For grades: All
Requirements for live visit: Need access to audio system wtih CD player and mic
Fees for live visit: $1,500 per school visit
Extreme Unicycle Basketball Act »
An amazing group of performers on unicycles ---
Wizardry performed on the one wheel, a dazzling display of agility, balanceand high-speed hilarity perched atop the unicycle. Illusionist creating a flurryof fast-paced fun, from New York City, The King Charles Troupe.
The Troupe exhibits skills ranging from slam-dunks, dribbling, passing,jumping rope to acrobatics. They'll keep you on the edge of your seat withtheir hilarious high-jinks and comedic antics. Their extraordinary riding abilityand world-class skill never cease to excite audiences of all ages.
It all started one hot summer in 1918, a youngster by the name of Jerry King sneakedunder the tent in Tampa, Florida, to see "The Greatest Show on Earth". All he recalls isthe elephants and the man on the high-wire riding a unicycle. He asked himself, whythere were no colored kids who rode unicycles. With this in mind, the idea was born.
As Jerry King matured to manhood, he taught his son Charles how to ride a unicycle inthe hallway of their apartment building located in the South Bronx. Come Spring of1958, Jerry King took Charles into the park where the entire neighborhood could see thisfive-year old boy ride a unicycle. Jerry King proceeded to teach every kid in theneighborhood who wanted to learn. Concerned with the social evils in the community,he started a unicycle club. Much to his amazement, Jerry King found himself with aunicycle club consisting of 85 boys and 15 girls.
Their first audition occurred in 1968 on the sidewalk outside of Madison Square Gardenin New York City. There, under the direction of Jerry King, founder, they demonstratedtheir unicycling and basketball-passing skills to then Ringling Bros. and Barnum &Bailey Circus producer Irvin Feld.
The visionary Mr. Feld sensed that the raw energy of these charismatic young athletesfrom the South Bronx could be shaped into a high-quality presentation. The King CharlesTroupe made its triumphant with Ringling Bros. debut one year later. Thereafter, theycontinued to perform with The Greatest Show on Earth for an astonishing 19 consecutiveyears! and became the first all-black circus act in the history of Ringling Bros. As a resultof hard work, Mr. Feld teamed the troupe up with the Masters of Illusion, Siegfried andRoy, in the overwhelming excitement of "Beyond Belief". This show was voted thenumber one show for nine consecutive years in Las Vegas, Nevada.
In 1991 tragedy struck three members of the troupe, three members including its leaderCharles King, were killed in a car accident. Its survivor's regrouped and new memberswere recruited. A third generation of the King Charles Troupe - KCT, Inc. joined TheGreatest Show on Earth for its 127th Edition and members from the original troupejoined forces with The UniverSoul Circus- the first all African-American performingcircus In over 100 years.
Their experience has enabled the troupe to focus on the importance of building character,through the ideas of Jerry King, the troupe as instilled pride, discipline and direction toother youths in underprivileged communities. The troupe pays tribute to Jerry King forhis achievements both in the circus world and in the African-American community."Building Character on Wheels", Jerry King".