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Performers

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How many times can you fall from high places and get up again? How many ways can you deconstruct humor before you find nothing funny anymore? How many more hours can you stand to drive down another highway, a trailer full of costumes or ropes and rigging or yapping dogs behind you? Ask a circus performer. They are fierce and loyal and a little bit diva. Their knees are bruised, their kitchen space is minimal, but night after night, when the lot lights come up and crowds stream into the big top, the performers show up. They stretch and practice and breathe and pray, and then these brave souls risk everything for the oooh's and aaah's of a crowd. They are performers.

Olivier Taquin

Olivier Taquin

The 2008 —2009 Play On! season marks Taquin's second tour with the Big Apple Circus. A professional mime and movement artist, he's performed in many prestigious international venues, including Circus Krone in Munich, and the Crazy Horse Saloon in Paris. In 2007, Taquin took home the coveted Bronze Clown award at the International Circus Festival of Monte Carlo. During Play On! Taquin assumes the role of a mannequin who comes to life and falls in love with a beautiful woman from the audience.

Gladis Anastasini

Gladis Anastasini

Anastasini comes from a long line of circus performers. In addition to their work with the Big Apple Circus, she and her husband, Luciano, have and present their own circus featuring many of their extended family members. Gladis began her circus career performing as a renowned trapeze flyer. During the Play On! season, Gladis assists her husband with his act, Luciano Anastasini and his Pound Puppies.

Alex Cortes

Alex Cortes

A member of a generational circus performing act, Alex Cortes is a flyer in the Flying Cortes, along with his brother, Robinson Cortes; sister-in-law Alida Wallenda Cortes; and Alex's girlfriend, Chrystie Toth. Alex has mastered the triple somersault, a trick that is the standard of excellence for trapeze acts.

Chrystie Toth

Chrystie Toth

A member of the Flying Cortes, Toth and the others joined the Big Apple Circus when its 2008 — 2009 Play On! season was already underway. Toth is the only member of this trapeze troupe who is not a generational circus performer. She is dating fellow flyer, Alex Cortes.

Robinson Cortes

Robinson Cortes

Originally a flyer, Robinson Cortes transitioned to catcher in the family trapeze performance after their father, the original catcher, retired. Robinson is married to generational circus performer and fellow trapeze artist, Alida Wallenda Cortes.

Alida Wallenda Cortes

Alida Wallenda Cortes

A descendent of the famed Wallenda high wire dynasty, Alida still performs as a wirewalker. But her main performance gig is as a flyer with the Flying Cortes. Alida is married to catcher Robinson Cortes. During the Play On! season, the Flying Cortes join the Big Apple Circus mid-season after another trapeze act fails to perform well.

Christine Zerbini

Christine Zerbini

Zerbini is a ninth-generation circus performer. Her father, Tarzan Zerbini, owns his own circus and Christine and her family have worked and trained animals for nearly 200 years. Zerbini was performing as an aerialist for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus when she met Sultan Kumisbayev, with whom she began collaborating with on an equestrian act they could take on the road. Zerbini and Kumisbayev are also dating. Play On! is the first time the duo have performed with the Big Apple Circus, and they bring their signature trick riding performance and a Big and Little horse act to the ring.

Sultan Kumisbayev

Sultan Kumisbayev

Originally from Kazakhstan, Kumisbayev comes from a long line of acrobatic horse riders. He was touring the U.S. with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus when he met Christine Zerbini. The two of them began working together on an equestrian trick riding act, and soon they began dating. The 2008 — 2009 season finds them presenting their breathtaking equestrian act in the Big Apple Circus.

Harmony French

Harmony French

Originally from California, aerialist French was one of four members of the Flying Neves trapeze troupe that began the 2008 — 2009 season with the Big Apple Circus. During the early months of the Play On! season, the Flying Neves struggle to perform a triple somersault and a passing leap, two acts stipulated in the troupe's contract with the Big Apple Circus. Eventually, the Flying Neves are replaced by another legendary aerialist act, the Flying Cortes. When the Big Apple Circus is performing in Lincoln Center, French returns to perform with the Flying Cortes in the place of Alida Cortes, who has a prior engagement.