To Cirque, or not to Cirque? Philly circus pros weigh in on Cirque du Soleil

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Cirque du Soleil has pitched its tents outside the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center, in Oaks, Pa., to stage the North American premiere of its COVID-delayed show, “Bazzar”.

Cirque is coming into a city that has a strong, homegrown circus scene: “Bazzar’s” big top was being set up just as the annual Fringe Festival was showcasing a particularly strong lineup of independent circus and clowning artists.

Cirque du Soleil has raised a tent at the Greater Philadelphia Expo Center at Oaks, Pa., for the United States premiere of ”Bazzar.” (Emma Lee/WHYY)

Ava Gowanloch, 21, a student at the Circadium Circus School in Mount Airy training to be a contortionist, performed in one of the Side C shows as part of the Fringe Festival. She saw an early preview of “Bazzar,” and said Cirque du Soleil is the Holy Grail of circus jobs.

“As a kid, before I got into circus, I was at the dentist office or something and it was just on the TV. I remember being so curious about it,” she said. “Now that I’m here training, that is like the end-all, be-all dream. That would be amazing to be a part of that company.”

Contortionist Ava Gowanloch works on the mats at the Circadium School of Contemporary Circus in Mount Airy. (Emma Lee/WHYY)

  • October 3, 2023
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