SARATOGA SPRINGS -- Circus Smirkus, the international youth circus featuring circus talent from around the world, returns to Saratoga Springs this summer, July 13 and 14, at the Saratoga Race Course on Union Avenue.

Shows will be at 1 p.m. 7 p.m. Tickets are $19.25 for adults (13+) and $16.25 for children (2 to 12) and are available locally at Crafter's Gallery and The Strike Zone in Saratoga Springs, online at www.smirkus.org, or by calling 1-877-SMIRKUS.

Circus Smirkus is the only American youth circus to put on a full-season tour under its own big top - a 24-meter, 750-seat, one-ring tent in the European style. The show includes aerials, acrobatics, highwire, juggling, trapeze and clowning.

This year's tour continues the tradition of theme-based shows with a nod to our Fourth Estate in a show titled Front Page Follies. During their summer tour, two dozen teen stars perform with the circus. Troupers are selected from hundreds of applicants through an audition process that begins in November. The show is created over the winter months.

During the course of the seven-week summer tour, troupers learn the ropes of traditional circus life - grueling hours of practice, full two-hour shows twice a day, months away from home and the demanding labor of loading the show in and out. Smirkus troupers often go on to successful careers in the circus arts with Ringling Bros., Big Apple, Cirque du Soleil, and circuses across Europe and Asia.

The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs first brought Circus Smirkus to Saratoga Springs in 2007 as a fund-raising and community outreach event.

Again this year, the Waldorf School's Magic Matinee program will bring children to the shows through several social service agencies. Thanks to grants by The Saratoga Springs Rotary Club, Stewarts Foundation and The Golub Foundation, as well as donations by area businesses and individuals, children will attend through Big Brothers/Big Sisters, Girls Inc, Saratoga Mentoring, Make-a-Wish Foundation and other community agencies. For information on donating to or benefiting from the Magic Matinee, contact Gina Michelin at the Waldorf School at 587-1381.

The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs will celebrate its 30th anniversary in the 2011-2012 school year.


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