My sweet boy Hank was unhappy on our recent tour to Texas and back to Florida, so I decided that it was time for him to retire.
After leaving King Cole Circus, it was a long, 3-day drive home, with plenty of adventures. The drive from Corsicana, Texas to Fort Myers, Florida is about 1,200 miles... and my truck was not loving my trailer for most of it.
Foggy mornings are my favorite. It just feels like the world is full of possibilities, and you're waking up in to something amazing!
Circus life, am I right?
Well, entertainment, really. One day things are going great and your dreams are coming true, and the next you're back in the wasteland, fighting to get back in the stream. The struggle is real.
This past year has been a lot of learning and a lot of patience. A lot of ups and a lot of downs. A lot of hoping and praying and dreaming and waiting... and not a lot of return I was hoping for.
In the circus, it is highly favorable to be a well-rounded performer. Not only should you be able to perform a variety of styles, but also a variety of skills. If you can offer multiple acts to a company, then you are more likely to get hired, and for higher pay, because the show can pay you a little extra to do two acts instead of paying two separate people. This works out well for both parties.
As an aerialist, I understand the high value in also having a ground act. Although I am able to offer aerial acts on a variety of apparatuses (silks, lyra, Spanish web, strap loops, pole, static trapeze, and hammock), it is not always enough. Currently, I can also do stilt walking, ring master/emcee, and basic comedy/clown. But I also really want to have a nice, strong ground act that is marketable and glamorous.
My personal favorite part of circus life is the travel. For sure, I also adore the performance aspect, the glittery costumes, and the family atmosphere, but my heart is so full on the road! I love seeing new and interesting places, connecting with new and interesting people, and experienceing new and interesting adventures. My journeys so far have brought me as far as Australia, and as close as my home states of New York and Florida.
I think the absolute hardest thing not only about circus, but following your dreams in general, is "the space between." Those hollow times in your life when you just finished one stage and are (perhaps not-so-patiently) awaiting the next. It's in these times when fear rears it's ugly head and says, "See? I knew you'd never make it. Yeah, you had a glimpse of what could be, but now it's over. Time to give up and face reality." It's also in these times that the negative comments you are usually so quick to brush off actually start to gain access to your heart, feasting on your positive spirit and darkening your hope.
The most important part of human interaction in general is communication. Speech, gestures, body language. How we interact with one another makes a huge difference as to how we get along and how things get done. For a Towner (someone who works a town job, or a non-travelling job), if you don't get along with a co-worker, you can go home at night and forget about them for a little while. You get long weekends and vacations away from them to reset. In circus, you are with the same group of people day in and day out. You work together, eat together, relax together, breathe together, sleep in trailers so close you can practically dream together. At times, this can be incredibly frustrating, but also has the potential to be amazingly rewarding.
Over the years, I've had the great pleasure of working with people from all over the world. In Australia, I worked and studied with folks from Australia, New Zealand, Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, the Philippines, China, Ethiopia, France, and other Americans. Here in the States, I've gotten to work and perform with others from Russia, Romania, Canada, England, Ireland, Brazil, Mexico, Argentina, Columbia, Peru, Chile, Guatemala, Honduras, and many other Latin-American nations I'm sure I am forgetting! (I have also gotten to perform, myself, in El Salvador.) It is absolutely amazing to chat to these beautiful people, learn about their cultures, and share life together.
But therein also lies an inherent problem: language. How do you truly get to know someone if you don't speak each others languages?
Over the past ten-plus years of learning and performing circus, I have been so blessed to have been taught by some of the best. These individuals have shaped who I am as a performer, and many who I am as a person. I am so grateful to have known them.