For several months each year, The Big Apple Circus pulls its muddy trailers and tents into the superlative air of Lincoln Center. Here, in the company of lean ballet dancers with elegant posture and sopranos with voices akin to angels, the Big Apple Circus stakes its claim as a classic art form. It’s incongruous: A messy circus with bales of hay and cotton candy wrappers plunked in this epicenter of high art. But the circus ring has always been a showcase for performance artistry, a place where athleticism, humor and human physical potential are on full display. In this collection from PBS’s upcoming series, CIRCUS, we shine a spotlight on the artistry and athletic prowess under the big top.
In the weeks before the season premiere, the Big Apple Circus production team works long hours honing and tightening the program, a process devoted to rearranging acts and making tough decisions. Beloved wire walker Sarah Schwarz is devoted to her craft, so it wasn’t easy when she was asked to cut her act down by two minutes – practically half the length.