Aytahn Ross

Aytahn Ross

Circus entertainer clowns around

NANAIMO - The Great Balanzo, presented by TheatreOne, shows April 9, 1 p.m. at Malaspina Theatre.

Balancing 10 blocks on your face can be challenging and exciting.

At any time, something could go wrong.

It’s one of the reasons Aytahn Ross, owner of Acme Circus, loves to do physical stunts and circus theatre. He also likes to make people laugh and smile.

“If someone smiled even for one second or [it] makes them forget about their problems or laugh a little bit then I have done my job,” said Ross.

He performs during The Great Balanzo show, presented as part of TheatreOne’s Just Kidding series, Saturday (April 9), 1 p.m. at Vancouver Island University’s Malaspina Theatre.

The Great Balanzo is a contemporary circus clown show, said Ross.

“We often have the idea of the old clown, old scary clown. It’s not that,” said Ross.

The show follows the character of Balanzo, the last surviving member of the Royal Balaznos, a family of circus performers.

“This fellow arrives from a distant land and is getting into all sorts of shenanigans,” said Ross.

Ross said moving to a new town is something many people can relate to. Ross said it’s a light story that uses physical aspects to move the story along.

“The character is a sort of old-fashioned nostalgic character with a big old moustache,” said Ross, adding that Balanzo faces situations that don’t quite work out.

The show features balancing acts, improvisation with audience participation and more.

Ross was born in Montreal but spent much of his youth in Winnipeg. He attended Actors Showcase, now called the Manitoba Theatre for Young People, and is a classically trained actor.

Ross said his parents chose theatre school over hockey school when he was younger.

“I think one reason is I had really nice teeth and they didn’t want me to lose my teeth,” said Ross.

His family was involved in the arts community.

“Instead of running away with the circus I ran away and created my own little circus,” said Ross.

Ross said it took him a while to realize he had something “wonderful” to share with people to make them happy.

Tickets are $10 or two for $18 and are available in advance online at www.theatreone.org or at the door.


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