Like old-time traveling circuses, Circus Smirkus brings tents and an entourage of about 80 people to each town, using professional costumer designers, composers and choreographers to stage shows. The season kicks off each year with a performance in Circus Smirkus' home base of Greensboro, Vt., and "then we hack up the big top tent and take it on the road," said Marialisa Calta, Circus Smirkus' spokeswoman.
The touring season lasts roughly two months, and most stops are in New England. Saratoga is the only place in New York where the circus will perform.
For Sanson and his wife, Cynthia Wright, that means a dozen or so road trips to see their son.
"We miss him," Sanson said.
Beyond that, the couple truly enjoys watching the circus. Sanson said that when people first hear about Circus Smirkus, they figure, "It'll be nice. The kids will be in there juggling and doing tricks."
By the time people leave, "they're saying, 'That's the best live show we've ever seen,'" Sanson said with a laugh.
"It's really remarkable, because it's young people performing, but they're performing at a level you can't even believe," Calta added.
The "troupers," as they're called, come from all over the country, Calta said. Each year, Circus Smirkus also features a few international performers, including two from Colombia this year. Many of the performers, like Wright-Sanson, have spent previous summers with Circus Smirkus, which might explain how the show is ready to hit the road after just three weeks of practice.
"It comes together very quickly," Calta said.
Performances, too, are fast-paced.
"It starts and it just takes off and goes from there," Wright said. "It's really amazing."
Admission to the Saratoga show is $18.50 for adults and $15.50 for kids 2 to 12. Children younger than 2 get in free. Discounts are available for groups of 15 or more.
For information or to buy tickets, visit www.smirkus.org.""