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CIRCUS: Survival Of The Fittest

Airs Thursday, November 25, 2010 at 3 p.m. on KPBS TV

Above: Assistant tent master Michael LeClaire secures the Big Apple tent.

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Watch the first two episodes of "CIRCUS" — "First of May" and "One Ring Family," then join the discussion and share your thoughts about the series.

Hit the road with "CIRCUS" and take an unforgettable trip with the legendary Big Apple Circus. From the big top to the “back lot” — where the real heart of the circus beats — explore a distinctive world with its own rules, lingo and no fixed address. Get involved with the diverse characters who make up the Big Apple family. Share their fears and frustrations, triumphs and failures and find out what it really means to live life in the ring. "CIRCUS" is a six-part series airing on KPBS Television.

"Survival Of The Fittest" - Squeeze into a tiny lot at New York’s Lincoln Center with the entire Big Apple Circus — tent, trailers, performers, crew and animals. It’s the holiday season and shows are packed, but snow and ice are collecting on the big top and the hoses that run water to the trailers are frozen solid. A beloved miniature pony dies suddenly from colic. Cast and crew are sick and exhausted, but the show goes on. Some members of the Big Apple family — a crewman, a trapeze artist, even the artistic director — contemplate leaving the circus world behind.

"CIRCUS" is on Facebook, and you can follow @PBSCircus on Twitter.

Video

CIRCUS: The Many Faces

Above: See the many faces of the Big Apple Circus and learn where they came from. PBS' "CIRCUS" takes an unforgettable trip with the legendary Big Apple Circus — from the big top to the "back lot," where the real heart of the circus beats — to explore a distinctive world with its own rules, lingo and no fixed address.

Video

CIRCUS: Meet Tommy, Heidi, and Yuri

Above: Meet three crew members who work behind the scenes at the circus. PBS' "CIRCUS" takes an unforgettable trip with the legendary Big Apple Circus — from the big top to the "back lot," where the real heart of the circus beats — to explore a distinctive world with its own rules, lingo and no fixed address.