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A circus is most commonly a traveling company of performers that may include acrobats, clowns, trained animals, trapeze acts, hoopers, tightrope walkers, jugglers, unicyclists and other stunt-oriented artists. The word also describes the performance that they give, which is usually a series of acts that are choreographed to music. A circus is held in an oval or circular arena with tiered seating around its edge; in the case of traveling circuses this location is most often a large tent called the big top
Common acts include a variety of acrobatics, gymnastics (including tumbling and trampoline), aerial acts (such as trapeze, aerial silk, corde lisse), contortion, stilts and a variety of other routines. Juggling is one of the most common acts in a circus; the combination of juggling and gymnastics is called equilibristics and include acts like plate spinning or the rolling globe.
Clowns are common to most circuses and are typically skilled in many circus acts; "clowns getting into the act" is a very familiar theme in any circus. Daredevil stunt acts and sideshow acts are also parts of some circus acts, these activities may include human cannonball, chapeaugraphy, fire eating, breathing and dancing, knife throwing, magic shows, sword swallowing or strongman.
Last Updated Sepember 2010