Had you walked into a circus tent in the 1800’s, the show you’d see would be hugely different from what you’d see in a modern production. The art of the circus has evolved tremendously over the years. However, the intention is still the same: to entertain families with breathtaking stunts and performances.
When you purchase circus tickets online to the Royal Canadian Circus Spectac! 2019 this season, it might help to know what changes the circus has undergone since the beginning. It will deepen your appreciation for the acts that you’ll see.
The Addition of New Circus Acts Started the Ball Rolling
Philip Astley created the first documented circus in 1782 in Paris. He was a professional horse rider, and thus the show was mainly focused on equestrian stunts well before the common features we see today like clowns, acrobats, and rings were added many years later.
Other performances like plate-spinning and pole balancing were introduced when French circus manager Louis Soullier brought them back from China during his trip there. In addition, the flying trapeze was introduced by another French performer Jules Leotard in 1859.
The New Focus of the Content
Long-time circus actors have noted that newer circuses are a bit more narrative and character-focused than traditional ones. That is, more emphasis is placed upon the individual actors on stage than ever before.
And as mentioned, while early productions mostly featured cavalry riders, new shows introduced dances, musical performances, and themes to the mix.
The Adoption of the Nomadic Lifestyle
The U.S. was merging toward a nomadic lifestyle as the circus was being brought to North America from Europe. Travelers looking to colonize newly acquired land found their lives filled with trips westward.
In response, the circus had to get on its feet. Rather than the permanent structures used in Europe, American circuses adopted the classic circus tent and began moving from place to place, selling tickets to shows across the land. The invention of the railroad system further accelerated this change.
While some modern circuses travel, others make regular appearances on-stage in the same few cities. Chances are, the show you purchase circus tickets online for will be held in a stationary building. However, the appearance of the traveling circus tent is so iconic in our culture that it’s still used today to represent the show.
The Exclusion of Exotic Animals
It’s easy to imagine decorated elephants, swinging monkeys, and lions jumping through hoops as staples of the circus experience. Animals were added to the show in the mid-1800s.
Today, concerns over animal rights have discouraged modern productions from including exotic animals. The Royal Canadian Circus itself strongly believes in animal rights and, beginning in 2016, has removed the use of these animals. That’s yet another reason to purchase circus tickets online to the show.
The Spread into a Worldwide Phenomenon
There’s a universal charm to the circus, proven by how nearly every region of the world has adopted it. Originally, the trend spread from Paris to other nations thanks to producers Charles Hughes (who started the Royal Circus in London) and John Rickette (founder of many North American circuses).
The French even brought the circus to China in the mid-1800s. Russia also became a hub for circus acts as well, with schools dedicated to training acrobats and ringleaders.
Royal Canadian Circus Spectac! 2019 | BC- Alberta-Ontario
These changes show that the art of the circus has not slowed down in recent years. Modern circuses even blend some elements from both the old and the new, resulting in a diverse and unpredictable art form that continues to this day.
So purchase your circus tickets online now to the Royal Canadian Circus Spectac! 2019. There will be shows throughout B.C. from May 9th – June 9th; Alberta from June 14th – July 7th and Ontario from July 18th – August 18th. Tickets are already on sale for shows later this year. We hope to see you there!
• The circus has been a tradition for hundreds of years. It’s not surprising then that it’s undergone several changes.
• From its inception in the late 1700s, the circus has added new acts, began offering mobile shows, worked under a nomadic structure, spread to other nations, and adopted animal rights.
• Purchase circus tickets online now to the Royal Canadian Circus Spectac! 2019 and help continue this honored Canadian tradition.