Last week was Auntie Hufana's 96th birthday and she wanted to go to the Circus. So when the son of the world renowned Ringling Brothers ring master Count Nicholas, Tuffy Nicholas cried out the welcome his father made famous, "Ladies and Gentlemen, Children of all ages," it was appropriate indeed for Auntie's birthday. "She had a ball," her niece told the Dispatch, "She uuhhed and aahhed and said that's pretty high up there," as did so many who turned out for the two show only performance of the International All-Star Circus at the Soldotna Sports Center.
Tuffy Nicholas literally was born into and grew up in the Circus, his mother being a bear trainer who performed in the center ring, "Mom & Dad got married in the center ring and then I came along and it was natural for me to become a circus performer for many years and now am a circus producer," Nicholas told the Dispatch in a telephone interview. Since the year 2000, as President & CEO of Global Entertainment Productions, Tuffy has been producer and show manager of various show entities. He was producer and show manager of the Moscow State Circus and the Moscow International Circus, which played in venues across the country with over 5000 shows to date.
The International All-Star Circus featured 18 acts without lions or tigers or elephants. It's what is called "Modern Circus" and is all about people performing for people, from skip rope and contortion to magic and the motorcycle high wire. "This is modern circus at its best," said Tuffy "We want Alaskans to experience the beauty, grace and strength of some of the best performers in the world."
Dating back to 1768 in London, the modern circus became one of the main forms of entertainment through much of the world in the 19th century. Even as recent as the early 1990s, circuses like this one were hugely popular in countries of the former Soviet Union. Performers seen in Soldotna were from Kazakhstan, Moldova, Russia and Germany, including members of the famous Flying Wallenda family, and the youngest performing aerialist 10-year-old Bri Phelps, who showed tremendous strength and courage in bringing herself down from a high rope after becoming fatigued and tangled in her spinning rope.
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