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Circus Smirkus Returns!

Circus Smirkus, the acclaimed international youth circus, returns to the outdoor polo field at Saratoga Casino and Raceway for four performances this summer. On July 5th and 6th families can gather under the “Big Top Tent” as the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs proudly presents the Circus Smirkus 2015 ‘Big Top Tour’. 

Circus Smirkus will perform July 5th and 6th with a 1PM and 7PM show scheduled for each day. Tickets are $25 for adults 13 and older and $22 for children 2-12.  Children younger than two are free on an adult’s lap.  All proceeds raised will go directly to the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs.  Tickets are available locally at the Children’s Museum at Saratoga and Crafters Gallery or by calling 1-877-SMIRKUS toll-free or visiting
Thirty stars from all over the country, ages 11 to 18, bring youthful exuberance and polished skills to this year’s appetizing theme, “Bon Appetit!” The show is full of talent and spectacle, with aerials, acrobatics, high wire, juggling, trapeze, clowning and an array of brilliant costumes.  In celebration of this year’s theme, the 2015 ‘Big Top Tour’ opens on Sunday, July 5th with a Circus Inspired Food Contest at 11:30am, just prior to the 1pm show.  Four area restaurants will present a food item in front of local judges and compete for the title of “Best Circus Inspired Food Item”.  A $100 prize will be awarded.  Participating Restaurants include Circus Café, Harvey’s Restaurant/Bar, Parkside Eatery, and Peabody’s.  Judges include The Saratoga Food Fanatic, Ashley Dingeman and Mamatoga, Jenny Witte. 

As an additional feature on Monday before the 1pm show, there will be a circus model train display presented by Don Erlenbusch of Ballston Spa.  Of his lifelong passion for model circus trains, Erlenbusch commented, “It’s a hobby built on going to circuses and carnivals as a kid with my father.”  Erlenbusch’s collection, which continues to grow every year, will be on display outside the “Big Top Tent” as patrons arrive for the matinee show on July 6.



Joining Circus Smirkus for his final summer on the tour is Saratoga Springs’ own Keenan Wright-Sanson, who is a senior at the Waldorf High School of Saratoga Springs.  Keenan specializes in the slack line, balance acts, and will also show off his clowning abilities.  He is the younger brother of Taylor Wright-Sanson, a Waldorf School alumnus who also toured with Smirkus from 2006 to 2010.  “We are proud of Keenan as a student and performer and look forward to seeing him take part in this year’s presentation of Bon Appetit,” said Matt Kopans, Director of Community Relations and Development at the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs.

Of the experience, Cynthia Wright-Sanson commented, “I would say that it has been an extraordinary journey for our entire family. Circus Smirkus in particular has had a powerful impact on all of our lives. At the top of the list is the life changing experience for both of our boys. They grew into young men surrounded by people who understand dreams and challenge and laughter and movement as an art form.  We have spent the last ten years working with wonderful people to make Smirkus in Saratoga a reality and we celebrate the joy and positivity of the community gathered for fun and unified in laughter.”


Circus Smirkus is a non-profit, award winning international youth circus founded with the mission of promoting the skills, culture and traditions of the traveling circus and inspiring youth to engage in life-changing adventures in the circus arts.  Circus Smirkus is the only American youth circus to put on a full-season tour under its own ‘big top tent’ – a 24-meter, 750-seat, one-ring tent in the European style. 

The show is created over the winter months.  Then, in three intense weeks in early June, the troupers arrive and the show is rehearsed at the Smirkus headquarters in Greensboro, Vermont, before going on the road for a total of 66 performances in 2015 between late June and mid-August.  During the course of the seven-week summer tour, troupers learn the ropes of traditional circus life including 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.  Smirkus graduates have performed with Ringling Bros., Big Apple, Cirque du Soleil, and circuses across Europe and Asia.

Over the years, Smirkus has received accolades from critics all over the world.  Circus trade magazine, Spectacle, described Smirkus as a “level of skill that often matches any professional company (and) puts it in a class by itself.”  The New York Times praised Smirkus performances:  “One remembers the applause, echoing off the tent walls.  It was loud, happy, foot-stomping applause.”


A ticket donation program hosted by the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs will make it possible for local children to attend for free.  Thanks to the generosity of area businesses and individuals, children who wouldn’t otherwise be able to see the circus will attend through grants from Stewarts, The Rotary Club of Saratoga Springs, and the Board of Directors of the Waldorf School as well as many local individuals.


The Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs draws upon the successes of Waldorf schools world-wide to provide a strong focus on math, science, literature, languages and the arts through hands-on, experiential learning.  Founded in 1981, the Waldorf School of Saratoga Springs educates children from pre-school through the 12th grade.  The school offers a progressive, hands-on curriculum that successfully integrates arts and academics to cultivate a genuine enthusiasm for learning.  For more information, visit


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