Clownin' around

Circus Chimera comes to town Wednesday

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Alina Sergeeva can speak fluent Russian, Portuguese, Spanish and English. She turned 11 a couple of months ago.

When she was 3, living in Russia, she saw her first circus and loved it. She started practicing acrobatics and soon made her way into an act.

With the circus, Sergeeva has traveled the world, particularly the Americas, where she learned Portuguese, Spanish and English, in that order.

She is now a main character in the Circus Chimera, which will be in Steamboat Springs Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. In the circus, Sergeeva plays "Anna," a girl who wants to Hula-Hoop like the other kids. Her friend, "Number Five," played by Rodrigo Fernandez, also 11, comes to help her, and the two surprise the crowd at the end.

The Circus Chimera is not like a typical American three-ring circus. It is a theatrical, animal-free performance with one ring, which creates a greater focus on one theme with a closer experience to the action, said Tom Dougherty, circus artistic director and a clown.

This is the second consecutive year the Circus Chimera will perform in Steamboat Springs. This year's performance will be different from last year's though, circus President Jim Judkins said.

"It will be a heck of a show," Judkins said. "The reason we don't have animals isn't a political statement. We just look for the best act, and we've never found animals that compare to our people acts."

The people acts include acrobatic acts, world-class juggling and a motorcycle sphere.

This year's theme is "Moon Dreams." The characters all have dreams of becoming circus performers.

The circus also offers several rides, attractions, exhibits and food, so arriving early is a good idea, Dougherty said. A popular attraction the circus features is the world's tallest inflatable slide, "The Titanic."

The circus is sponsored by Habitat for Humanity of Routt County and the Regional Affordable Living Foundation. A significant portion of the proceeds will benefit the two organizations, RALF Treasurer Kathi Meyer said.

Meyer said RALF realized the great fund-raising opportunity the Circus Chimera provides last year. RALF was trying to raise $150,000 for affordable housing, when it was contacted by the circus. After local businesses raised funds, the circus's contribution, put the RALF goal "over the top," Meyer said.

"It's tough in this town to look for new and fresh fund-raising ideas, but we found the circus was a great solution," Meyer said.

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