LIFESTYLE

Hip Hop Clown Continues Legacy
The family of Ivan Vargas, known as Von the Hip Hop" clown, has performed in Ringling Bros for two centuries.
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Ivan Vargas' dragons show. He says he was “born on Ringling Bros”—almost as if it was another world. Vargas has never known anything else. For the last two centuries all his family has done is performed in the circus

(Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

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The legend is, his great, great, great great-grandfather had a trained cow act in Mexico City. He was scouted by the circus going through town, and the rest is Vargas family history. 

(Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

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Ivan Vargas

(Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

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Ivan Vargas started performing at age 13. By 16, he was essentially an independent adult performer. He says the circus makes children grow up faster than in the real world.

(Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

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For the last two centuries, all Ivan Vargas' family has done is performed in the circus.  The legend is, his great, great, great great-grandfather had a trained cow act in Mexico City. He was scouted by the circus going through town, and the rest is Vargas family history. 

(Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

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Like most cultures, clowns have their own superstitions and secret circus rituals. Vargas revealed one that most audience members would never know.  “In the theater you say to a performer ‘break a leg’ before he goes on stage. In the circus we never say that. We say ‘bump a nose’. So, next time you wish us good luck before a show, say ‘bump a nose’,” Vargas says.

(Courtesy of Ringling Bros.and Barnum & Bailey Circus)

Hip Hop Clown Continues Legacy

The family of Ivan Vargas, known as Von the Hip Hop" clown, has performed in Ringling Bros for two centuries.

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