The chaos unfurled at the 11 a.m. Ringling Brothers and Barnum and Bailey Circus' performance in Rhode Island on Sunday.
After the announcer built dramatic tension, a curtain dropped and performers began a high-wire ballet act, hanging from their hair about 35 feet from the floor.
Seconds later, the video obtained by NBC News shows, the platform dropped unexpectedly and the performers, who were working with no net, plunged to the floor.
Eight female "hairialists" fell and one dancer was injured on the floor below, according to a spokesman for circus, which was at the Dunkin' Donuts Center in Providence.
The cause is unknown, but fire, police and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration are investigating.
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