Blending classic acts with high wire feats


March 13, 2001|By AARON CLAVERIE, Staff Writer

CALEXICO — A young woman climbed to the top of a 12-foot-long pole.

Her brother balanced the pole on his forehead while her other brother balanced him (and her) atop a second 12-foot-long pole.

She took a deep breath.

A crowd of more than 700 at Tuesday's Circus Chimera in Calexico watched in rapt amazement as the young woman, Patsy Rosales, swung her legs over her head and did a handstand 40 feet above the big top floor.

Her brothers, Julio and Jorge Rosales, who had held her aloft, then helped her climb down to safety. The audience burst into applause.


That was just one of the highlights of Circus Chimera's "Circus of the Future" which closes its Imperial Valley run today in Calexico with shows at 4:30 and 7:30.

The Oklahoma-based Circus Chimera blends classic entertainment such as juggling and table spinning with Cirque Du Soleil-style high wire feats of daring. It has been touring for four seasons and visited El Centro last year.

This circus does not feature animal acts.

Tickets are available by calling 1 (888) ONE-RING or at the box office. Prices for adults are $12-16, and for kids are $6-10. Free kids' tickets are available at local merchants.

The circus' big top is set up on the Las Palmas Swap Meet site at the corner of Ollie Avenue and Highway 98.

Along with the Rosales' balancing act, other bright spots in the two-hour production included a husband and wife trapeze act, a clown who had the audience in stitches and a mermaid who rose into the air from a sea of smoke and billowing satin.

For Juan Manuel Muñoz, 14, of Calexico the best part of the show was the motorcycle act.

"The ‘Globe of Death' was my favorite," Muñoz said.

The "Globe" featured brothers Donald and Roberto Chimal riding motorcycles inside a giant metal globe.

Juan Manuel acknowledged he was "a little scared" the globe would bust open.

Circus Chimera founder James Judkins said the "Globe of Death" is the most dangerous of the stunts.

"You have one little drop of oil and all of a sudden they are slipping and sliding into each other," Judkins said.

Another favorite of the kids in attendance was the athletic Walter Chimal, who opened the show by "flying" around the auditorium.

Chimal is the brother of Roberto and Donald.

While he was holding on to a white sash and only looked like he was flying, don't tell Edgar Sanchez, 7, of Calexico.

"It's Superman!" he said as Chimal soared.

Edgar's grandfather Abe Sanchez, a police officer from Calexico, said it is nice that a quality show is playing Calexico.

"They always go to Mexicali but they never come over here," Sanchez said.

In one of the most popular sketches of the evening, Edgar went from watching the show to becoming part of it. He was one of the crowd members pulled from the show to help the clown with various "tricks."

The clown, Guennadi Tregouv, was trained in Russia and has been performing since he was a young boy, according to Judkins.

The clown led Edgar through a hidden ball trick but let the crowd in on the trick while Edgar was stumped.

"He's going to remember that 20 years from now,"' said Judkins about Edgar's breakthrough performance.

Judkins has been involved with traveling shows for more than 40 years but says Circus Chimera is different.

"Most shows you can see people leaving at around 9 o'clock," Judkins said.

"At Chimera they stay to the end," he added. "There is no good time to go to the refrigerator to get a beer."

Judkins said the young woman in the balancing act, Patsy Rosales, and her mother, Carmen, are the only two women in the world he has seen do the balancing trick.

Jorge, Julio and Patsy Rosales are from Veracruz, Mexico. They, like the rest of the cast, have been with Judkins for all of Chimera's four years.

The event is sponsored by the Calexico Police Activities League. A percentage of the proceeds go to the non-profit PAL, according to Officer Victor Legaspi, executive director of the league.

Imperial Valley Press Online Articles