the Big Apple Circus within the larger tradition. Other chapters cover the founding of the circus, a behind-the-scenes look at how the shows are created, and a fascinating travelogue describing one week of the circus on the road, with all the hard work, meticulous organization, and surprising ordinariness that is the life of a circus worker. The book features the cast, crews and highlights of all of the Big Apple Circus's 25 years of shows, each with numerous, full-color illustrations.
The book ends with a description of the circus's four renowned community programs, most notably the Clown Care Unit, which bring the circus's special joys to audiences otherwise unable to appreciate it. For every circus fan, this is the first, complete, copiously illustrated book about one of the world's greatest circuses and a beloved New York City institution, now celebrating its 25th anniversary Fascinating behind-the-scenes look at the daily life of a circus Includes an eye-opening history of world circus by one of the leading circus historians 380 dramatic color photos of Big Apple Circus shows by the world's foremost circus photographers
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Principal author Dominique Jando is recognized as one of the world's leading experts on circus. He first stepped into the circus ring four decades ago when he became a clown with Paris's legendary Cirque Medrano. A historian of circus and other popular entertainments, he has published four books and written many articles on these subjects, both in Europe and the United States.
Reviews - What do customers think about Big Apple Circus 25th Anniversary Book?
A Wonderful Front Row Seat May 15, 2009
For anyone who has seen the Big Apple Circus live, this book belongs on your bookshelf. And for anyone who has not seen this circus live, this book will make you want to see it. Big Apple Circus is fashioned after the traditional European one-ring tent circus. The audience is more intimately involved because of its proximity to the ring, and its ability to focus on one ring instead of trying to follow the action in three rings. Unlike the Cirque Du Soleil, it depends less on high-tech sound and lighting.
This delightful anniversary book is to be commended for its beautiful color photography and expertly written text by a circus scholar, Dominique Jando. The book provides "A Brief History of the Circus," "Putting on the Show," "Life On the Road," and 19 sets of wonderful color photographs documenting special theme shows from 1985 to 2002. The Big Apple Circus opened in 1977, on an empty lot near the World Trade Center, and was the creative genius of Paul Binder and Michael Christensen--two accomplished jugglers.
The stunning photographs include many of the most famous performers from the last 25 years. For example, the famous Woodcock elephants are pictured in a variety of poses, from standing on hind legs, sitting upright, to joining their trunks to support a balancing performer. Of course, there are the beautiful Arabian stallions, performing dogs, and even an equestrian riding on an ostrich. Chinese imports include the dazzling Nanjing and Liaoning acrobatic troupes, including two lovely ladies balancing head-to-head while spinning plates.
To the best of my knowledge, there are no videos or DVD's available of this remarkable circus. In the early 80's I was fortunate to videotape a shortened performance of the Big Apple Circus from a television special. It included several of its earliest performers, such as the beautiful solo aerialist, Dolly Jacobs, the wire and bar gymnast, Marie-Pierre Benac, and the humorous juggling act of the founders--Paul and Michael.
When I was growing up near Hollywood, my brother and I always looked forward to the traveling one-ring big top that would set up its tent on a vacant lot--not unlike the beginning of the Big Apple Circus in New York. If we arrived early in the morning, we could volunteer for some menial task, such as feeding or watering down the elephants for a pair of free tickets. It was thrilling to see the elephants help upright the poles as the tent was raised. The Big Apple Circus captures the magic and spell of the traditional circus by continuing to perform under the Big Tent!
While the pictures in the Big Apple Circus book will appeal to all ages, let me recommend two delightful books written for children on the one-ring circus theme: Randy's Dandy Lions and Chester the Worldly Pig. The books are written and illustrated by Bill Peet, who worked on some of the early Disney Classics. Like my brother and I, he also had a habit of running off to the circus when it came to town.