Many Americans think a circus must have elephants, lions, dancing bears and acrobats. But circuses are changing.
In May, after traveling the country for almost 150 years, the large Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus will close.
But different kinds of circuses are still successful. They include Cirque du Soleil. It combines music, acrobatics and story-telling.
Adam Woolley operates Circus Now, a non-profit group that supports efforts by circus performers to combine traditional circus skills like acrobatics, juggling and the trapeze with storytelling.
Woolley says circuses have been changing for many years by increasingly telling stories.
"Circus artists have been producing new and incredible circus acts and apparatuses and shows that have an artistic context and theatrical storylines, or well-drawn characters. And this has been happening around the world for the past 10, 15 years or so."
One of those circuses is the Race Horse Company from Finland. It was part of the Circus Now festival in New York this month.
Acrobat Rauli Kosonen started the circus with a few other performers nine years ago.
"I think it's really pure art form, in the sense that you can really feel the risks -- there's a lot of risks, so you can get a lot of adrenaline while you watch it if there is kind of tricks that make your heart bounce. Because it's real. They can see that if they make a mistake, they might get hurt. So, I guess that's always been why circus is appealing. It reminds us that, uh, we're humans."
Kosonen has been injured many times during his performances.
"Well, I had three operations and its part of the job; sometimes you don't get lucky."
Kendall Rileigh is one of the founders of New York's Only Child Aerial Theatre. He says, with his group, telling a story, or a narrative, is even more important than the skills of performing in a circus. He says the skills the performers learn are designed to drive and support the story.
In a former factory in Brooklyn, Rileigh's performers are preparing for the latest show -- called "Asylum."
Co-founder Nicki Miller says there is a story, but none of the performers speaks. The story is told through acrobatics, dance, music and projected images and shadow.
"We would describe it as a theater piece that includes a lot of aerial work, dance, some recorded music, some live music and overhead projection and shadow. So, the story is told, rather than through dialogue, through the conversation of all of those theatrical vocabularies, instead."
Adam Woolley says the Only Child and Race Horse performers simply want to entertain people.
"With lots of practice and hard work, we can accomplish the impossible. That's the core idea that everyone in circus believes in and that everyone in circus tries to impart to the audiences, is that ‘I have dedicated my life to this seven minutes of performance and honed my skill to the place where I'm going to accomplish something in front of you now that you did not think could be done.'"
I'm John Smith.
My real ambition was to work in a circus.
The acrobat balanced himself on the high rope.
Soon she was juggling five eggs.
Then swiftly, neatly, with the grace of the young man on the flying trapeze, he was gone from his body.
But for some people merely imagining this scene creates an adrenaline surge.
Leading companies spend time and money on honing the skills of senior managers.
That's the core idea that everyone in circus believes in and that everyone in circus tries to impart to the audiences, is that ‘I have dedicated my life to this seven minutes of performance and honed my skill to the place
impart sth to sb 将……传递给……
Your boss is just the way that constraint is imparted to you.
It showed the familiar scene of the street, with the distinctness of mid-day, but also with the awfulness that is always imparted to familiar objects by an unaccustomed light.
dedicate... to... 将……奉献给……
His mother had been told by an angel that she would bear a son whose life would be dedicated to God and whose hair must never be cut.
The scientist dedicated his whole to science.
5月份，在全国各地表演了150年的大型马戏团——玲玲马戏团(Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus)将关业 。
不过还有不同种类的马戏团依然很成功 。其中包括来自加拿大的太阳马戏团(Cirque du Soleil) 。其表演形式囊括音乐、杂技以及讲故事 。
亚当 伍利经营着一家名为Circus Now的非盈利组织，其表演者注重对杂技、杂耍、荡秋千等传统马戏团技能与叙事的结合 。
“马戏团的艺术家们一直都在结合不同的道具装置产出新颖惊人的动作，他们的演出总是有艺术意境、戏剧性的故事线亦或特征分明的角色 。而这一点在过去的10年甚至15年左右的历程中，得到了全球各地马戏团的印证 。”
其中一家这样的马戏团就是来自芬兰的赛马公司 。该公司也参加了本月在纽约举行的Circus Now节日 。
“我觉得杂技表演是一种真正纯粹的艺术形式，从某种角度上来说，你可以真切地感受到危险——是有很多危险的，所以在观看那种让你心跳加速的表演时，你也会分泌很多肾上腺素 。因为这一切都是真实的 。观众可以看到，如果表演者犯错，就会真的受伤 。所以我想这一点一直是马戏吸引人的地方 。它也提醒着我们一点，人无完人 。”
肯德尔是纽约Only Child Aerial Theatre的创办者之一 。肯德尔说，对于他的马戏团团队来说，讲故事、叙真情是比表演技巧更加重要的事情 。肯德尔还说，表演者的技巧就是为了推动并支持故事的发展 。
同是创办者的尼基说，虽然是在讲述故事，但没有一个表演者是用言语来讲述的 。故事是通过杂技、舞蹈、音乐、投影图像和光影来讲述的 。
“我觉着更应该将马戏表演描述为包含很多空中杂技、舞蹈、录制音乐、现场音乐、空中投影和光影的剧院活动 。所以故事的讲述并不是通过对话，而是通过剧院特有的语言来讲述的 。”
亚当说，Only Child and Race Horse的表演者只是想给大家带来欢乐 。
“通过大量的练习和努力，我们实现了本不可能完成的事情 。这一点也是每一个马戏团成员深信不疑的核心理念，是每位成员竭尽全力想要传递给观众的信条——‘我已经将毕生精力投注在这几分钟的表演中，我不断打磨自己的技能，我也将把我的这些你们看来不可能完成的技能展现在你们面前 。’”
John Smith为您播报 。