NEWS- Wish you were {t}here- Ringling Brothers and the rest, John Paul Jones Arena, December 10, 2006

Thanks to UVA VP and COO Leonard Sandridge, who orchestrated widening of a door, a 12,200-pound Asian elephant named Luke was able to stroll into the John Paul Jones Arena as a sort of grand finale to each performance of the one-ring circus's December 7-10 stop in Charlottesville.

Dubbed "An Upside-Down World" for its signature act– a pair of invisibly harnessed performers who stroll and juggle while upside down on a platform high above the ring– this version of America's best known circus also featured Sylvia Zerbini and her Arabian and Andalusian horses. And while no tiger leapt through fiery rings, Gail Mirabella's high-flying dogs leapt for flying frisbees.

Anyone who saw the Ringling Brothers and Barnum & Bailey Circus in Richmond last year witnessed a new-age spectacle with nearly as much music and light as Cirque du Soleil. Charlottesville audiences, however, got more traditional circus fare: tightrope walkers, zany clowns, and daring young folks on the flying trapeze.

Outside, a Charlottesville-based animal-protection organization called Voices for Animals waged a silent protest of allegedly unfair treatment of circus animals.

Two people juggled upside down.

Lots of rings in the air, but just one on the floor

No midgets or tigers, but plenty of clowns