Tribute to Circus Celebrities at the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art
January 14, 2005
SARASOTA, Fla. – Jan. 6, 2005 – The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art honors members of the circus world at the annual Circus Celebrity Awards Ceremony, 7:00 p.m., Ringling Circus Museum's Backyard. The event is free to the public and honors those that brought extraordinary dedication and remarkable skills to the rings and sidelines of the American circus. This year's honorees at Circus Celebrity Night are Jacqueline Zerbini, Circus Celebrity; Pedro Reis, Power Behind The Scenes; and Lee Stevens, Power Behind The Scenes.
Jacqueline Zerbini has dazzled people of all ages around the globe with her spectacular dramatic flying trapeze act. She has performed with tigers, a lion, and over eight species of animals, including Belgian draft horses. By 1996, after more than ten years of training, talking to, and riding on tigers, it was time to retire this fantastic act. In 1994 Jacqueline performed her famous single s trapeze act for the last time at the Sarasota Circus Festival Black Tie Award Gala. Her long and distinguished circus career is certainly an incentive for celebration!
Pedro Reis began his circus training in Africa at the age of 12 through a local YMCA. Developing his skills on the flying trapeze he later helped found the first circus school in South Africa. He created The Survivors, one of the most dangerous acts in circus history performing without safety devices or safety net. Pedro toured the world and in 1997 founded Circus Sarasota with Dolly Jacobs to continue the circus legacy in Sarasota, the circus capital of the world. Pedro's contributions have added magic to circus legends and enriched the Sarasota community.
Lee Stevens left home in his teens and joined the King Bros. Circus as a working groom. He enrolled in the Ringling Bros. Barnum & Bailey Clown College in Venice, Fla., and for the next two years performed various clown and fire eating acts. Stevens performed his dog act until 1980 when the poodles retired and sea lions and baboons began to share his stage. Lee created and managed the Cirque DuBonheur in Quebec with the baboon acts. Later Stevens developed a new act, a miniature horse liberty drill that he sold to Jaqueline Zerbini in 1994. His success is proven and well deserved .
Free to the public, this event is an opportunity to mix and mingle with many of the people who created magic under the big top s .
General Admission includes the special exhibition, Ringling Museum of Art, Cà d'Zan Mansion, Circus Museum, Rose Garden and 66 acres of landscaped grounds. Adults are $15; senior citizens (65 and over) are $12. Free Admission for children 12 and under accompanied by an adult, museum members, and Florida students and teachers with valid ID cards. Information Line: 941.351.1660. Advance Tickets are recommended, call 941.358.3180.
The John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art, Florida State University, is the state art museum of Florida. It preserves, develops, and enhances the legacy of John and Mable Ringling and engages and educates a large and diverse audience in a world-renowned collection of art, Cà d'Zan (the Ringlings' mansion) and its historic contents, collections documenting the circus and its history, the historic Asolo Theater, and the architecture, courtyard, gardens, and grounds overlooking Sarasota Bay.
The Museum's exhibitions and programs are made possible in part through support by the Sarasota County Tourist Development Tax through the Board of County Commissioners, the Tourist Development Council and the Sarasota County Arts Council; the State of Florida, Florida Department of State, Division of Cultural Affairs, and the Florida Arts Council; and the Institute of Museum and Library Services, a federal agency that fosters innovation, leadership, and a lifetime of learning.
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