Their story began after a French street clown, Napoline Zoppe, fell in love with a ballerina — a compelling entertainer in her own right — while wandering around Budapest. The love was forbidden, like all good legends, and so, naturally, they fled to Italy in order to be together. But instead of joining the circus, they created one, and the Zoppe Family Circus was born.
More than 160 years later, the one-ring circus performs around the world in an intimate 500-seat tent. The show clocks in at a little over an hour and features acrobats, horses and of course, Nino the Clown — an homage to the troupe’s original ringleader.
The circus is in town at noon and 4 p.m. Sunday, December 29, at the Chandler Center for the Arts, 250 North Arizona Avenue. Performances through Sunday, January 5. Other showtimes vary. Weekend tickets are $24-$34 for adults, $18-$28 for children. Call 480-782-2680 or visit www.chandlercenter.org.