Skip to main content
Bindlestiff Family Cirkus
Adam Kuchler, Stephanie Monseu, Keith Nelson, and Ekaterina Sknarina performing with Bindlestiff Family Cirkus. Photo by Maike Schulz, courtesy of Bindlestiff Family Cirkus

Bindlestiff Family Cirkus prides itself on being an heir to New York City’s outstanding traditions of circus, sideshow, vaudeville, and burlesque. Co-founded by Keith Nelson and Stephanie Monseu, Bindlestiff presented it first Cirkus Cabaret in 1995 in Brooklyn. Through its broad beginnings and drawing from its passion for circus history, Bindlestiff has been a bridge between traditional and contemporary directions in American circus as well as a hub of evolving creative process. Acrobats, jugglers, sword swallowers, novelty dancers, rope spinners, aerialists, musicians, clowns, and other uniquely creative characters have all been a part of Bindlestiff’s intimate spectacles in circus big tops, spiegeltents, theaters, and festivals around the world.

In 2004, Bindlestiff instituted its children’s performance program, the Cavalcade of Youth. It provides after-school and summer youth circus arts training programs, produces the NYC Regional American Youth Circus Organization festival and the NYC Unicycle Festival, and supports emerging and professional variety artists who are contributing to the revival of interest in the circus arts today.

Bindlestiff celebrated the diverse world of circus arts through up-close and personal creative community engagement at the 2017 Folklife Festival.

Support the Folklife Festival, Smithsonian Folkways Recordings, sustainability projects, educational outreach, and more.