Renowned Bay Area Aerialist Produces/Performs BREATHTAKING Benefit Show in Honor of “Prince”

Inspired by the life of now deceased African American animal trainer, known professionally as “Uncle Junior,” young San Francisco Bay Area circus artist Veronica Blair is on a journey across America to produce a feature-length documentary film to record and archive relatively unknown African American circus performers. She calls her mission “The Uncle Junior Project,” named for legendary and largely un-credited circus pioneer Emanuel “Uncle Junior” Ruffin.

SAN FRANCISCO, CA: San Francisco Bay Area resident, Veronica Blair is one of only a hand-full of black aerialists in the nation. An artist of elegance and true excellence, she has studied with some of the most celebrated and prominent artists in her field. In an unwavering effort to document the contributions of the largely unrecognized African American circus performing professionals who preceded her generation, Blair produces and performs benefit circus shows to subsidize the planned feature-length documentary film “The Uncle Junior Project.”

She has invited several of her professional circus performing friends to join her to perform gripping circus acts for the exciting Bay Area production, titled

“PURPLE: A Circus Tribute to Prince.” Enthralling demonstrations of aerial and acrobatic wonder will take place Saturday, May 3, 2014 (7:30-10:00 p.m.) at Circus Center San Francisco, located at 755 Frederick Street. Tickets to experience the exhilarating performances are reasonably priced from $15 to $40.

This Prince tribute is a much anticipated follow-up to last year’s circus tribute to the legendary rap group OutKast. Artists will perform to familiar and popular musical background produced and performed by multi-award winning entertainer and recording artist, Prince.

At the age of 17, Blair became one of the youngest professional African American trapeze artists in the U.S. Since then, her name has become internationally synonymous with the artistry of premier professional trapeze acts and aerial dance.

“I’ve been performing and teaching circus arts for 16 years. During the last few years I’ve been moving in the direction of producing and directing,” Blair commented. “I’m always borrowing styles from different eras in entertainment. I absolutely adore the pageantry of traditional circus, but I’m also moved by the movements of more modern and contemporary style circus acts. I would describe myself as a very open performer.”

Blair’s aerial dance is an exquisite and original technique, with a combination of sheer strength and pure style. Her combining of aerial tissu with traditional elements from aerial straps create a visually stunning and technically versatile act. She is a consummate entertainer as she performs breathtakingly beautiful high-in-the-sky aerial stunts.


An aerialist of elegance and true excellence, Veronica Blair has studied with some of the most celebrated and prominent artists in her field. From greats LaNorma Fox and Pamela Hernandez, who bears the distinction of being the very first African American aerialist to perform with Ringling Brothers Barnum & Bailey Circus to the renowned “God Father of the Tissu” Gerard Fasoli of Ecole Supérieure des Arts du Cirque, Belgium.

Shortly after the start of Blair’s professional career, Universoul Circus founder Cedric Walker, personally selected her to perform in his show as a single trapeze artist. Under Walker’s supervision, Blair rapidly developed as a skilled aerialist, and was the circus’ resident aerialist for over five years.

After her residency with Universoul Circus, Blair performed with world renowned groups in various productions around the world including AntiGravity, Universal Studios Japan, and AFRIKA! AFRIKA!, the most successful circus show in Germany, along with several hundred other notable circus productions worldwide.   Performance videos


“The Uncle Junior Project,” named for legendary and largely un-credited circus animal trainer Emanuel “Uncle Junior” Ruffin, is a historical documentation of the amazing African American circus performers who paved the way for Blair and so many others to wow audiences under the Big Top.

Through a series of interviews, performance art pieces, moments of introspection, and stories well told, the project explores and debunks many of the misconceptions about circus life and the long history of this storied form of entertainment. Woven throughout, and tying the project together is the story of “Uncle Junior” and several other notable performers, who each participated—in their own special way—in Blair’s coming of age as a woman and performer.

The Uncle Junior Project is part of Fractured Atlas’s fiscal sponsorship program! Fractured Atlas assists artists and arts organizations raise money from charitable sources, and is a 501(c)(3) non-profit entity.

Toni Beckham
PR, et Cetera, Inc.
209-832-8020 / 408-499-3664 c

Circus Center


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