Circus to have plenty of zing

When the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus presents its shows in Wichita this week, it won't be with a ringleader.

Instead, this version of the greatest show on Earth has a "zingleader" as its emcee and, indeed, one of its stars.

Alex Ramon is not only the leader of "Zing Zang Zoom," as the show is titled, but also an illusionist who performs some jaw-dropping feats — making an elephant disappear, for example, and sawing a clown in half.

Here are six other acts you'll see at the circus this weekend:

1. Human cannonballs. Not just one, but two women will be shot out of cannons side by side. Their names are Tina Miser, who grew up in Peru, Ind., and Ekaterina Borzikova, a gymnast who grew up in the former Soviet Union. Ringling Bros. claims they are the first-ever duo of women to be launched across the circus rings.

2. The Fernandez brothers. Brothers Guillermo, 19, and Alberto, 22, wow the crowds by performing tricks and stunts atop two giant rotating wheels. They learned the Wheel of Steel from their father, who performed with a circus in Mexico, according to circus media notes.

3. Hans Klose and his canine corps. Klose and his wife, Mariya, perform tricks with a comedic cadre of canines — 12 in all. Most of them are rescue dogs, the circus says. A dog walking across the ring on two legs always gets a laugh from the crowd. This dog act is one of two in the Ringling Bros. circus.

4. Taba the tiger trainer. Actually, Tabayara Maluenda is a trainer of many animals, but circusgoers will see him perform some amazing feats with the big cats at this show. One of the stunts involves Taba standing on his hands as a tiger leaps between his open legs.

5. Qi Qi Har Acrobatic Troupe. This famous Chinese act involves gymnasts flipping and swinging on what appear to be two large balance beams swinging back and forth high in the air. As the beams swing faster and faster, the stunts get more daring and breathtaking.

6. Skokov and Romashov Troupes. The Ringling Bros. circus has combined two Russian swing troupes to create a new quadruple swing act that has acrobats crisscrossing the arena.

Circusgoers also will see trick ponies, beautifully costumed women riding on the backs of elephants, trapeze artists, a couple who perform everyday acts upside down and, of course, clowns.

If you go

Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus

What: A show titled Zing Zang Zoom with magic and illusion

Where: Intrust Bank Arena, 500 E. Waterman

When: 7 p.m. Fri.; 11 a.m., 3 and 7 p.m. Sat.; 1 and 5 p.m. Sun.

How much: Reserved seats $14-$65 at the arena box office and Select-A-Seat outlets, online at www.selectaseat.com, www.ringling.com, or by calling 316-755-SEAT.