Friday, June 23, 2017 This Week's Paper


// Ringling Bros. & Barnum Bailey Circus opens at Tacoma Dome for the first time

Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus is coming to town. Kicking off its three-week “Barnum Bash” Puget Sound engagement at Tacoma Dome on Aug. 17, producers are calling this all-new 2012 extravaganza “the hippest circus spectacular that The Greatest Show on Earth has ever produced.”

There are old favorites, too, as Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus keeps its roots firmly planted in the formula that has worked for almost a century and a half – live animals, daring feats of human agility, beautiful showgirls and, of course, clowns.

Children of all ages are sure to enjoy all that’s on tap for the circus – beginning with a pre-show party happening directly on the arena floor. All ticketholders are invited to come and meet the charismatic performers, take photos, try out their juggling and balancing skills, and even step behind the curtain for an exclusive backstage experience that includes an up-close look at the most exotic animal menagerie around.

Clown-about-town DJ Dean (aka Dean Kelley) is the pre-show party host and will be seen throughout the show as well. With a burst of fiery orange hair atop his head and loud outfits of mixed stripes and plaids – not to mention his joyful smile – DJ Dean is the clown everyone loves.

“One cool thing we have this year is an Orange County Chopper made just for Ringling Bros. on display,” he said.

“Every year, we try to stay in tune with what’s going on in the world,” Kelley said of the show’s relevance in today’s field of tech-savvy entertainment. “We incorporate modern music, we have a live band that plays, high tech lighting and sound systems, high-impact acts – our show is really interactive and it really gets audiences going.”

Kelley joined the circus about 10 years ago after he was hired on the spot at the circus’ first open audition in 30 years. He said he wanted to be in the circus ever since he was four years old, so being hired by The Greatest Show on Earth was a life changer for this young man from Kansas.

“I felt very lucky. I was the only person from that audition offered a contract.”

Among all that’s new with the circus are the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Ringlettes – three beautiful and talented young women from Brazil well versed in all types of movement including ballet, jazz, tap, flamenco, street, Afro and contemporary. Circus-goers can meet them all at the pre-party and try a few dance steps.

“Barnum Bash” features the type of thrilling international acts that bring audiences to the edge of their seat:

The Urias family – the First Family of the Motorcycle Globe - and their globe of steel with three motorcycles circling inside at 60 mph (the family’s great-great-grandfather invented the globe in 1912)

Duo Fusion – not your everyday hand balancing act, in this husband and wife team it is she who does the heavy lifting – and in high heels

Havana Troupe showing off their trapeze acrobatics and Olympics-caliber flips and twists

The Flying Cruzados defying the forces of gravity forward and backward in a double wheel of steel.

DJ Dean says he has a fondness for the animal acts. “My favorite act is the Asian elephants. They’re very sweet and do an incredible act during the show. We also have a dog act that’s a lot of fun.

“Come to our show and we’ll keep you entertained for three hours for the price of a 3-D movie ticket.”

For tickets and more about the circus visit