Then Jenny Vidbel arrived with a string of ponies, which were then joined by a herd of horses, galloping shaggily in formation. Ms. Vidbel returned in the second act with a pack of rescue dogs. Some jumped through hoops; one rode a scooter; all had the kids in the audience apoplectic with cute.
A juggler, Gamal Garcia, seemed to reappear as a roller skater, but that was his older brother, Dandino Garcia, who performed shirtless, which might make for an awkward couple’s skate. A third brother, Ammed Garcia, led the trapeze act, the Flying Tunizianis. (There was another set of brothers, too, the Anastasani acrobats.) For the first-act finale, one Tuniziani bungled a quadruple somersault, but as someone who regularly bungles walking down the sidewalk, even the attempt seemed remarkable.
More remarkable: The second-act finale, which culminated in the Wallendas’ trying a seven-person high-wire pyramid, the kind of act that is almost too nerve-racking to watch, even with an air mattress that could sleep 90 inflated below.
The high-wire feats were unequivocally thrilling, but Big Apple Circus has never needed hair-raisers to delight its fans. In the intimacy of its one-ring tent, it has offered a extravaganza that is exciting, not overblown, with acts that are inspiring, not ludicrous, at a volume that is cheerful, not earsplitting. Might as well take a bite.