4 min read

This Animal-Free Circus Is Such A Stunning Show

"This is the future of circus" 👏

As playful music booms and lights twinkle, an elephant appears in the center ring and stands on his hind legs to greet the crowd. Minutes later, four decorated horses enter and begin galloping around the ring, their manes shining under the glowing spotlight.

Welcome to Circus Roncalli, the world’s first holographic circus show — where no animals are harmed.

The Austrian circus phased out the use of wild animals in its shows in the 1990s, well before others began to take similar steps, and since then has only used domestic horses. But recently, the circus decided to stop using animals altogether.

The result is mesmerizing.

“Most of the numbers in the show would already be done by the artists and clowns today anyway,” the circus’ director told a German newspaper of the decision to end all animal performances. “The focus of the Circus Roncalli is on poetic and acrobatic numbers.”

The high-flying trapeze artists and zany clowns are now paired with a full arsenal of holographic animals from around the world. Projected elephants wave their trunks at the crowd, and later a bright orange fish swims the length of the arena.

Thanks to new technology, it’s never been a better time for circuses to stop featuring live animals — in turn freeing them from a life of stress and neglect.

With the public’s increased knowledge of the animal cruelties behind circus life, many governments are passing full bans on the use of animals — which could mean these holographic shows are the circus of the future.

If so, Circus Roncalli is a big step ahead of the game.

“Thankfully the public is voting with their feet, and increasingly visiting shows where the performers get to choose instead of being forced to perform,” Jan Creamer, president of Animal Defenders International, told The Dodo. “This is the future of circus — a performance everyone can enjoy and for which intelligent, sentient beings are not used and depicted as objects of entertainment."

To help animals suffering in circuses, learn more from Animal Defenders International.