The Osorio family has been performing under the big top for more than 100 years.
In the late 19th century Robert Osorio’s great-grandfather ran away to join the circus whenever it came to his Mexican hometown. Three times he left and three times his father had to drag him back.
“A typical love story – he fell in love with the girl on the trapeze,” Osorio said, adding that after a stint in the military, the elder Osorio joined the circus for good.
“He had my great uncles and my grandfather and my grandfather started our circus, Circo Osorio, in 1927. He started it and we’ve been travelling ever since,” said Osorio, ringmaster and magician.
From Sept. 13 to 17 those travels bring the circus to Nanaimo for the second time. The tent, which Osorio describes as a unique design unseen in the Northern Hemisphere, will be set up at Woodgrove Centre.
Osorio said the show is completely new for this year. Among the acts are clowning, magic, trapeze, a woman who shoots a bow and arrow with her feet and the “globe of death” – two motorcycles spinning around in a giant spherical cage. Osorio said his father didn’t expect that he and his siblings would carry on the family business.
“My dad immigrated here to the States for us to become doctors and lawyers and to become all the good stuff. But he kept on practising us in the backyard and eventually my two crazy brothers and my sister decided that they wanted to go back in the circus,” he said.
Osorio said the circus is a family institution. Their current show features families of performers from Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico. With about 35 people in the show, Osorio said the circus feels like a close-knit travelling village. He said it can be hard to say goodbye at the end of the tour.
WHAT’S ON … Circo Osorio Circus comes to Woodgrove Centre from Thursday, Sept. 13 to 17. Showtimes are Sept. 13 and 14 at 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sept. 15 at 3:30, 5:30 and 7:30 p.m., Sept. 16 at 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. and Sept. 17 at 7 p.m. $25 adult admission, includes up to two children under the age of 10, available here or at the circus box office one hour before show time.