Photographers' Blog

Circus animals of Mexico City

Mexico City, Mexico

By Henry Romero

When I was a child back in Colombia I used to go to the circus every New Year’s Eve with my parents. It was always a special moment. I remember the lights, the clowns, the acrobats and the beautiful animals performing tricks that made us laugh and gaze at them in awe.

A tiger jumps through a ring of fire during a show at the Atayde Hermanos Circus in Mexico City August 8, 2014. Mexico City's government overwhelmingly passed a law on June 2014, which imposed stiff penalties of up to $60,000 on circuses in the capital that use animals such as lions, camels and horses in their performances. Circuses have one year to comply with the ruling. Picture taken August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Henry Romero (MEXICO - Tags: ANIMALS POLITICS SOCIETY)

But that was some 40 years ago and now, although I still like the acrobats and clowns at the circus, I’m not so sure about seeing the animals perform any more.  

I’ve never taken my own kids to a circus with animals. I just don’t see the point of looking at a tiger that has been coached to jump through a burning ring, or an elephant sitting like a person, or a monkey dressed in a tiny outfit. In my personal opinion, it sends the wrong message to our children about respecting animals.

Audience members watch a show at the Fuentes Boys Circus in Mexico City July 31, 2014. REUTERS/Henry Romero

Soon, however, these kinds of shows will be a thing on the past here. This year, Mexico City’s government passed a law, which comes into force in the middle of next year, imposing heavy fines on circuses if they use animals in their performances.

A trainer moves a llama during a show at the Atayde Hermanos Circus in Mexico City August 8, 2014. REUTERS/Henry Romero

The change has made circus owners here very angry, and the president of the circus worker’s union says they are being targeted. “It’s a direct attack against Mexican circuses, it’s not in favor of the animals,” he said, pointing out that by contrast, bullfighters are still allowed to perform in the country. 

Keeping it snappy

Mexico City, Mexico

By Henry Romero

When I saw him walking in his baby blue suit, I immediately recognized the dancer in him – the Mambo move in his hips, his Danzon step, his sense of swing as he walked amongst the hundreds of people rushing past.

Pachuco Nereidas and I had agreed to meet after I encountered him in the Los Angeles dance hall of Mexico City. I was intrigued by the sub-culture of men like him, who are known as “Pachucos”. Their elegant attire, their passion for dancing, and their gentlemanly behavior reminded me of myself when I was a teenager back in Cali, Colombia.

Dancing is part of everyday life, especially in Cali. We would get dressed in tailor-made flares and shirts, and go to a dance hall every Saturday night with a group of friends.

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