Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus is back in town, taking over the American Airlines Arena (601 Biscayne Blvd., Miami) for 17 shows beginning Thursday. This time, “The Greatest Show on Earth” has pulled out all the stops to dazzle and delight with ferocious, fire-breathing dragons in honor of the Year of the Dragon. Ringmaster Johnathan Lee Iverson presides over three rings of daunting acts of human athleticism, animal tricks, and extreme bravery. If you’re afflicted with coulrophobia — the fear of clowns — you might want to steer clear of downtown Miami for the next couple of weeks. But if you’re a sucker for those daring young men on the flying trapeze, be sure you get to the circus an hour in advance for the all-access preshow available to all ticket holders. You wouldn’t want to miss the astonishing juggling acts, Asian elephants with the ability to paint, and, yes, drunken clowns.
Thu., Jan. 10, 7 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 11, 7 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 12, 11 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 13, 1 & 5 p.m.; Thu., Jan. 17, 7 p.m.; Fri., Jan. 18, 7 p.m.; Sat., Jan. 19, 11 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; Sun., Jan. 20, 11 a.m., 3 & 7 p.m.; Mon., Jan. 21, 6 p.m., 2013