By Patricia Hall, FairfaxFamilyFun.com
The circus is in town! Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Circus XTREME is a new production that is now at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax through April 17. What can you expect at this circus? Not the same ol’, same ol’, that’s for sure! With a name that implies “extreme” acts, this production lives up to its name, with performers showcasing their strengths and skills with moves that seem impossible. Some are graceful and artful, others energetic and nerve-wracking, but all show the challenging and inspiring work of the men and women of the circus.
We visited this show last night and thoroughly enjoyed it. The circus has much of what you’d expect — a ringmaster, the clowns, and acrobats — but this one also features some daredevil acts and classics that you don’t always see in a circus anymore, including a cannon. When I saw the cannon rolled out, I wondered “Are they really going to do a human cannonball?” Yup, they sure did! It was very quick, but thrilling to watch.
Other features include feats by strongmen, contortionists, and high-wire trapeze artists (who do a four-person tower at one point), plus a bungee aerial skydiving display (with extra-nice visuals from the glow-in-the-dark outfits), BMX bike trick riders, trampoline daredevils, and more. Even the clowns get in on the act with nome new tricky moves: when was the last time you saw anyone tap dancing using skis instead of tap shoes?
Audiences also will get to see more than a dozen beautiful Bengal tigers, double-humped dromedaries, and, for the last time, the most popular members of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey family: the Asian elephants. Ringling Bros. is retiring the elephants, all of which will move to its conservation and research center in Florida after this tour. And not all the animal stars are exotic creatures: toward the end of the show is a fun number featuring poodles in their own routine.
Get there early to enjoy the All Access Pre-show. This event starts an hour before each performance and is free with your ticket purchase. Guests can meet performers and watch some of their routines, get close to some of the animals and even watch an elephant paint (you can enter to win the painting), take photos with the cast, try on costumes, learn circus skills, and enjoy more activities. All activities are included for free, except for the bounce house and obstacle course, which is $5 or $6 (depending on how many times you want to go) due to capacity.
Parking at EagleBank Arena is free and there are several concession stands. There are many commemorative items for sale as well as toys throughout the venue. Some are a bit pricey but you can still find some deals if you look around. We got a couple of toys for under $15 each, and when a vendor came around selling a light-up toy and my son balked at the $24 price tag, he then showed us a smaller (but equally nice) light-up spinning toy for $10.
Circus XTREME continues at EagleBank Arena in Fairfax, Virginia (on the George Mason University campus) through April 17, 2016. See our original post for show details and performance dates and times.
Disclosure: I am a Feld Family Ambassador and in exchange for my time and efforts to promote this show I receive complimentary tickets and special invitations. The opinions expressed in this post are my own.