Before you run away to join this circus, brush up on your Chekhov. Circus Chimera's artistic director (and clown) Guennani Tregoub explains, "We are not traditional circus -- [we are] like theater and circus. We tell a story with movement, makeup, costumes." But no words. Instead, the Russian Tregoub choreographs his show-don't-tell to speak every language. Audiences of "any age . . . 2-year-old or old people" follow the adventures of SuperClown as he encounters the Wonders of the World. Bedazzled by aerial acts, acrobatics, and the Motorcycle Globe of Death, Super meets equally dazzling girls -- Gana the contortionist and Olga the quick-change artist -- who make the rest of us look bad.
How do Circus Chimera's old-world skills appeal to post-modern crowds? "We get a standing ovation after each show," says Tregoub. "People are laughing, smiling. I never hear opposite to 'perfect show.'"
See Chimera's troupers perform their feats under the big top at Anthem this Monday, March 8, through Wednesday, March 10, at 41130 North Freedom Way, adjacent to the Community Center. Performances start at 7:30 nightly, with 4:30 matinees on Tuesday and Wednesday. From Anthem, the circus moves on to Gilbert, Prescott and Goodyear. Tickets are $10 to $16; see www.circuschimera.com or call 1-888-663-7464. -- Kim Toms
Folk dancers step out for festival
They're all over the map. This Saturday, March 6, the Phoenix International Folk Dancers step out for their 17th annual festival. From 1 to 4 p.m., dancers from across Arizona rock the Casbah, the Kremlin, and everywhere in between, presenting 40 dances from 19 nations. Admission is $1 at the Los Olivos Senior Center, 2802 East Devonshire. See www.phxfolkdancers.org or call 480-968-0573 for details. -- Jill Koch
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Flowers Gone Wild
Festival blooms at Botanical Garden
Inspire your inner green thumb with chuparosas, pink fairy dusters and other blooms at the Desert Botanical Garden's first Wildflower Festival and "All About Wildflowers" symposium. Tour the flourishing wildflower trail, then pick up some plants and other goodies in the market while the kids are amused by balloons, activities and the antics of Dr. Greenbean and Madam Carrottop. Avid gardeners will find more serious pursuits in the symposium, with its specialized garden tours and guest speakers. The festival, free with garden admission, runs Saturday, March 6, and Sunday, March 7, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The symposium, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, costs $25 for garden members, $30 for nonmembers. For more information, call 480-941-1225 or visit www.dbg.org. -- Elizabeth Exline
In With the Newport
Jazz fest takes a star trek
WED 3/10 Jazz fans, listen up. Never been able to get to Newport for the world-famous Newport Jazz Festival? Well, the festival is coming to you. On Wednesday, March 10, some of the best names in jazz will perform for us right here in our own backyard. Now celebrating its 50th year, the world's first outdoor jazz festival has decided to take its show on the road. And how lucky we are, with Grammy winner Terence Blanchard, former Art Blakey sidekick Cedar Walton, Grammy winner Lew Tabackin, and Peter Washington of the Carnegie Hall Jazz Band set to perform. Showtime is 8 p.m. at the Celebrity Theatre, 440 North 32nd Street. Tickets, $34, can be purchased by calling 602-267-1600, extension 1, or by visiting www.celebritytheatre.com. -- Maidi Terry