Saturday, Oct. 6, 2012 | 2 a.m.
Wooden bleachers shake as parents walk their children to find seats at the Circus Circus Midway. A drummer and keyboardist take their places in front of the raised stage.
"Ladies and gentleman," a ringmaster’s voice booms.
Every half hour from 11 a.m. to midnight every day, one of 12 circus acts takes the stage. They juggle, dance on tightropes and flip from trapezes. They come from all over the world to perform at one of the oldest casinos on the Las Vegas Strip.
Who are the artists? Here's a closer look at four of them:
Acrobats Magda Cyran and Tom Smiela turned world-class athletic careers into a professional circus act.
The husband-and-wife team began competing in gymnastics in Warsaw, Poland, when she was 9 and he was 14. They won six Polish national championships and nine world and European medal championships between them.
Now they performing as the Duo Joys with strength and balancing acrobatics, including a hand balancing act.
They first signed with Circus Circus in 2001 for two years, then returned again in 2009.
Unlike tightrope walkers, Evgeny Vasilenko performs on a slack wire, which bobs and sways under his weight.
He learned the skill from his father when he was 10, then studied at the Russian National Circus School, where he majored in slack wire.
In 2002, he joined Nikulin's Old Moscow Circus and traveled across Europe and Asia before landing at Circus Circus.
Juggler Raul Cubillos began performing at 8, the fifth generation of an Argentinean circus family. He began traveling internationally at 18 and made performing at Circus Circus his goal.
He has worked at the midway for two years.
Jason Xiao combines hat juggling and bowl manipulation in a balancing act that leaves audiences gasping.
Xiao balances on a board atop a rolling cylinder called a Rolla bolla. He places bowls one at a time on the end of the board and flips it up, catching them on his head.
He is a third-generation circus performer who also worked as a strength acrobat and clown.
Before landing at Circus Circus last year, Xiao performed with Cirque du Soleil and the Matsuri show at Imperial Palace.
The hallmark of the 3,767-room Circus Circus Hotel, Casino and Theme Park in Las Vegas lies under the Big Top, where circus acts perform on the Midway Stage as part of the world's largest permanent circus.
The Adventuredome, America’s largest indoor theme park, offers five acres of climate-controlled fun for all ages.
Guests of Circus Circus may dine in a variety of restaurants including THE Steak House, rated the best steakhouse by Zagat and recognized a record 20 times in Las Vegas Review-Journal’s “Best of Las Vegas” awards, and Rock & Rita’s, where flair bartenders and live music enliven the scene.
Circus Circus also offers a casino, wedding chapel, meeting and convention space and a 30-acre RV park.