| Dance |

A Dispatch from Lone Star Circus' "Banquiste!"

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It's around this time of year that everyone's holiday buzz begins to fizzle, and the glow of enthusiasm that met the late year celebrations wanes into exhaustion. We all get the holiday hangover, but there is an energetic and live antidote to those blues that you may not have thought of: the circus. More precisely Cirque Banquiste! presented by the Lone Star Circus. But if you want this powerful pick-me-up, then you'd better act fast.

This one won't be here long.

I walked into Dallas Children's Theater and was immediately gulped up by the gleeful proceedings. My first step was onto a floor cluttered with confetti, and a loud cacophony of laughter echoed in the wild scene before me. Trapeze artists hung like yoga- tantric monkeys a mere few feet from the ground. Teenaged kids gave lessons to the younger in attendance, pointing out the finer postures on silk sheets that hung from the ceiling; all received these lessons safely above foam pads.

There were clowns on stilts that hopped by squirting the incoming crowd with water. And an accordion cranked a happy tune that welcomed those strolling in. you want circus? You got it. Only this one serves wine in the already energetic foyer. I hadn't even been shown to my seat yet, and I was already cured of my Scroogish sickness.

The show began with a clamorous and calamitous clown act that made the audience giggle and gawk. The laughter was primarily fed by very young voices; the small children were captivated by the clowns and their slapstick shtick. "Slappy", "Monday", "Zerp" and "Gordoon" would act as welcomed interjections between the respected acts, and allowed the physical performers time to set up.

Instead of giving specific spoilers to a very energetic act I will attempt to merely tease some very captivating details that should entice you to the theater. Going into too much detail would ruin some of the act.

Cassondra the contortionist had limbs made of rubber, and a torso so elastic that it is nearly painful to watch. Jesse Patterson hula-hoops with her entire body. Simultaneously and sensitive to the rhythm of her musical piece. Matthew Richardson can make an audience dizzy with his overwhelmingly large roué cyr (a human sized metal ring). Gena Cristiani could play major league soccer and juggle while doing a downward facing dog. Simone Marina Lazar likes to do acrobatics from a rope, or ring. As long as it is suspended mid air, she dances beautifully. This sometimes occurs right over the heads of the audience. Kirill Rebkovets is a high balling balancer who has good taste in international spies, and the Rolla Bolla. The Laurino brothers will inspire insane feats of flips in young siblings, and make mothers squeamish. They'll make all the men thank their lucky stars for cups. And not the drinking kind. The cartoon poodles make me want to buy seven dogs, dye them pink, and shove them down some slides. (Relax, PETA. No one was hurt). Ricardo Sosa made the women swoon and flush. He all at once flexed, winked, sang, and made all of the men in attendance jealously bellow, "Pffffft. I can do that." Liz Mikael was born to woo a crowd. She can sing, joke, engage children and captivate adults. She can do it all.

The audience sat in a playhouse no larger than a small movie theater, and there is only room for a few hundred. The seating at the Children's Theater is slightly tiered and perfect for viewing this type of event and this intimacy helped to enhance the act by putting the audience in close proximity to the performers. This act will make you fear for the livelihood of strangers performing incredible feats of agility, finesse, and strength.

The show is interactive, and has something for every member of the family: wine for adults, and clowns for kids. All will leave laughing, and covered in a bit of glitter. I would advise you to arrive early and enjoy the foyer before the show kicks off. The entertainers are friendly, and willingly speak to all in attendance. Go soon though, the holiday bug must be vanquished, and Banquiste! leaves Dallas on the first of January.

The show will be running now through January 1st. Tickets can be found at The Dallas Children's Theater website.

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