Lone Star Circus’ ZINGARI Beguiles, Astonishes & Confounds

Mayya Panfilova and one of her acrobatic house cats in Zingari

Mayya Panfilova and one of her acrobatic house cats in Zingari by Lone Star Circus

What comes to mind when one thinks of felines in a circus? Huge tigers and lions, springing out of massive cages to prowl the ring, while an exotically attired, macho “lion tamer” cracks a long whip and strides boldly among the snarling beasts? How about a merry clowder of rescue kitties – including tabbies and calicos, an elegant Siamese and a distinctive Russian blue, gently shepherded by a beautiful, gracious lady with no whips or gaping cages in sight? Dallas Children’s Theater presents a return engagement of Lone Star Circus through January 3, 2016, featuring in highlight Russian-born Mayya Panfilova and her house cats (twelve in her caravan), all rescues from across the United States. It’s a uniquely delightful addition to the performance of eleven discrete acts plus a gaggle of silly clowns, all gathered into a program called Zingari, which means “gypsies” in Italian. From the Zingari press release, “Eighth generation circus performer…and Lone Star Circus’ Founder and Creative Director Fanny Kerwich says, “All old performing families like mine are still Zingari somewhere deep inside, whether or not we actually are Gypsies. This is fine with me. I’m proud of my roots, and I am proud to be a Zingara.”

Adult and youth audiences crow with delight at the exuberantly joyful antics of Panfilova’s kitties, as they dash, leap, hop and crawl (one upside down) across an obstacle course or long rope stretched taut across the playing area. Even one half-grown tabby kitten with a VERY long tail flounced straight up like a flagpole gets in on the act, riding a plush pillow elevated high on a pole around the stage, bright eyes wide with feline pride and merriment. That kitty knows it is “one cool cat”. Their row of pet carriers perch just visible offstage. They make their eagerness to participate clear by pressing whiskers up to the carrier fronts and poking excited paws through at the handlers whisking them out and back in.

"Duo Resonance": Contortion and Hand-balancing

“Duo Resonance”: Contortion and Hand-balancing

The balance of the acts are equally unusual, infused with genuine entrepreneurial spirit, theatrical focus and physical challenge.

They include:

  • The striking and balletic hand balancing and aerial hoop of the graceful Duo Resonance (USA/Russia)
  • The extraordinary and mesmerizing juggling of Sebastian and Rejean (USA/Canada)
  • The amazing and spectacular Risley acrobatics of The Anton Brothers (Argentina)
  • The mind-boggling and subtle rolla-rolla equilibriums of Kirill Rebkovets (Russia)
  • The breathtaking straps and contortion of Zaya & Mendee (Mongolia)
  • The energizing and beautiful Jesse Pattersonand her twirling hula hoops (USA)
  • The exciting and inventive spins of Asaf Mor on the cyr wheel (USA)
Clowns "Monday" and "Slappy" keep the audience in stitches

Clowns “Monday” and “Slappy” keep the audience in stitches

USA based clowns “Monday” (Dick Monday) and sidekick “Slappy” (Tiffany Riley), aided by lugubrious “Zerp”(Nic Rainone) and Thiago Nascimento on the upright piano at stage edge, tie the performances together with humorous antics, repartee and splendid parody. The two acts (c. an hour and forty minutes long) flow smoothly, never lagging thanks to the clown distraction when set change takes place. The clowns offer a light-hearted contrast to the inspired, imaginative daring, complexity and physically demanding exertion on display. Great hilarity bursts forth from both young and old in attendance, mixed in with wonder at what amazing feats humans can accomplish when they put their minds, bodies and artistic souls into focused alignment. Suitable for all ages. Let’s all run away and join this circus…..

Zingari is created and directed by celebrated international circus artist Fanny Kerwich under the artistic direction of longtime circus professional and author Dominique Jando. Scenic design by H. Bart McGeehon, lighting by Jason Lynch and clowning direction by Dick Monday. Photos by Zan Keith.

Dallas Children’s Theater presents


December 26, 2015 – January 3, 2016

Ticket Prices: $22-$48

Reserve early for best pricing. Prices subject to change. Call the box office for details. 214-740-0051

Tickets available online at dct.org

Dallas Children’s Theater, Rosewood Center for Family Arts

5938 Skillman Street, Dallas, Texas 75231


For information about ongoing classes and further performances by Addison-based Lone Star Circus, contact http://www.lonestarcircus.org

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