Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus® bring their newest magical attraction, Dragons, to the KFC Yum! Center in April. This show features all aerial acrobatics, death-defying stunts, amazing animal performers and more! The show opens this Thursday, April 5th and runs through Sunday evening with seven performances. Tickets are still available to "The Greatest Show on Earth."
I had the pleasure to interview Mr. Andre McClain. He is the All Access Pre-Show Host and performs the Mixed Liberty Act. Andre is very excited about the show and what he does. His excitement came through in our conversation and it made me that much more excited about coming to the show myself. Read on --
What do you love most about the circus? Touring all year, making dreams come true. I hadn't been to the circus until joining 10 years ago. Seeing the kids and adults faces, it's for everyone! It's like entering a fantasy world. It's amazing every day! We have Brazilian dancers, an awesome Ring Master and an all access pre-show where you can get autographs, see costumes, learn dancing and some shaolin.
What are your favorite animals? Do veterinarians travel with you? Horses and camels. We have nine elephants and so many other animals. Yes, we have four staff veterinarians, one travels with us all the time and each city has an on-call vet.
How many people are involved? About 300 people, 124 are performers and the rest make the show happen. Many behind the scenes people. This show is produced and directed by women.
Since being involved with the traveling circus, do you have a favorite city or place? It's all good and different. I like to find good food in every city.
Your bio says that you are an admired dad. How many children do you have and do they travel with you? I have two kids, a boy and girl. They travel with me during summer and on breaks. They travel some weekends. I'm just engaged. You can find love in the circus!
What do you admire most about your father? Sounds like you've had some pretty big shoes to fill. His drive, move forward and keep going. You can make your dreams come true. I never thought I'd be doing this. I didn't think I'd be entertaining.
Of your accomplishments, what are you most proud of? I'm self taught in trick roping and performed a one many rodeo show when I was younger. I have drive. We couldn't afford roping lessons at $20 each as a child. I got mom's clothesline, tied a knot to make a lasso. Got a whip. I also studied my horse. Learned him. Taught him tricks. I found a way. Most generations are taught, families teaching each other.
Looking pictures at www.ringlingbros.com I can tell that you love your job, it looks like you are very good at it. What is the most challenging about entertaining the crowds? Not getting much sleep. Everyday is a holiday!
How often do you get to practice or rehearse with the animals? Are they on an exercise schedule? The animals practice on a schedule in mornings. The manager makes the schedule, it's down to a science.
What are your future goals, plans? To stay with the circus as long as they will have me. They are a great family to work for, maybe they'll adopt me.
What would you tell a child who wants to do what you do, or wants to work with animals? The three "P's": Patience, Persistence and PRAISE. You get training in life and you can't rush. Keep at it. Always thank people, let them know when they do a good job. Everyone likes to feel special.
Mr. McClain is very excited about their upcoming visit to Louisville. He went on to say that you truly and really do not want to miss this show. It's a great family atmosphere.
The Ringling Bros. Circus opens on Thursday, April 5 at 7:30 p.m. with shows: Friday, April 6 at 7:30 p.m., Saturday, April 7 at 11:00 a.m., 3:00 p.m. and 7:00 p.m., Sunday, April 8 at 2:00 p.m. and 6:00 p.m. at the KFC Yum! Center. Tickets for the show are now on sale and are $73, $37, $22 and $16, reserved seating. Prices include facility fees. For Opening Night, Thursday, April 5th only, the $22 and $16 ticket levels are discounted to $11 and $8.50, including facility fees. Tickets may be purchased at the KFC Yum! Center, the Kentucky Exposition Center and the Kentucky International Convention Center Ticket Offices. Tickets may also be purchased at all Ticketmaster outlets, through Ticketmaster Charge by Phone at 1-800-745-3000 and online at www.ticketmaster.com. Come out for the greatest show on earth!
Photo source: Ringling Bros. Circus