Entertaining Illusions

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Germany’s Roncalli circus is taking a novel approach to entertaining its audience while giving a nod to animal welfare, Phys.org reported.

The show is now using holograms instead of live animals for its fantastic performances.

Circus boss Patrick Philadelphia said they stopped using live animals in 2018. He explained that the circus faced space issues in accommodating the animals, adding that the nomadic character of shows was a strain for the creatures.

“This no longer made sense for an animal-protecting circus,” Philadelphia told Agence France-Presse.

The switch to holograms was inspired by a show in which US singer Justin Timberlake “collaborates” with a hologram of the late musician Prince.

For their special shows, Roncalli uses 11 cameras arranged on the ceiling of the big top around the ring. The devices then project high-resolution images onto a fine-mesh netting that surrounds the performance space.

“Whatever you can imagine, it can be created by an animator, by a graphic designer, then it can also be shown up in a circus show,” according to Toni Munar, the technical director of the circus.

Despite not using live animals, the circus’ approach was welcomed by its audiences.

“I think it’s good without (animals), because they really try to make the rest of the show special,” said Andreas Domke, who attended one of the performances with his two sons.

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