Flying through the air with the greatest of ease isn't so easy: The Roustabouts need your help

It was 1867 when British singer George Leybourne wrote of "that daring young man on the flying trapeze," a paean to the great 19th-century French trapeze artist Jules Léotard, who's been credited as being the first circus trapeze act ever. Léotard, no doubt, was well taken care of by the Cirque Napoleon, innovative curiosity that he was, and didn't have to worry about how he would be hoisted into the air. Ironically, Denver's small Roustabouts circus troupe, which channels that old-time circus ethic of the "circus in a suitcase," doesn't have it so good. That's why the circus company, led by Cris Clark and featuring aerial fabric routines and an acrobatic girl-on-a-hoop act, along with some clowns and a strongman balancing act, needs a special twenty-foot aerial rig: so they can truly take their ragtag show on the road, sky-high tricks and all. Guess what: Aerial rigs are expensive, to the tune of $4,000. This is why:

This aerial rig is a tripod, suspending a hefty triangular frame above the stage on three narrow legs. It stands 20 ft high and 20 ft wide at the base. It weighs 400 pounds, holds up under 1,500 pounds of force and breaks down into pieces less than seven feet long for transport. It can be carried in a small truck or two cars, set up by four people in twenty minutes, and will last for more than ten years.

Flying through the air with the greatest of ease isn't so easy: The Roustabouts need your help

To that end, the Roustabouts will roll up their daring young sleeves tomorrow from 3 to 6 p.m. at APEX Movement, 2622 Zuni Street, Englewood, for Come to the Circus! Raise the Rig!, a benefit performance and silent auction with host Paul Borillo manning the mic. The afternoon will begin with games, physical challenges and demonstrations of skill, followed by a circus show at 4 p.m.; a $20 cash donation requested at the door will benefit the aerial-rig fund, as will all auction proceeds. Visit the Facebook event page for details.

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