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Walden, NY

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Walden Is...

The company talks about the town of Walden, New York, home base of the Big Apple Circus.


For four weeks in late summer the Big Apple Circus trucks and trailers pull into Walden, New York. In this bucolic town of fewer than 6,500 residents, the circus circles the wagons, repairs the tents, repaints the set pieces and plans for a new touring season.

"It's an intensive four weeks," says Guest Director Steve Smith. "It's a little like jumping into a sandbox ... it's being able to play well together without passing judgment."

By the time the Big Apple Circus pulls into Walden, there's already a game plan in place for the show. About a year prior, the Big Apple Circus creative team has aleady contracted talent and agreed to a theme on which to hang the show. But even the most solid plans are subject to change once the performers meet and perform their acts in dress rehearsals.

"Some of the ideas you had in mind go away once you meet (the performers)," says Smith. "It's all trial and error."

Walden is also where big personalities meet for the first time. Friendships are sealed or soured as a new circus family forms before hitting the road for a nearly year-long tour together. Walden is where the circus is built.