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Brothers Johan and Jonathan Caro each found their partners more than a decade ago, and they all contribute in a daring performance as part of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Super Circus Heroes.
The two brothers grew up as part of the Lopez Family troupe in Monterrey, Mexico, practicing acts on the high wire and motorcycles for five hours a day. As they grew older, they toured Latin America with their family as part of the fourth generation to work in the circus.
Jonathan was the first to fall in love. It was in 2002 in Mexico, and Maria was performing a high-wire act with her family at the same circus.
Not long afterward, Johan spotted Erika in the audience in Mexico. She’s now described as the “daring beauty who stands fearlessly inside the Globe of Steel” as the two brothers on motorcycles speed within inches of her.
Meanwhile, Maria also joined the Lopez Family act, performing aerial stunts, some while balancing on a bike. She said her biggest challenge is performing a handstand on top of a pole balanced on the brothers’ shoulders as they pedal across the high wire on bicycles.
“I have to stay focused,” Jonathan said. “We kiss the babies, say a prayer and club up to the wire.”
According to the brothers, at 12 feet in diameter, the Globe of Steel is the narrowest of its kind in the country. That means it requires more precise timing. Maria trained for two years before she was ready to join the brothers in the globe.
“In the beginning, she was scared. It was hard to watch when she first started to ride,” Jonathan said. “It was very difficult. There’s no way to verbally explain how to maintain a straight path that is high enough inside the globe to avoid a collision. She had to learn it herself.”
Super Circus Heroes ringmaster David Shipman grew up in Pensacola, Fla., with dreams of performing, but he first took a desk job before following his heart. He attended a magnet school focused on performing arts and was a member of the Pensacola Children’s Chorus.
He fell in love with the circus at 2 years old when his parents took him to a Ringling Bros. production.
“I remember being in awe of all of it, and I still have the trinket that was bought for me. I’ve kept it all these years,” Shipman said.
But, when he graduated college, he looked at performing as a hobby, only performing in a local theater at night. It was his mom who encouraged him to reevaluate his priorities and go back to his roots. That’s when he became a full-time performer.
Still, Shipman almost missed the opportunity to be part of “The Greatest Show on Earth.” He learned about auditions for ringmaster on Facebook, but missed the opportunity. He emailed Ringling Bros. directly, and caught the attention of producers. Eventually, he met with Director Fred Tallaksen, impressed him, and was offered the job.
“And with Ringling Bros., I now have this incredible opportunity to tour the United States and see places that I’d never have had the opportunity to see … it’s amazing! It’s been a whirlwind,” Shipman said.
“It almost doesn’t feel real, like it’s happening to someone else. I’m proof that it’s never too late to chase after your dreams.”
Super Circus Heroes will be at State Farm Arena July 17-20. To purchase tickets, visit ticketmaster.com or call 800-745-3000.
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The Progress Times is the hometown newspaper for the local communities of Mission, Sharyland, Alton, Palmview, La Joya and surrounding areas in Western Hidalgo County. We have a staff of veteran reporters who work diligently every week to bring our readers the latest news as it affects their hometown area and people.