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Big Apple Circus impresses with jaw-dropping thrills Filed on July 24, 2010

ABU DHABI — The EspanŻa family has been in the circus business for four generations. When he was only about 10 years old, Martin received his first balancing lesson from his father, which was to run on a narrow street wall in his homeland Mexico.

Now, in his 50s, Martin Espan¯a is performing one of the most dangerous acrobatic acts in New York’s Big Apple Circus. Without any safety devices, he walks (at some point even blindfolded) and jumps on a 10-metre high spinning double-caged wheel.

“Once in Spain, I did fall down and, believe me, you won’t want to know about it. The performance was outdoors and there was a little rain before we started. I thought it was going to be okay, but the surface was slippery,” Espan¯a told Khaleej Times.

His act will be one of the many jaw-dropping or hilarious ones in the 90-minute Big Apple Circus now performing here, as the last big shows in ‘Summer in Abu Dhabi’ festival, organised by the emirate’sTourism Authority.

“The beauty of this show is that it is a classical circus as it was meant to be,” said Guillaume Dufresnoy, artistic director of Big Apple Circus.

The Abu Dhabi show, specially tailored for the audience here, is the circus’ debut in the Middle East, featuring 17 leading performers fromthree continents.

Among them is Jonatan Riquelme, who is attempting his world premier gravity-defying act, balancing on a rolla-bolla that swings from a trapeze.

The Flying Poemas, a quartet of trapeze artists, are ending their daring act with the legendary triple summersault.

Classic or modern, no circus is complete without a clown, and Abu Dhabi will have the company of Gordoon, who has performed with some of the world’s best, such as Cirque du Soleil and Disney World Resorts.

“The clown’s role in a circus keeps audiences distracted and helps relieve tension,” explained Gordoon.

His equally funny and emotional performance includes juggling soap bubbles and a rather hilarious toiletpaper extravaganza act.

Joining Gordoon is the Gentleman Juggler, whose skills, combining trick roping, bullwhip artistry and boleadoras, have got him an entry into theGuinness Book of World Records.

The Big Apple Circus goes on daily, from 8pm, at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre, until August 3.

Tickets are priced at Dh200 for adults and Dh75 for children under 12 years, but the ADTA is offeringa ‘buy one, get one free’ promotion.

Silvia Radan

I'm a senior journalist with 22 years experience in all forms of mass media. Originally from Romania, I lived and work in Bosnia, Uzbekistan, England and, for the past 10 years, in UAE. I specialize in art, culture, traditions, heritage, but also environment and the hospitality industry. I'm passionate about jazz and world music, cinema, mythology and offroading - I'm a marshal with one of UAE's offroading clubs!

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