Sunday, 5 April 2015

The Swiss National Circus Knie

My 8-year-old daughter Poppy went on a class trip last Monday to see the famous national circus Knie setting up as her theme is The Circus this term and I thought it would be nice to continue her class studies by taking her to see a performance this weekend. I was amazed to find very affordable tickets online.

There are various sections, with the peak seats going for around 80CHF but in Section E (at the back) I found adult admission for 20CHF and children are half price on the matinees. So the sum for me and my two daughters to see the best circus in Switzerland (as Poppy's teacher proudly told her) was 40CHF. And for a car-less family as we are, it was located at Teuchelweiher - extremely easy to walk to at around 15/20 minutes from Winterthur HB.

So yesterday we set out for our first Swiss circus experience. And Wow. There are circuses and then there are Swiss circuses.

The tent itself is impressive, popping up with lights twinkling as you walk along Zeughausstrasse and it was very easy to enter and find our seats. An exciting atmosphere was evoked immediately with smoke and lots of laser lighting and the famous Knie logo projected onto the roof.

And then the lights went off and the show began with 'flying cats' as my 5-year-old coined them - acrobats in glittering feline costumes enacting astonishing feats of suppleness, strength and 'daring-do' My girls especially enjoyed the acrobats on the poles, suddenly plunging to the ground and pulling up at the last minute by using their legs and feet as brakes.

And then there was the brilliant clown whose interaction with the audience won over our hearts, the amazing neon horses galloping in the dark and the elephants!

But the Grand Finale using a Mozart inspired theme was the ultimate show-stopper - and at times, literally a heart-stopper!

Visually stunning, packed with drama and highly recommended.

The citcus will perform one last time in Winterthur tomorrow at 2.30pm and 8pm - and it looks like you can buy tickets at the door - before moving onto Wetzikon and various other locations before arriving in Zurich on 8th May where it will remain until 7th June.

The family-owned circus dynasty Knie was founded in 1803 by Friedrich knee and for over 200 years has been one of the oldest and leading circus companies in Europe. The family had a close friendship with the Swiss painter and sculptor Hans Erni who sadly died last month at 106 years (see my blog piece celebrating his birthday) Hans was a loyal and frequent guest to the Knie Circus and the family have paid tribute to him on their website:  

"Fascinated by the artists and the animals, Hans Erni was closely associated with the Circus Knie which he experienced in his early childhood. As he told us he admired in Lucerne the performances of the 4th generation Knies in the open air with their skills on the high rope and he has met a total of five generations of our family in his long life. The magic of the circus ring inspired his creative work. Between 1966 and 2009, Hans Erni created nine poster subjects for our company as a creator of these works he always felt a part of the circus family. For hours he would discuss the ideas with us, the artists and employees and talk about his fascination of the circus. With Hans Erni we lose a dear friend, and Switzerland loses an outstanding personality, a century-artist and the world, a creative spirit."

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