Bizarre: A Circus Story is a magical tale about passion, triumph, and heartache. Part portraiture, it centers around the fantastic life and legacy of Master Lu Yi, revered as the father of modern acrobatics, and army of circus lovers who share is dream of a thriving US circus industry. Master Lu Yi is a wise, jolly, and infectious man. From his rise among the Communist Party as an acrobatic leader to his time as a prisoner during China’s Cultural Revolution, Master Lu Yi’s triumph to freedom is nothing short of a miracle. His life story is an exceptional one, full of hardships and grief, but his love for circus arts keeps him young and motivated.
Based at the Circus Center in the heart of San Francisco, Master Lu Yi has been an innovating force behind the growing international circus community for decades. Known among his students as “Johnny Appleseed,” he’s like a living circus encyclopedia with over 50 years of circus knowledge. But he would be nothing without the vast network of circus lovers that he’s amassed along the way and continues to grow to this day. With the help of advocates like Master Lu Yi, circus in the United States isn’t about animals or cheap thrills anymore, it’s about showmanship, athleticism, and pure magic.
Just like a circus, Bizarre: A Circus Story aims to inspire and delight. It features breathtaking performances by members of the local circus community, from world-renowned performers to youth artists, who have dedicated their lives to this special art form. These enchanting interludes portray circus artists in a totally new way and provide a rare glimpse at the raw strength, talent and poise it requires to be a true performer. However, it takes more than just talent and training to survive in the circus. It’s grueling, competitive, and painful. Yet circus arts is growing and more popular than ever, specifically in the United States. This extraordinary story is proof that this ancient tradition not only continues to thrive, it’s evolving in the modern world. But what does this evolution mean for the performers of the future? What new challenges will they face? Circus is about freedom, love and wonder, and there’s room for everyone.