Circus is a new six-hour series that takes you on an unforgettable trip with the legendary Big Apple Circus. From the big top to the “back lot,” explore a distinctive world with its own rules, lingo and no fixed address. Follow the diverse characters who make up the Big Apple family and find out what it really means to live life in the ring.
I first posted this in 2010: This recently aired on PBS, we missed it but we can all watch it in one hour segments online. I just finished the first hour and it’s fantastic. This is great behind the scenes footage of amazing performers and producers and circus culture.
Update: We’ve now watched all six 1 hour segments of this show using Netflix and while not perfect it’s quite good. You can watch the segments on the PBS site: here or you can get DVDs or watch it streaming on Netflix here. We watched it streaming with AppleTV.
What’s great about this “docudrama” is the behind the scenes stories of performers, management, and tent riggers. What makes The Big Apple Circus great is that it’s somewhere between street performing and Cirque du Soleil, meaning, it’s well produced but it’s a one ring circus, not a Las Vegas act. The performers are real human beings and we get to see both the behind the scenes and the polished performance.
The Big Apple Circus maintains a “wikipedia-like” site called Circopedia. I found some highlight videos of Sarah Schwarz doing her tight wire act and the LaSalle Brothers doing their juggling act. There’s plenty more video up there so poke around.