Friday, October 14, 2011

Celebrating two 200s

The circus comes to MGHfC for a joint bicentennial birthday party

patient, left, with Iverson

Colorful juggling clubs soared through the air with the greatest of ease during the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus’s Oct. 12 visit to MassGeneral Hospital for Children (MGHfC). The circus, which also celebrates its 200th year in 2011, came to the hospital for a joint birthday party and to kick off its five-day run at the TD Garden.

Along with excited young patients, families and staff, the Judith A. Newell Playroom on Ellison 18 was filled with clowns, acrobats and other circus stars and a festive birthday cake. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson towered over Howard Weinstein, MD, chief of the Pediatric Hematology/Oncology Unit, as they led the crowd in a rendition of “Happy Birthday.” Iverson also provided MGHfC patients and staff with a special birthday present: 200 free tickets to the week’s performances. Several of the children’s tickets include an opportunity to meet the performers before the show. 

Two clowns presented both birthday and get well cards painted by circus elephants. Clowns then chose children from the crowd to assist in performing tricks, including juggling and spinning a ball on their fingertips. A performance by Ulaanbaatar Ballerina, a three-person hand-balancing act, left young patients in awe as the female ballerina performed splits and handstands while balancing on top of her male companions. The trio, which hails from Ulaanbaatar, Mongolia, mixes contemporary ballet moves with circus and acrobatic skills. 


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