Families to get full circus experience with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey
By: Katie Morris
Published: Tuesday, February 19, 2016
For Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s Boss Clown, Taylor Albin, the best part of his job begins one hour before the show starts.
“I say this all the time, and I truly mean it,” Albin said. “The best part about my job is when a family comes to our show and they arrive an hour early for the All-Access Pre-Show. They scan their ticket, they walk through the door, and all of a sudden they’re transported into this world of the circus.
“And for those three hours or so, that they’re (at the circus) having this incredible live entertainment happen right in front of them, they’re forgetting their worries. They’re forgetting whatever troubles they’re facing in the real world, and they’re in this own unique place called the circus.”
Local families will have the chance to step into the ring with Albin and experience the circus when Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey presents “Circus Xtreme!” comes to the Infinite Energy Arena from Feb. 18-28.
Sharing and making family memories at the circus is something Texas native Albin fondly remembers from his own childhood.
“We used to go every year with my family,” he said, “and my grandmother would constantly every year make sure we had the best seats in the house. We could get there early so I could make sure and see those clowns as they came in to perform.
“And I remember at a very young age seeing some of my idols. Tom and Tammy Parish were probably two of the biggest clowns that I admired at Ringling Bros. growing up and seeing them entertain the audience and people around me. I was very, very young, probably 4 years old, and I looked around at the people laughing and I thought to myself, ‘I want to do that someday. That’s what I want to do.’”
It took some time before Albin was able to live out his childhood dream. After graduating from Lee University in Tennessee with a Business Administration degree in 2009, he decided the time was finally right to pursue a clown career. He flew to New York and auditioned, and a year later he joined the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus.
“It was several months, but in all reality it was the blink of an eye and then bam! I’m fulfilling my dream, and I’ve been here now ever since. And I can’t think of a better place to be,” Albin said.
According to Albin, “Circus Xtreme!” marks the 145th edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey circus.
“That makes us older than Coca-Cola, older than baseball. I mean we really are one of the oldest pastimes for Americans, and this year we really wanted to create something that’s so unique and so different. We took classic circus elements such as the traditional acts, like the highwire act and the wheel of steel, but we amped them up a little bit.”
For example, during the “Circus Xtreme!” highwire act, the Danguir Troupe performers don’t just walk the wire, they create a human pyramid.
Other acts featured in the around-the-world-themed show include feats of strength from the Mongolian Marvels, Tabayara Maluenda and his tigers, Robert Stipka leading a caravan of two-humped Bactrian camels with Mongolian Cossack Riders, Asian elephants and more, all led by Ringmaster David Shipman.
Also, the performers of the famous Clown Alley have a whole new look for the show. Albin worked with the creative team, wardrobe team and clowning directors to give each clown a unique, and extreme, look all of their own.
“Some of the clowns this year don’t wear wigs; some of the clowns don’t have crazy big shoes,” Albin said. “I mean we’re people, we’re people, too, and I think that’s what’s also very important is that the audience can now relate to us a little bit more. In the digital age that we’re in, it’s important that we stay current and relevant, too.”
Albin encourages families to come early for the chance to visit with the clowns during the All-Access Pre-show, available to all ticketholders. One hour prior to showtime, families can see the animals up close, meet performers, get autographs and try on costumes.
For more information about “Circus Xtreme!” visit www.infiniteenergycenter.comor www.ringling.com.