|Gamma Phi Circus bounces and juggles into Redbird Arena|
|Written by Ryley Murphy, Daily Vidette Reporter|
|Wednesday, 13 April 2011 19:19|
The circus comes to town this weekend, as the Gamma Phi Circus will be performing their annual spring show.
Since 1929, the group has been hard at work providing an entertaining show all its own. The mind-boggling acrobatics and tricks included in the act are sure to be a crowd pleaser in this year’s performance.
The show will be held at Redbird Arena Friday and Saturday night at 7 p.m., as well as a Saturday afternoon show at 1 p.m., with tickets ranging from $12 for adults and $10 for students.
Marcus Alouan, circus director, discussed some new additions that can be expected this year,
“The most exciting new thing we have is our wall trampoline,” he said. “It’s a brand new act that’s never been done in Gamma Phi Circus.”
Aside from this new addition, the performers will be up to many of their old tricks.
“We have a few different trapeze tricks, we have aerial acts, we have tightwire, juggling, clowns, unicycles and quite a few acrobatics,” Alouan said.
Many students may be unaware of the long-standing history of the Gamma Phi Circus. Even in ISU’s earliest years, the event was a large part of the school’s culture.
“We were started by Clifford Horton, which Horton Field House is named after, in 1929 and so this is our 82nd year in existence but it’s actually our 80th year of performing because we didn’t start doing shows until 1931,” Alouan said.
The circus holds smaller shows throughout the year, although the spring performance is the culmination of a great deal of their efforts. Many of the participants have been practicing and anticipating this opportunity to show their stuff for the past several months.
In regards to the origin of the Gamma Phi Circus, the special collections department at Milner Library has a great deal of information as well as artifacts that date back to the earliest days of the group.
Steve Gossard, curator of special collections, touched on the group’s establishment.
“When Clifford Horton came from Ohio, he became the physical education director for ISNU and he came up with the idea to start a fraternity of gymnasts, which was called Gamma Phi,” Gossard said.
Gamma Phi was intended to become a national fraternity; however, it didn’t quite work out that way. Most similar college organizations proceeded to fizzle out after the introduction of organized gymnastics, but ISU’s Gamma Phi Circus was one of the few that remained.
“Because the Gamma Phi worked with performers at the YMCA Circus in Bloomington, it remained when many of the other circuses died out,” Gossard explained. “It’s the oldest collegiate circus in America.”
With such a rich line of history, it’s certain that the Gamma Phi Circus will remain a significant part of the ISU culture for years to come. Students are encouraged to come in and support this great act and appreciate the incredible high-flying talents of the featured entertainers.