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See 'America's Got Talent' act Christian and Scooby at the Ringling w/video

Surely no one has any interest in watching a beefy young guy balance an adorably tiny dog in precarious places all over his body.

Kidding! Of course you do! And you can see them this weekend at The Ringling's Summer Circus Spectacular, which wraps up Saturday.

Christian Stoinev and his wee dog, Scooby, have been performing in the Sarasota show several times a day over the past few weeks, all the while getting a little bit famous on the tube.

If you've been watching America's Got Talent, you might know about Stoinev, a 22-year-old fifth generation circus performer from Sarasota whose act is hand balancing. That entails supporting his body in cool positions on a variety of unstable objects. Balancing on one finger was enough to get him through at least one round of America's Got Talent.

"You are making the circus really legitimate," judge Howard Stern told him.

But when he pulled out his 11-year-old pooch for the next round of competition, things got really cute. This dog has mastered some extreme level of canine Zen to be able to do the things he does. Forget every cute animal video you've ever seen; Scooby wins.

I took in Wednesday afternoon's circus at the Historic Asolo Theatre in Sarasota, a breezy, hour-long show with six acts. It was a smiley time for kids and adults, with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College graduate Chris Allison interacting with the crowd. He sat in front of me at one point, hammingly blocking my view.

The exhibition of circus arts presented with the Circus Arts Conservatory of Sarasota also featured the gorgeous aerial work of Dolly Jacobs and the baffling quick change artistry of Olga and Vladimir Smirnov. But Stoinev and Scooby were the most gawkworthy act.

If you please, couple the afternoon with lunch at the Ringling's Treviso and a trip through the Circus Museum with its giant miniature circus recreation, and the John and Mable Ringling Museum of Art. The permanent art collection is stunning as always, but the current exhibit about forged artwork, "Intent to Deceive: Fakes and Forgeries in the Art World," is fascinating geek-out fodder.

If you buy a ticket to the Summer Circus Spectacular at $15 for adults and $12 for kids, you can get into the Circus Museum for $5 after the show. Shows are at 11 a.m. and 2 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. and 5 p.m. Saturday. Call (941) 360-7399.

Tickets are selling out fast, so if you miss Christian and Scooby live, watch for them on America's Got Talent, 9 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays on NBC.

Contact Stephanie Hayes at or (727) 893-8716. Follow @stephhayes.

Christian Stoinev balances Scooby at the Ringling during his act, also on America’s Got Talent. See video at

Courtesy of The Sarasota Circus Arts Conservatory

Christian Stoinev balances Scooby at the Ringling during his act, also on America’s Got Talent. See video at

See 'America's Got Talent' act Christian and Scooby at the Ringling w/video 07/31/14 [Last modified: Thursday, July 31, 2014 5:09pm]
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