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  • Dolly Jacobs & Rafael Palacios: “On Wings of Love”

    Producer: Colin Stucki
    Camera: Sean Baker, David Barnes, Hae-Yang Chang, Emma Cregan, Shelley Davis, Gary Francis, Helen Lehrer, Anne Saul, Ryan Shank, Casey Smith, Colin Stucki, Paul Weiss, Kamila Young
    Still photo: Caroline Angelo

    As a documentarian for the Folklife Festival, I had the opportunity to film the Stars of the Circus, an ensemble of professional artists from around the world. One highlight of the Big Top show was “On Wings of Love,” an elegant aerial act by Dolly Jacobs and Rafael Palacios, both award-winning performers. The combination of dramatic music, lighting, and choreography created a lasting impression on me, so I wanted to share the experience through film.

    Rafael told us how the pair came together, and Dolly described how her journey evolved under the guidance of her godmother, Margie Geiger, a ballet dancer who later performed for Ringling Bros. Margie helped Dolly develop her first solo aerial act on the Roman rings, an act that propelled her career forward. Decades later, Dolly remains at the top of her field as the cofounder of the Circus Arts Conservatory and the first circus performer to earn a National Heritage Fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

    Colin Stucki is a video production intern at the Smithsonian Center for Folklife and Cultural Heritage and studies film and history at George Mason University.

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