This 6 episode PBS documentary follows the Big Apple Circus through an entire traveling season (about 10 months). It addresses the inner and behind the scenes workings of the circus, the performers, the business side, life on the road, and how the show is put together.
Paul Binder, artistic director and co-founder of Big Apple Circus, also performs as ring master. A blue blood whose parents wanted him to be a doctor or lawyer, Paul quotes Greek philosophers and leads with gentle strength. This is his final year as artistic director, and we get to watch his transition as he struggles to lay down his lifework.
Luciano Anastasini has eight generations of circus performers behind him. Having sustained an injury early in his career on the trapeze, he now performs a dog act. We get to meet his wife and son, and are invited to discover what it's like to grow up in a travel trailer, constantly on the move.
Marty and Jake LaSalle are a twin juggling act. These brothers have come to a crossroads in their lives and career - one is committed to his craft, and the other wants to go to medical school. Christian Stoinev also has his sights set on college. He comes from generations of circus performers, and grew up on the road. He is now graduating high school from the one room, mobile school provided on site for the circus kids. He is leaving the only life he's ever known, about to embark into mainstream American culture.
TCKs will find lots to relate to in 'Circus'. The circus is its own microcosm, with people from all around the world speaking many different languages, all coming together to create a subculture of their own. These people live in constant transition, and no real sense of 'home' as a physical location. As Sarah Schwartz, tightrope walker says, "We never say goodbye. It's 'See you down the road.'"