Once upon a time Wonderland came to Steamboat Springs

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What: Circus Chimera presents Alice in Wonderland

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday, 4:30 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, 1:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. Sept. 3 and 4.

Where: The Meadows Parking Lot

Cost: $10 through $19, $3 off any priced ticket with coupon that can be found online or from local merchants

Call: (888) 663-7464 or visit www.circuschimera...

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Courtesy Photo

Ekaterina Bazarova plays Alice in Circus Chimera's presentation of "Alice in Wonderland."

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Courtesy Photo

Fridman Torales plays the Cheshire Cat in Circus Chimera's presentation of "Alice in Wonderland."

— Ringmaster Roy Ordaz is offended when people refer to Circus Chimera as a three-ring circus.

It is a derogatory remark because it implies confusion, he said. "That's the worst thing I can hear because it takes so many logistics to get this circus down the road."

Circus Chimera will be coming to Steamboat Springs on Labor Day weekend with its interpretation of "Alice in Wonderland."

The circus will also be bringing seven semitrailers, 40 support vehicles and 97 performers. Each year, Circus Chimera performs in three towns a week for 44 weeks.

"We have a show almost every day," said Ordaz, who is also the general manager and co-producer.

The circus is unique because it is a European-style circus that has adapted the traditions of an American traveling tent circus. Ordaz is the only performer that is American.

"In the U.S., circuses are kind of the illegitimate child of vaudeville. But in Europe, circus is an art form up there with ballet and music," said Patrizia DiLucchio, publicist for Circus Chimera. "There are actually academies devoted to training circus performers."

Like European circuses, Circus Chimera does not travel with an exotic menagerie, and their performers are all acrobats. Circus Chimera's interpretation of "Alice in Wonderland" will be a loose interpretation due to the incredible skills of the performers.

The main character, Alice, will be played by Ekaterina Bazarova, who is a contortionist and former member of the Russian Olympics gymnastics team.

"She does poses that are mind boggling because of how limber her body is. I thought that was the perfect thing for Alice because Alice grows taller and Alice grows shorter," DiLucchio said. "What better person to play Alice than a contortionist?"

A Chinese acrobatic troop will bring its talent to the show with a form of circus that is not familiar to American audiences.

"They do an act with a diabolo, which is a stylized yo-yo prop, and they do an amazing plate-balancing act while doing gymnastics," DiLucchio said. "This one lady does an acrobatic act while hanging from her hair that is pretty amazing. I scream every time I see it."

Peruvian performer Fridman Torales plays the Cheshire Cat and the Mad Hatter, for which he does his signature Rolla Bolla act and a trick called pase de la muerte, which translates to the walk of death.

"Rolla Bolla consists of him getting on top of a series of five cylinders stacked on top of each other that rotate," DiLucchio said. "In the pase de la muerte, he walks upside down across a rope bridge in the air."

Another thing about this circus that makes it different from other circuses is that every once in a while, the performers do miss a trick, DiLucchio said.

"You're watching something, and your heart is in your throat, hoping they get through the trick."

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