Thursday, May 5, 2016

Circus Lessons



I've spent the better part of the past ten days at Circus Juventas, as Beatrix performs in every show, Patrick rigs every show, and I — well, run around doing everything from emails to t-shirts. I've spent a lot of time at pre-show meetings, watching from the corner of my office, and working backstage while immersed in the sound of the music and the audiences. It's been a great two weeks, actually, and it's given me some time to think about why I love the circus so much.

It's all about the work you put into it. Yes, you have to have some natural talent to start with. But what really makes the difference is the work you put into it. In all of these acts, you can tell how many hours of practice have gone into preparing for them. It's about showing up, and doing the work, and working together.

It's about trying again, and again, and again...It's hard when you boff a trick. It can be hard to try and try and try again. But when you master it, there's nothing like it. It's amazing what you can do when you put your mind to it. Even if you have to keep trying for a long time to get there.

It's fun. These shows and tech/dress rehearsals are long and grueling. Tonight, Beatrix had to arrive almost 4.5 hours before her single act. But she loves being here, she loves performing, and she loves challenging herself. She's having a great time.

It's about working with others. It's super-clear  in circus when people are not working well together — someone usually gets dropped (Business Manager note - we avoid that at CJ). Not only has Beatrix learned to work together with her act teams, but by watching the other kids, she has learned how to relate with everyone here. Same with Patrick and his riggers, for that matter. She's thrilled to do circus with her BFFs Meara and Brogan, but she also loves to be here with her older friends Elsie and Amelia, who she absolutely adores. She can tell me about every single kid at circus, I think — all 1,200 of them.

It's about creating community. See above. But also community with the audience. The more rousing the audience is, the better the show. Tonight, for a Thursday night, is an awesome audience and the show is through the roof.

You can't help but grow. By challenging yourself and collaborating with others and working your a** off, it's impossible not to come out a better person.

It's circus, dammit! It's exotic and unusual and beautiful and awe-inspiring and artistic and fun and full of glittery costumes and loud music and amazing feats. There's just nothing like it, and I love it.

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