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High-flying fun highlights circus

Mon., Sept. 17, 2007

Get ready for the world to turn upside down when the latest installment of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus rolls into town later this week.

Really? Upside down? It’s just the circus, you say.

Yes, but in this new show the world really does go topsy-turvy – at least for a few minutes – thanks to the gravity-defying performance of Alex Petrov and his wife, Vicki.

The two dance, juggle, drink water and perform other feats while suspended upside down 35 feet in the air. They trained to build their endurance for the routine.

“It’s funny,” Vicki Petrov says in a press release. “The better a juggler you are, the tougher it is to master upside down – you have more to unlearn.”

This production is a smaller touring version of the Ringling Bros. classic; more of a one-ring affair than a three-ring one. But they still cram in plenty of traditional circus acts as well as new surprises.

There’s an acrobatic team of dogs who leap as they catch flying discs.

There’s the father-son contortionist duo.

There’s a high-wire act.

A gymnastic group of jump-ropers and teeterboard-flippers.

And, of course, there are clowns.

The whole thing is held together by emcees Liliana Escobar and Jon Weiss (a former competitor on CBS’ “Amazing Race”).

Even though this is a pared-down circus, there are still some big sights under the big top.

Consider Angelica and Gunther, the circus’ two Asian elephants, who each eat 100 pounds of food a day. And then there are the Arabian and Andalusian horses, who work with aerial artist Sylvia Zerbini (a ninth-generation circus performer).

“It’s a small circus but it’s still the greatest show on Earth,” says Ed Clark, the Spokane publicist for the show.

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