Circuses have been around since the 18th century and for years were one of the most popular forms of entertainment. However, they’ve changed a lot since then and a circus performance today would look very different to one in 1790. Animal protection laws mean that some acts, such as fighting tigers and riding elephants, are now banned. Acts such as juggling and acrobatics have become the main feature of a circus performance, but have become more modern.
Flic Flac is a travelling circus winding its way around Germany for its 25th anniversary this year and is currently in various cities in North Rhine Westphalia. Flic Flac was founded in 1989 by brothers Benno and Lothar Kastein, along with their wives, who were previously self-employed artists. Since then, the company has grown into one of the most innovative and daring shows in Europe. It combines more traditional circus acts, such as high-flying trapeze and gymnastics with modern ideas, such as flying motorbikes!
The show, Höchststrafe: 25 Jahre Flic Flac, was especially choreographed for the company’s 25th anniversary. The whole show is centred around a theme of being imprisoned and breaking out, hence the name Höchststrafe, which means 'ultimate penalty'. The powerful world of underground crime becomes an exciting performance from both the human body and their mechanical partners. All the acts are fast-paced and have you on the edge of your seat. The music and lighting creates a really exciting atmosphere, especially at the more frightening moments when a performer is hovering at the top of the tent with no ropes attached!
The motorbikes are a huge spectacle at the end of the show. There are about 20 motorbikes in one giant metal ball, driving so fast they look like they are flying! Afterwards, more motorbikes jump over the audience and travel the full length of the tent. Some even do flips on the way! At the end, the drivers take off their helmets and wave to the audience to get a huge cheer.
Circuses have changed to suit modern tastes, but keep more traditional acts as well. Flic Flac tells a story and captures the imagination. It’s definitely worth seeing a modern circus, if you get the chance!
Have you ever been to the circus? Tell us about it.