Big Apple Circus sets up its tent in Cunningham Park

By Merle Exit

Step right up—the Big Apple Circus has brought its Grand Tour to Cunningham Park, and both kids and adults are sure to be left in awe.

A Broadway-style spectacular, “Charivari” introduces the entire company, as ringleader John Kennedy Kane takes the stage to a Roaring Twenties theme, complete with costumes and a jazz band led by Rob Slowik.

The Grand Tour is travel-themed, as Kane takes the audience from the SS Big Apple sailing across the Atlantic Ocean, to the Orient Express. which makes stops through Europe and on to Asia, the Middle East and Africa.

Chiara Anastasi becomes something of a human slinky as she juggles the hula hoops, reminiscent of a few acts seen on “America’s Got Talent.” The Wheel of Wonder replaced the thrill of the high wire. Erick and Jayson Dominquez mounted a huge “amusement park ride” contraption that rotated them high into the air as they jumped rope and performed other acts of derring-do.

You don’t need elephants or tigers when the “ahhs” come from Jenny Vidbel’s adorable dogs performing tricks such as jumping through hoops, riding a scooter and skipping rope. Jenny is also responsible for showing off her Arabian Horses as they danced and pranced around. For $10, kids had an opportunity to take a pony ride around the ring during intermission.

The Feliciano family from Woodhaven came back to attend and weren’t disappointed. It was Juan’s wife, Mayra’s, first time at the circus. “I enjoyed it very much, especially the clowns and acrobats,” she said. “It is such a great family experience.”

Energy Trio, a Chinese acrobatic troupe, wowed the audience with their hand balancing routine.

Zuma Zuma performed a routine of tumbling and leaping off one another while creating some interesting images with their bodies. Another “America’s Got Talent” image was Russian aerialist Sergey Akimov, who spun his body with a hanging cloth.

There is also plenty of audience participation, mostly involving bringing children into the ring to play musical chairs and for the circus to take the opportunity to promote their “Clown Care “program which brings “laughter and joy to aid the healing process of patients in leading pediatric hospitals.”

According to Chris Kirwan, “my 3-year-old daughter Quinn liked the horses the best. She was mesmerized the whole time.” Her older brother Caiden liked the acrobats who flew off the see-saw. “Prices are a bit steep if you want extras. Programs went for $20 and there was this spin toy for $20 as well. Food and beverage aren’t cheap. Kids always go after cotton candy, hot dogs and sodas. It can certainly mount up.”

If You Go

Big Apple Circus

When: Through June 12

Where: Cunningham Park, Union Turnpike and Francis Lewis Boulevard, Fresh Meadows

Cost: $25 – $69

Website: www.bigapplecircus.org

More from Around New York