SARASOTA, FL – For 72 years, students involved with the Circus Arts Conservatory’s Sailor Circus program have amazed audiences with a thrilling spectacle of youth circus arts. In “A Night at the Movies,” audiences can expect to see incredible youth circus artists flip, fly and soar to new heights while enjoying the music and vibe of popular films from throughout the decades and a variety of genres.
Circus fans of all ages will enjoy acts including the Flying Trapeze, Cloudswing, Acrobatic Roller Skating, Aerial Lyra, Rolla Bolla Adagio, Roman Rings – CAC founder and vice president Dolly Jacobs’ signature act, High Wire, Aerial Silks, and more. Audiences will also get to see acts that have been reintroduced, such as the Trampoline Wall and Dance Trapeze.
“The show features a nice mixture of all of the traditional circus disciplines mixed with innovative and high-energy acts,” said CAC head coach Miguel Vargas. “While our primary focus on the coaching side is on skills, the fun happens when you combine the training with the theme and the narrative of the acts. The collaboration between students, coaches and the creative team – that’s what makes the show special, having all of those elements coming together.”
While the pandemic has impacted available audience capacity, it has also served as the catalyst for the CAC to add an affordable digital option, which will mean community members and circus fans from around town and the world will be able to enjoy “A Night at the Movies” from the best seats in the house – whether their house or in the Sailor Circus Arena.
Jared Walker, creative director for the Sailor Circus who is now entering his fourth year with the CAC, has conceived a show that has been crafted to provide maximum impact for live and video streaming patrons. Rather than relying on ringmasters to announce upcoming acts, the performance will run more like a movie, with film titles announced on the large screen and three clowns helping to convey the story that runs through the show.
Walker noted that the pandemic definitely affected how the show was put together. “It has definitely forced me to think about things differently: how acts work together, how to incorporate masks into the costumes and how to compact everything into a 90-minute show with no intermission while keeping everyone as safe as possible,” he said. “Despite all of the challenges of the past year, I think it’s going to be an exciting and energetic show, with a cinematic feel.”
In addition to memorable movie music, audiences will enjoy visual elements from the chosen films, which run the gamut from older classics, movie musicals, animated, science fiction, action/adventure, and superhero films.
The Sailor Circus Academy is the longest-running youth circus arts training program in the country, training students in Sarasota and Manatee Counties. Founded in 1949, it is known as “The Greatest ‘Little’ Show on Earth.” The program teaches students more than 30 disciplines of circus arts as well as helps them to learn life management skills, gain self-discipline, bolster confidence, and make a commitment to achievement.
Vargas is particularly proud of the graduating class of five students, some of whom have invested six or seven years in the Sailor Circus.
“I would encourage them to continue to live by following their passion and inspirations – hopefully, that will motivate them to continue to do amazing things,” Vargas said. “These students have learned a lot of life skills throughout their careers with Sailor Circus and we’ve seen them apply those skills to their everyday lives. They will definitely be set up for success in any journey they should choose.”
The CAC continues to adhere to stringent COVID mitigation protocols, with masks required, temperature checks, reduced seating, enhanced cleaning and disinfecting of the facilities (including fogging after each performance), pre-packaged concession stand items, ongoing COVID-19 testing for staff and artists, and more. If necessary, due to COVID-19 concerns or public health mandates, in-person performance dates and times are subject to change.
“A Night at the Movies” runs from Thursday, April 29 through Sunday, May 2 in the Sailor Circus Arena (2075 Bahia Vista, Sarasota). Showtimes are 7 p.m. on Thursday and Friday, 2 and 7 p.m. on Saturday, and 1 and 6 p.m. on Sunday. Live tickets are $20-$30, and digital tickets – which will be available starting May 14 – are $25; go to circusarts.org or call the Box Office at 941-355-9805.
About The Circus Arts Conservatory
The Circus Arts Conservatory, located in Sarasota, Fla., is home to world-class performances, excellence in training the circus arts, and community-based outreach programs. The organization was born from decades of circus history and today serves as a legacy to those that have set the standards for international circus artistry and education. The Circus Arts Conservatory is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. Go to CircusArts.org for more information.