The Royal Canadian Circus is coming to Red Deer as its final tour destination for this season, beginning Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Ringmaster and Performance Director Joseph Bauer comes from eight generations of performance arts within circuses.
“I take the people on a journey and introduce each act and explain what people are about to see, where our performers come from and highlight the big tricks in the act,” says Bauer, explaining the role of the ringmaster.
“The other thing that’s very important is keeping an eye on what’s going on, because with a live performance, things can change. One day there could be a glitch in the cable or an animal’s performance and you have to make it not noticeable to the crowd.”
Bauer comes from a long history of aerialists based out of Switzerland. His family has been involved in circus performance since 1830.
“I’m keeping the act going and my son and daughter are ninth generation performers. It’s a lot for me to not want to give it up. It’s in our blood and we really enjoy it.”
Bauer says his shift from aerialist and ‘Wheel of Death’ performer to ringmaster came easily, although he still misses his other acts sometimes. He says he felt natural in front of the mic and enjoys connecting with the audiences as they experience the circus.
“It was hard deciding whether or not to give up one, do the other or do both. Fortunately, there are some shows where I can do both.”
Bauer still practices his Wheel of Death routine for the times that he is able to host the show and then quickly changes at the end to show off his daring act.
He says, “It’s really hard to say which is the most gratifying.”
The Wheel of Death has played a large role in the lifelong performer’s experiences. Bauer was most recently featured in a pre-Olympic celebration set, which involved 12 days of performing near Sochi in front of crowds nearing 26,000 people.
The Royal Canadian Circus features acts from all over the world, including a Romanian teeterboard act and an Argentinean family clown troupe.
For those who may not know, teeterboard refers to the act involving catapulting artists into the air via an apparatus similar to a large seesaw. The Romanian performers begin their act on dangerously high perch-poles and then transform into a teeterboard act.
Bauer says he is sure it is the only act of its kind in Canada.
“We try and bring a special, unique ensemble of artists,” says Bauer.
In celebration and honour of the year of the horse, several equestrian acts have been added to the show, including a bareback aerialist performance. This involves acrobats who stand up on a horse’s back, and perform things like flips, juggling and jumping over objects.
Bauer says that he is excited, because this is something that is new and specific to the tour for this year.
Bauer adds that there is a lot to see for this show. He describes the circus as a time where, “Families can come together and turn off the phones for awhile and enjoy a live performance.”
“The circus is such a special place when it’s a traditional circus like this. The circus is over 200 years old, that’s older than baseball. There is something in this show for young and old,” Bauer says.
General admission is $30 plus tax and children under three are free. Show times are running from May 23-25, with the full schedule and times able to be viewed on the Royal Canadian Circus web site.