They were the consummate circus power couple when an equipment malfunction during a Big Apple Circus performance grounded daredevil aerialist Pedro Reis only two days after he proposed to “Queen of the Air” Dolly Jacobs.
After recovering from his accident, Reis experimented with other circus acts and created an aerial pas de deux with Jacobs called “On Wings Of Love”, but the flame and passion for performing had scarred him. They then decided to form their own circus, but one with great heart and a mission to serve the community in a way that no other circus had before. In 1997, Circus Sarasota was born in Sarasota, Florida, the historic home of Circus King John Ringling and his wife, Mable.
Jacobs and Reis took every risk, financially and emotionally, to nurture and build Circus Sarasota into an organization that made everyone proud. Their critically acclaimed seasonal performances in February have elevated the profile of the circus arts, building a following among those who normally frequent opera houses and concert halls. Throughout the year, their professional clowns provide therapeutic outreach and meaningful encounters with individuals in institutions such as nursing homes and adult day care centers. Professional circus performers also provide a curriculum-based educational program in local schools and after-school centers. Over 5,000 individuals young and old every year are touched by their programs.
Circus Sarasota celebrated its 10th season in 2007. “We had waited long enough to get married and now Circus Sarasota is not only stable, but successful,” says Reis. Their wedding takes place today, Friday October 26, 2007 in the courtyard of the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art with over 250 guests from far and wide in attendance.
Born to circus stardom, Dolly Jacobs the daughter of legendary clown, Lou Jacobs, was a headliner with her balletic aerialist Roman Ring act. Her father, who passed away in 1992, will be remembered with a memorial on each guest table at the wedding.
Pedro Reis, who received his circus training at a YMCA in Cape Town, South Africa, was also a headliner. He created the Survivors, an aerial act that was considered one of the most daring in circus history and later as a solo aerialist on the cloud-swing, another death defying act. He and Jacobs first met while rehearsing with the Ringling Brothers, Barnum and Bailey Circus. As their relationship grew, many in the circus world whispered that their love was reminiscent of another great aerialist couple – Lillian Leitzel and Alfredo Cordona who, in the early 20th century were considered the most spectacular aerialists of all time. Tragically, Lillian fell to her death in an equipment malfunction and Cordona pined for her the rest of his life.
The love story of Pedro Reis and Dolly Jacobs has a much happier ending, one which serves as a romantic reminder of the power of two.
Circus Sarasota will open its 2008 season on February 1 and run through February 24. For more information, visit www.circussarasota.org.
Pedro and Dolly,
Here's wishing that the immense joy that your artistry has created over the years be returned to you a thousand-fold on this, your wedding day, and from this day forward into your new lives together as husband and wife.
Pat, Terry & Shane
The Cashin Family