Hi Tech Circus: The Cirque du Soleil
The Cirque Du Soleil is now one of the worlds most famous and prestigious Circuses. “It started with a theater troupe founded by Gilles Ste-Croix in Baie-Saint_Paul a village in Montreal Quebec Canada. The troupe walked on stilts, juggled, danced, breathed fire and played music. One member of that early troupe was Guy Lalibertéin who went on to found Cirque du Soleil (Wikipedia).
Cirque du Soleil does not use animals and it performs in a multitude of venues from large arenas to theater stages and even street performance. (Adamson A 2013, 16×9 Global News 2012, Rainey S. 2014)
Cirque du Soleil now has 22 shows around the world and with more than 1300 hundred artists performing year-round it is also one of the biggest circuses in the world. Cirque Du Soleil scouts for and auditions the elite of the worlds artists. Its programs are inspired by a multitude of nations such as Russia, China, England, and other.
Using modern technology Cirque du Soleil constantly pushes the feats its artists to the limits as is clear if you watch the following video of their audition process.
Low Tech Circus: Circo Italiano Di Roma
Today a small travelling European circus like the Circo Italiano Di Roma which came to my neighborhood in November 2014, used a brightly lit circus tent with a single ring where spectacular human acts of skill and daring were performed. This circus might not have the amazing high tech shows of the Cirque du Soleil but they still maintain the essential spirit of the circus. Most of the acts have an obvious resemblance to performances of antiquity.
Whether you are talking about the Circus of Antiquity, the Middle Ages or the Modern(New) Circus, with or without animals, the essence of the circus has never changed in its over 4000 year history. Every wave of new circus has remained old circus at heart.