Behind the famous lights and sounds of the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey circus is a group of more than 100 dedicated professionals, from nearly every walk of life.
“My mom trained animals and my dad is a juggler,” says Gala Rogacheva.
Gala Rogacheva was born into the circus life…she started performing at age 7 and now she trains animals.
“To be able to interact with my animals and to be able to teach them things and see how they grow,” said Rogacheva.
We asked her how she gets these huge animals to do what she says.
“As you can see the main key to training is food reward. It’s called positive reinforcement.”
The “greatest show on earth” travels for more than 40 weeks out of the year, and that means the performers’ kids come along, and they need to go to school.
“I have ten students at six different grade levels, four of which I’ve taught English to,” says David Schwartz.
David Schwartz is a teacher with some unusual students.
“I have a student whose dad is the strong man and he does tricks with his long tree like logs spins them around his head,” he explained.
He’s taught “circus school” for five years and has to be prepared for students from kindergarten through 12th grade.
“It’s quite an education. We get to see a lot more than what you would probably see at a public school system,” Schwartz said.
When the show begins, music is the first thing to draw the audience in.
“If you close your eyes and just listen you can tell what’s happening so that’s basically my job is to create that for the audience,” says head of audio, Johnny Eline.
The music also gets the animals excited for their acts.
“They hear the music and they get ready and they look and you know they are waiting to go out there and perform so I truly believe they enjoy what they do,” says Rogacheva.
This weekend’s show in Bangor is the last stop on the 11 month tour. The crew will have two weeks off and then start back up in December with a whole new cast of performers.