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Running off to the Circus

Used to be, when we went to the circus, we wondered how the performers got the animals to do those tricks. Nowadays, we wonder how the performers do the tricks. And who dreams up the feats. All that’s largely due to Cirque du Soleil, which revolutionized the form. Cirque and its subsequent imitators captivate audiences and please PETA with dazzling, animal-free shows featuring humans doing amazing stunts that defy gravity, physics and anatomy. Theatrically, each version has a theme with newly created music and costumes. The latest is Varekai (the gypsy word for “wherever”), in which a young man finds fantastical adventures in a magic forest. Look for the famed blue-and-yellow tent. (Mar. 18–Apr. 4, Qualcomm Stadium parking lot, 9449 Friars Rd., 800-678-5440, www.cirquedusoleil.com.)