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A history of the circus from its origins in the Roman times, through its establishment in Western Europe, and to the modern day circus-absolutely diverse and captivating
Circuses have existed since Roman times, but centuries later, the circus world has never been more diverse and captivating, the global success of Cirque du Soleil testament to its enduring and universal appeal. Traditional family circuses for kids, arty cirque-style shows for adults, circuses in tents or in theaters, circuses with animals or without, cabaret-style hybrids on the burlesque circuit-this is an expert guide to their extraordinary history and culture. The circus requires a unique type of performer, people who blend the discipline of sports stars with the razzmatazz of showbiz; itinerant but clannish entertainers who have often had circus blood in their families for generations; world class gymnasts who risk death twice daily and help take down the big top afterwards. This history offers a journey into this unique world, each chapter an access-all-areas pass to a different circus, talking to the trapeze flyers, clowns, animal trainers, and showmen about their lives, work, families, customs, and traditions.

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