Mexico’s Atayde Circus seeing light at end of tunnel
By Monica Rubalcava
Mexico City, Apr 28 (EFE).- After a year of folded tents due to the Covid-19 pandemic, Mexico’s Atayde Brothers Circus will begin operating once again in an iconic venue, the Ciudad Esperanza Iris Theater in Mexico City, where it will put on a “contemporary circus” performance complete with a “magical shows.”
“After a very difficult year where the circus was hit hard because we couldn’t work with any seating capacity, they’ve invited us to this reopening of Mexico City theaters … and it’s in this very emblematic theater we’re going to be very happy,” the general manager of the circus, Celeste Atayde, told EFE in an interview.
From April 29 to May 2, the circus will put on six “magical shows” between Thursday and Sunday at the theater in the capital’s Historic Center.
Celeste is part of the Atayde dynasty and since 2017 he has headed the circus, with its 133 years of tradition, during which time it has survived many crises and has never died out as beloved entertainment.
The crises have included the Mexican Revolution, the recent laws prohibiting the use of animals and the coronavirus pandemic, but the circus has surmounted every obstacle, showing not only its resilience but also its strength and future.
“I can tell you that the circus in Mexico is growing and that 95 percent of the artistic talent is from the new circus, the contemporary circus, and they’re people who don’t come from circus families. That makes me think that the circus in this country still has a long road ahead and much to offer,” Celeste said.
Alonso Martinez is a part of this new circus the manager was talking about. He performs as Filifu the Clown, who onstage is a foolish and musical young fellow who wants to work for the circus, despite the refusal of the master of ceremonies.
“I like to make people laugh and to sing. Those two things fascinate me,” Martinez, dressed in his Filifu costume, told EFE, and with his trumpet and a couple of bottles of water he will delight the public with “Tik Tok songs” to connect with the children in the audience.
Martinez has performed as a clown since he was six, and although does not come from a circus family his father was the one who helped him realize his passion for making people laugh.
“I went with my dad to parties and suddenly he decided to join a circus along with my brother and me. We were three little clowns. Later, my dad decided to go his own way but I stayed with the circus and I’ve stuck to it,” he said.
Alonso said that what he most enjoys about the circus is the chance to travel and get to know different cities. He’s been able to tour every corner of Mexico and his talent has taken him even farther: to France to be exact, where he worked for two years before fulfilling his dream to join the Atayde Brothers Circus in Mexico.
“I got the idea to go to Europe to prepare myself but in April 2020 they closed the circus. One Sunday the police came and the circus manager said ‘every man for himself’ and I came here and the light at the end of the tunnel, for me, was the Atayde Circus,” he said.
Besides Filifu, the circus will feature other big events, like the return of impressive animals, this time as life-size marionettes, aerial dancing, hoop and ring gymnastics, an LED lightshow and other things to celebrate Children’s Month.
The lineup also includes two members of the fifth generation of the Atayde family, Ingrid, who will present the “Fantastic Horses” show, and Alexis, who will head a juggling show.