Gamma Phi Circus brings thrills to Redbird Arena

Most people have been to the circus once or twice in their life, usually as a child. Going as a college student is a different experience, especially when the girl on the tight-wire is from your 8 a.m. biology class, and the guy twirling in silks from the ceiling is also a waiter at your favorite restaurant.

ISU’s Gamma Phi Circus is taking place at 7 p.m. Friday, as well as at 1 p.m. and 7 p.m. Saturday at Redbird Arena. Gamma Phi is the oldest collegiate circus in the nation, celebrating its 85th year.

Marcus Alouan, director of the circus says this show will actually have a theme, something that hasn’t been done in years.

“The theme is Chicago,” he said. “There’s one central idea that all the acts will relate back to in some way.”

Fifteen different acts will take place at the show, including juggling, clowns and tight-wire walkers. One act that is always a crowd-pleaser is the teeterboard.

“The teeterboard will be a standout act this year,” Alouan said. “It looks like a teeter-totter on a playground. Someone stands on one end, and a bigger person jumps on the other end, and launches them into the air.”

Members of Gamma Phi have been working hard all semester to perfect the upcoming show. They are required to practice nine to 12 hours a week. They are also provided with open gym times which many students take advantage of. Some students also help teach the Junior Gamma Phi at Metcalf School.

Elizabeth Ciesielski, senior human development and family relations major, is also a member of Gamma Phi. She performs in the Russian swing, silks, teeterboard and acro-sport.

“I’ve never been a part of a circus with a theme, so I’m really excited to present the Chicago theme,” Ciesielski said. “This is also my first year performing as an aerialist, so I’m a little nervous, but excited. I’m used to flying through the air, but this year I’ll be hanging in the air.”

There are still tickets available to be purchased at and at the Braden Box Office. Tickets can also be purchased at the door the night of the circus, though last year the show sold out. Tickets are $12-$13 for adults and $10-$11 for students.

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