(Video link here.) Lately, it seems like many one-of-a-kind classic art forms are struggling to find their footing in an increasingly strange new world. One close to our heart is the Big Apple Circus, the brainchild of Paul Binder and Michael Christensen (both former street performers), modeled on the European-style one-ring tent circus tradition. For nearly 40 years, it has thrilled audiences around the country with wildly imaginative performers, like the great Bello Nock, above. 

Unlike many contemporary circuses, Big Apple does not rely on high technology to create illusions. Rather, it presents hand-crafted acts which, like Nock’s, can border on poetry, and are tangible results of incredible discipline and inventiveness. Here’s a one-minute glimpse (Video link here.)

Over time Big Apple pioneered a unique circus school and very special “clown care unit”, clown doctors trained in performing for patients in hospitals.

For me, it has been the perfect way to spend New Year’s Eve, as though the Creative in its many manifestations —high-wire, jugglers, clowns — were toasting the New Year.

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After the crash of 2008, the not-for-profit Big Apple Circus began to run into financial difficulties, as corporations and banks that had booked it for private viewings slashed their budgets.

Now it’s in trouble, and desperately trying to raise money to keep going. The New York Times tells the story of the circus and its efforts to crowd-fund for its survival.

Nicole Craine for The New York Times
Nicole Craine for The New York Times

Feel like helping an endangered art form that embodies all that we hold dear:
the willingness to embrace crazy challenges…
…take leaps
…make magic
…defy the norm?

Big Apple welcomes any-size donations from $5 up.  Click here to help.

The New York Times (1940)
The New York Times (1940)

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