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Sarasota Summer Circus Spectacular July 31, 2013

Posted by nrhatch in Humor, Music & Dance, Travel & Leisure.

As part of my birthday celebration, we attended a matinee performance of the Sarasota Summer Circus Spectacular in the Historic Asolo Theater at the Ringling Museum in Sarasota:

An 18th-century treasure in a 21st-century venue, the Historic Asolo Theater is a work of art in its own right. The palace playhouse was created in Asolo, Italy in 1798 to honor the 15th-century exiled Queen Catherine Cornaro of Cyprus.

In the late 1940s, the theater was dismantled and brought to the Ringling Estate in Sarasota.  In 2006, after years of painstaking restoration, America’s only 18th-century European theater was reset in the John M. McKay Visitors Pavilion just inside the historic Cà d’Zan Gatehouse on the Ringling Museum estate.

The Historic Asolo Theater now functions as a performing arts venue, presenting a diverse roster of theater, music, dance, film, and lectures.

The show boasted clowns, jugglers, acrobats, aerialists, and illusionists.

Opening the 2013 Spectacular, Texas Jack Fulbright, the reigning world champion of trick roping, engaged in some whip cracking fun.

We enjoyed the sleight of hand of master magician Rafael Palacis, and the aerial grace of the magnificent “Queen of the  Air,”Dolly Jacobs.

We had two favorite acts during the matinee.  First, nationally-acclaimed Silent Comedian, Robb Zeiser, drew laughter from the crowd on his own . . .


And with the able assistance of children pulled from the audience . . .


Who, upon waking that morning, had been unaware that they would wow an audience by balancing a spinning plate on the head of a spindle . . .


But you’ll have to take my word for it because, just as his miniature volunteers proved their proficiency at passing spinning plates from one to the next, an usher informed me that taking photos in the Asolo was a big naughty “no no.”

Oops.  Mea culpa.  (When I saw her headed my way, I thought she meant to chastise my slouch . . . or my failure to get a proper pedicure before appearing in public.)


The last act, Duo Romanesc, drew appreciative gasps from the audience as this dynamic and nimble duo demonstrated flexibility, strength, grace, and balance.

Ian Laidlaw and Anthony Congdon have performed as a duo hand-balancing team since middle school, when they met at the Sailor Circus in 2007. Coached by the distinguished circus performer Willie Edelston, they have also performed as part of quad and trio hand-balancing teams.

Aah . . . that’s better!


1. aawwa - July 31, 2013

I’m not sure when your birthday was but I hope it was a happy one!

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

My birth day falls mid-July . . . but we attended this show at the end of June as a “birthday appetizer” ~ to whet the appetite! :mrgreen:

2. Pix Under the Oaks - July 31, 2013

Ooooo I hate it when somebody chastises me now I am an old adult.. 🙂 Right away when I saw your feeties up there I thought there may be trouble. Didn’t think it would be the picture taking!

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

Before taking any photos, I read through the program and saw something that said “No Video or Flash Photography.” I turned off my flash, thinking that would suffice, and snapped these photos while waiting for the circus proper to begin.

The Master of Ceremony later announced NO PHOTOGRAPHY to the entire audience. Oops! 😳

3. Jodi - July 31, 2013

How fun is that!?! As a girl my parents would take me to the Chinese acrobats and for weeks after my brother and I would practice our handstands.

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

We went to the show, in part, because we wanted to experience the theater itself, but the show was FUN from first to last. The hand balancing act WOWed us!

It made me want to turn cartwheels (which are beyond my ken).

4. kateshrewsday - July 31, 2013

Sounds like a riot, Nancy 😀 I do love these clever, modern circuses. Such a lot of wit around.

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

Everyone in attendance seemed pleased with the performance ~ from little ones laughing with unfiltered exuberance to older sorts (like us). 😀

5. Grannymar - July 31, 2013

What a lovely beginning to a birthday season. I hope you are still celebrating. Belated birthday greetings from across the pond.

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

Thanks, Grannymar. The “official” celebration ends today . . . the last day of the month. But I’m not shy about claiming further birthday goodies should they pop up on the horizon. :mrgreen:

6. diannegray - July 31, 2013

What a load of fun! Happy Celebration of the month of the birth (I do the same thing and celebrate all month) 😀

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

It’s so much more sensible than limiting the festivities to a single day. 😉

7. Three Well Beings - July 31, 2013

I’ve been chastised for the same thing, Nancy. Each time it’s been because of my own interpretation of their ambiguously written warning. Or that’s what I tell myself–maybe I really just want to get away with it! 🙂 This is an amazing theater, and I’ve never heard of it. Imagine the undertaking to have dismantled, transported and then reconstructed such a wonder. The circus sounds like so much fun, but I think just to be in the theater would be special! Happy extended birthday…you’ve got the right idea! 🙂

nrhatch - July 31, 2013

I thought of you and some of your “pirated shots” as I wrote this, Debra. The Circus was fun, but the initial draw was the theatre itself. We’ve poked our nose into it before, but this was our first performance there. Great seats throughout and they had a FUN crowd in attendance the Friday we went. A winner of a pick!

8. shreejacob - August 1, 2013

Oh I’ve been scolded for taking photos in a no-no area too! hehe.
Hope you had a wonderful birthday and the show and theater seems totally awesome 🙂

nrhatch - August 1, 2013

Thanks, Shree. Birthdays are like comets . . . we should enjoy them coming and going. 😉

shreejacob - August 1, 2013

hehehe…true that 😀

nrhatch - August 1, 2013

Whee! It’s going . . . going . . . gone!

9. colonialist - August 1, 2013

I have no idea why so many ban photography – you’d think that the more there is, the more potential publicity!

nrhatch - August 1, 2013

I understand NO FLASH photography during performances, because FLASHES can be disconcerting, but the outright prohibition doesn’t always make sense to me.

10. jannatwrites - August 2, 2013

It sounds like their photography policy wasn’t well-written. If they want to be clear about it, they should adopt the policy of the BEP (Bureau of Engraving and Printing.) They posted signs warning that all photography was forbidden in the gallery and any photography would result in the confiscation of the camera or cell phone. Of course, I can’t remember the exact wording on the signs…I wasn’t about to take a picture of them so I could remember 🙂

nrhatch - August 2, 2013

I remember those signs from MY visit there in the 7th grade! They made quite an impression ~ engraved into my memory.

Of course, back then, they didn’t mention cell phones. 😉

11. sufilight - August 2, 2013

This looks like fun! I am glad you had a chance take photos before being chastised so you could share with us. 😀

nrhatch - August 2, 2013

My camera is a basic “point and shoot” . . . not designed to capture nuance or expression at a distance. So it’s probably just as well that I put it away and enjoyed the show. 😀

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