Family & Pets

Best Circus Experiences In Charlotte

April 12, 2013 9:00 AM

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Circus entertainment grew out of trick-riding equestrian shows in England during the second half of the eighteenth century. Horses were the real stars of these shows! Then came acrobatic clowns on horseback, performing daring flips, balancing tricks and pantomime. America’s love with the old-time circus began in the 1820s. The traveling tent circus, an American innovation, was created by a New York entrepreneur. A menagerie of animals, enthralling all ages, accompanied the big-top shows. Performing arts dating back to ancient Egypt and China, such as juggling, were added to the evolution of this American institution. Two rings were expanded to ten, electrifying aerial shows and rope walkers made it the nation’s top drawing entertainment!
circusarts Best Circus Experiences In Charlotte

Best Circus Experiences In Charlotte (Credit, Catherine Lash)

The circus was recreated in 1984 with the Cirque du Soleil concept of entertainment. A street vibe combined with the circus arts have made it a booming business, entertaining over a 100-million spectators worldwide. The urban feel of these high-energy shows includes trapeze, clowning, miming, dancing, juggling, aerial choreography, acrobatics and more. Create a backyard circus with neighborhood kids, get some intense training in circus arts or be entertained and dazzled by the latest show. Here are a few Charlotte sources to get you started:

Knight Theater
Levine Center for the Arts
430 South Tryon St.
Charlotte, NC 28202
(704) 372-1000

Date: May 7 to 19
Price: $61 to $182

Traces is a Montreal performing production company. The 90-minute show will be presented by the Blumenthal Performing Arts at Knight Theatre. This new brand of circus features a thrilling show of acrobatics, music, dance, skateboarding and basketball, with  a musical backdrop of tunes by Radiohead, VAS, Blackalicious and more. A cyr wheel is used by one performer. Acrobatic choreography takes place in a big, metal wheel. He performs handstands and amazing balancing tricks while the wheel is spinning. Another portion of the show features a revved up, modern pas de deux with rousing mid-air throws, catches and balances.

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Best Circus Experiences In Charlotte (Credit, Catherine Lash)

Cara Zara Hula Hoop Entertainer
(704) 540-1456

Price: $275 for a birthday party with six kids

Cara Zara has entertained kids for years with her hula hoop. She performs hoop tricks, balancing acts and dancing at libraries, schools, corporate events and summer camps. Spin, rolling and hip shaking the hula hoop, she gives kids an outlet to build their self-confidence, have fun and create! She is author of Hula-Hoop Kid Fit, an after-school enrichment program. She conducts circus-themed summer camps and has got some planned for Charlotte Country Day, Providence Day, Socrates Academy and Carmel Christian. Check out her website for more information. The hula hoop provides a great workout. Per minute, it burns as many calories as step aerobics or very brisk walking!

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Best Circus Experiences In Charlotte (Credit, Catherine Lash)

Morris Costumes

4300 Monroe Road
Charlotte, NC 28205
(704) 333-4653

Plan a neighborhood circus show or a birthday party with the help of Morris Costumes. Clowns, acrobats, ring master and more — costumes available for rent or purchase at the store. Costume purchases run $30 to $70. Rentals are $25 to $45. Learn the circus art of juggling with balls, clubs, knives, scarves or rings. There are wigs, hats, makeup and many accessories to outfit a performing troupe.

Related: 50 Free Things To Do In And Around Charlotte

International Sports Center
11011 Monroe Road
Matthews, NC 28105
(704) 841-8407

A well-trained performer makes it look easy and fun! It takes hours of practicing motions, stunting, jumps and tumbling. International Sports Center is the place to get a start on these skills. The center offers gymnastics, tumbling, fitness and cheerleading. It is the largest gymnastic facility in the Charlotte area, offering over 25,000 square feet of instruction room. Classes and clinics are provided throughout the year. Full and half-day camps are being planned for the summer. Half-day camps start at $149. Full and extended day camps start at $199. Check the website for summer camp dates.

Vegetable Circus
Charlotte-Mecklenburg area
(828) 545-6164

Here’s a circus with a wellness twist. The Vegetable Circus is a national program teaching kids healthy living. Its state-wide popularity is bringing it to Charlotte this summer! While the kids are introduced to circus arts, such as juggling, hula hoop, clowning and acting, they’re learning the nutritional benefits of lettuce, beans and carrots. They’re learning performance skills, rhythm, communications and focus. For instance, the poi is a type of weighted flag with LED lighting. There are several types to accommodate a variety of ages. There are numerous tricks and juggling activities that can be performed. It takes focus, concentration and patience to work on these skills. This program is becoming a hit nationwide for after-school programs, assemblies, churches and summer camps. Organizers expect the curriculum to be in some Charlotte schools for the fall. Check the website for summer activities.

Related: Best Chocolate Cake In Charlotte

Catherine Lash engagingly connects with people. She has learned that interested listening and thoughtful questioning are the means through which collaboration creates a story. She grew up traveling the world and learning military life in an Air Force family of seven. She currently lives in Charlotte, North Carolina with her husband and three kids. Her work can be found at

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