SARASOTA, FL – For 74 years, students involved with the Circus Arts Conservatory’s Sailor Circus Academy have wowed audiences with feats of physical strength, grace and courage that might initially seem well beyond the abilities of performers so young. In “Around the World in 80 Days,” attendees of all ages, from near and far, will be enthralled as young athletes, ages 8-18, flip, fly and soar to new heights in a show that tells the story of a smart, determined woman on a wild globe-trotting ride, seasoned by music and costumes reflecting the flavors of international locales. Show runs April 20-23, 2023.
Nearly 50 students will be featured in acts including: acrobatics, clowning, straps, web, slack rope, trampoline, juggling, aerial net, multiple trapeze, trampoline wall, aerial pole, hammock, contortion, lyra, silks, skating and – the traditional closing act – the flying trapeze.
Jared Walker, creative director for the Sailor Circus, is in his fifth year with the CAC. He explained that the show is based primarily on the book by Jules Verne – with a decidedly “woman power” twist – with inspiration drawn from the 2004 Disney remake starring Jackie Chan.
“When I first came to the Circus Arts Conservatory, this was always the show I wanted to do: there is a great storyline, we can draw costume ideas and music from various cultures and, of course, the LED screen and extraordinary lighting available in the Sailor Circus Arena will help to bring the experience to another level,” said Walker. “But it is the extraordinary talents of our students that take center stage in any Sailor Circus Academy show. While this is incredible family-friendly entertainment, we know that patrons of all ages have a wonderful time at our Sailor Circus performances.”
The show, set in the late 1800s, follows lead character Ophelia Fogg and her sidekick, Miss Espatu, as they embark on a trip around the world – on a bet. Ophelia is a wealthy single women who wishes to invest in the development of a flying machine but the Minister of Science is less than enthused. He challenges Ophelia to make her way around the world in 80 days (or less) and, if she does, she will have earned her way onto the project. Ophelia, Miss Espatu, and the treacherous Mr. Fix – who has been sent by the Minister of Science to foil their plans – have adventures in locations including France, Germany, Italy, Bombay, Calcutta, China, Japan, Hawaii, New York City and, finally, back to London. But will they make it in time?
Founded in 1949, the Sailor Circus Academy is the longest-running youth circus arts training program in the country, training students in Sarasota and Manatee counties. The program teaches students more than 30 disciplines of circus arts as well as helps participants to learn life management skills, gain self-discipline, bolster confidence, and make a commitment to achievement.
“For 74 years, our Sailor Circus Academy students have continued the proud tradition of training hard, developing their skills, and pushing the envelope in the circus arts,” said CAC co-founder Pedro Reis. “When first-time audience members enter the arena, they may expect something more akin to a school recital or a more casual afterschool program. What they see is much more polished and far more challenging and exciting, the culmination of 20-30 hours per week of rigorous training – with world-renowned circus artists – at least eight months per year.”
“Around the World in 80 Days” runs from Thursday, April 20-Sunday, April 23 in the Sailor Circus Arena (2075 Bahia Vista, Sarasota). Showtimes are 7 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, 2 p.m. Saturday matinee, and 1 and 5 p.m. on Sunday. Tickets are $20-$40 and can be purchased via circusarts.org, by calling the Box Office at 941-355-9805, or secured in person at the Box Office on Bahia Vista Street, adjacent to the Sailor Circus Arena. Box Office hours are 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday through Friday.
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. Visit circusarts.org for more information.