Ryan Holder holding court in the Kelly Miller ring
In the UK, there is Thomas Chipperfield, with his home-made videos showing in the full light to day how he trains his tigers.
Now, over here in the US, equally impressive, we have Ryan Holder, with Kelly Miller Circus, inviting the public to watch him in training sessions with his big cats.
Here, which I just came upon, is a film made of him talking informally about the tigers. We get to watch them lazily at play in a large spacious enclosure in the backyard. Holder is natural, relaxed, and his manner and persona points to a future when trainers like Holder may be able to foster a continuing -- or renewed -- public acceptance and appreciation for wild animal acts. I encourage you to take a look.
John Ringling North II deserves credit for having Holder tutored by Casey McCoy, and for supporting Holder in the enlargement of his act. It now includes a white tiger. In total, as many as eight charges in the ring.
And I am inspired to remind myself that the circus, and I mean CIRCUS, was born on the back of an animal -- a horse ridden by Philip Asltey near London, thus giving birth to arguably the most universally shared form of entertainment the world would ever know. A form that crosses all boundaries and cultures, that needs no particular language to explain itself.
Yes, Holder lacks the fiery showmanship we especially associate with the old line of dramatic man-versus-beast spectacle. It is the last thing any circus needs today. More Baumann than Beatty, Holder's approach, which still leans toward the methodical, yet reveals a subtle flair and confident control that he will do well to build on. His act is clearly on the ascent.
If there is to be a future in such animals acts, it will be the Ryan Holders and the Thomas Chipperfields of the world who make it happen.
Check out the video and see if you don't agree.
Direct from the USA! Produced at a real circus in a real ring. Ah, now, doesn't that make you feel proud?