Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Truly ‘Built To Amaze’ - Baltimore Post-ExaminerBaltimore Post-Examiner

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus: Truly ‘Built To Amaze’

Men on bicycles give a woman a ride in one of the better acts during Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built To Amaze” at the Baltimore Arena on March 29. (Jon Gallo)

It probably was a performance unlike any in the history of the Baltimore Arena, which is saying something since the venue has showcased The Beatles, Grateful Dead and Elvis.

Now, add six elephants shaking their trunks to Psy’s “Gangnam Style” during the 143rd edition of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Greatest Show On Earth” to the star-studded list of performances that have wowed crowds at the iconic arena.

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The elephants’ performance was a big hit at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built To Amaze” at the Baltimore Arena. (Jon Gallo)

Whether it was balancing on two feet or raising their trunks in unison, the elephants provided a exclamation point to Ringling Bros.’ “Built To Amaze,” which mixed traditional acts with newer ones during a two-and-a-half hour show.

“The elephants definitely were the best part of the circus,” said Yeoryia Swanson, a sixth grader who lives in Catonsville. “I didn’t know they could move like that.”

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey has become part of Americana because it delivers a circus’ staples – anytime, anywhere.

This time was no different: Fifteen tigers move with the precision of chess pieces upon their trainer’s command; a high-wire act does a whole lot more than just walk across a cable; a poodle dances to 50 Cent; and of course, a cannon shoots a woman across the arena.

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My daughter, Zoe Gallo, left, and Yeoryia Swanson enjoyed wearing the free clown noses provided by Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. (Jon Gallo)

There’s just so much to like during the fast-moving performance, which is in Baltimore  through April 6. The aerial shows where a misstep could put the performer in the hospital captivated the audience’s attention, while the dogs’ act brought smiles to a crowd where children easily outnumbered adults.

Circus officials need to be aware of their audience, though, as the show’s music, while good, is too loud. It caused kids in our section to watch the show with their jackets over their ears.

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey provides children with the circus experience. Anyone with a ticket can walk onto the floor an hour before the show and get their picture taken with a clown or the man on stilts. Clowns also include children in short performances, while others kids choose to get a close look at an elephant.

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Yeoryia Swanson, a sixth-grade student who lives in Catonsville, got her picture with a circus worker and the man on stilts at the circus at the Baltimore Arena on March 29. (Jon Gallo)

Once the show starts, the action doesn’t stop, as cheerleaders, dancers and basketball-playing unicyclists provide transition between acts, though the intermission is a welcome period of peace and quiet. I don’t know when pom-poms became part of the circus, but they provide little more than eye candy. Can they be traded for a better trapeze act?

You go to the circus to see animals do things they don’t do in the zoo, and to watch people do amazing things with their bodies, which is exactly what you get at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built to Amaze.”

Tickets

  • Since tickets start at $18 and Baltimore Arena will never be described as cavernous, an upper-deck seat isn’t bad.
  • Ticket Prices: $18, $23, $28, $48, $58, $83, but supply and demand can affect prices.
  • Performances: March 30 (1 p.m., 5 p.m.); April 1 (7:30 p.m.); April 2 (7:30 p.m.); April 3 (7:30 p.m.); April 4 (10:30 a.m., 7:30 p.m.); April 5 (11:30 a.m., 3:30 p.m., 7:30 p.m.); April 6 (1 p.m., 5 p.m.).
  • Click here to purchase tickets at Baltimore Arena.
Since tickets start at $18 and the Baltimore Arena will never be described as cavernous, an upper-deck seat isn’t bad for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built To Amaze,” which runs through April 6 at the Baltimore Arena. (Jon Gallo)

Since tickets start at $18 and the Baltimore Arena will never be described as cavernous, an upper-deck seat isn’t bad for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey’s “Built To Amaze,” which runs through April 6 at the Baltimore Arena. (Jon Gallo)

 





About the author

Jon Gallo

Jon Gallo is an award-winning journalist and editor with 19 years of experience, including stints as a staff writer at The Washington Post and sports editor at The Baltimore Examiner. He also believes the government should declare federal holidays in honor of the following: the Round of 64 of the NCAA men's basketball tournament; the Friday of the Sweet 16; the Monday after the Super Bowl; and of course, the day after the release of the latest Madden NFL video game. Contact the author.
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3 Comments

  1. Baltimore Post-Examiner Staff
    BaltimorePostExaminer says:

    From Huffington Post in 2012: A decade-long legal battle is finally coming to a close after the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals (ASPCA) agreed to pay the owners of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus $9.3 million for alleging the circus abused their elephants.

    “Animal activists have been attacking our family, our company, and our employees for decades because they oppose animals in circuses,” Kenneth Feld, chairman and chief executive officer of Feld Entertainment, said in a statement obtained by Bloomberg. “This settlement is a vindication not just for the company but also for the dedicated men and women who spend their lives working and caring for all the animals with Ringling Bros.”

    Reply
    • pcuvie says:

      I’m assuming your reason, BaltimorePostExaminer, for posting the settlement agreement between Ringling and the ASPCA is to convince readers that Ringling does not abuse elephants. Unfortunately the lawsuit you referenced never reached the merits of the case, i.e., whether or not Ringling abuses the elephants in violation of the Animal Welfare Act (AWA). The court ruled the main plaintiff did not have standing to sue, which precluded the court from reaching the merits. However, during the trial Ringling employees and owner Ken Feld testified that Ringling beats elephants and forcibly separates baby elephants from their mothers to break their spirits to get them to perform unnatural circus tricks. The above video is based on Ringling’s employees and owner Ken Feld’s testimony during that trial and a former elephant trainer who released the photos of Ringling’ baby elephant training. In fact the trial was vindication that Ringling beats elephants. And soon after the close of the trial PETA released undercover video of Ringling elephant handlers beating the elephants. The fact that ASPCA settled with Ringling over a racketeering claim does not mean Ringling does not beat elephants. Show the kids the video and tell them ASPCA settled out of court with Ringling for 9.3 million dollars based on a racketeering claim that the other defendants are fighting and see if the kids still want to attend the circus. If a picture is worth a thousand words the undercover video is worth a million words. If you rely on Ringling as your source of truth you will be living in a make-believe world. Just as the old song “Paper Moon” proclaims, “it’s a Barnum & Bailey world, just as phony as it can be.”

      Reply
  2. pcuvie says:

    Now educate the kids about how Ringling forcibly separates baby elephants from their mothers and beats them to get them to perform unnatural acts and see if the kids still think it was fun. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eDMyEHY6ELs. If we want kids to be honest to adults then adults need to be honest with kids.

    Reply

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