Bobby and I have been watching an amazing documentary we found courtesy of PBS by way of Netflix: Circus. It sounded kind of like a silly premise for a documentary, just following a group of circus performers around as they perform, but once you watch this, you will be hooked into these remarkable people’s lives. Not only is the show so full of rich human stories, it also delves into many lost performance styles like trapeze, juggling, wire walking, clowning, and even dog training. Many of the performers shown have been born into families of international circus performers, who haven’t lived a life outside of the ring for generations.
The six part documentary follows New York’s Big Apple Circus during their 2008 season. You get a glimpse into the mechanics of how a circus works from the setup of the one ring Big Apple is known for to the planning of acts and, sometimes, cutting of acts. The production value of the series is really, really high and is everything that a reality television producer hopes for but never accomplishes: capturing truly special people doing truly special things and documenting them as they are–not as how you think they are. The documentary is doesn’t hold anything back and is quite beautiful.
The video above is the trailer for the series and is, admittedly, a little cheesy because of the music. However, it does give you a look into the series and how Big Apple’s circus conducts itself. You can catch the documentary on Netflix Instant Watch, which demands you clear six nights in a row so you can watch the documentary all the way through.