Although it may seem that the big top tents and dazzling circus performances aren’t talked about as often anymore- they’re making a strong comeback! Thanks to The Greatest Showman sparking public interest again, many people are gearing up to head to performance the moment it’s safe too! In the middle of this, the performers have also had a significant change in how they live their lives. Here’s what life for circus performers was like before and what it’s become over the last year.
Circuses perform all over the country, roaming in troupes from one side of the states to the other: and the acts travel with the tents! Although not every night is spent sleeping in a trailer or a cheap hotel, many of them are. Circus performers have to get used to short term stays while they’re on the read. This can make holding down an apartment or having pets difficult for most people. Although, if you love moving and seeing the country, this is the perfect job for you!
Unfortunately, acting once a night, four times a week, doesn’t make you a professional. People who work for the carnival have to practice daily to hone their skills. This time takes away from their relaxation and unwinding, but it ensures the next show will be better and safer. The more they practice, the more seamless their acts will look once they’re on stage. They live with their training buddies, so there’s never a wrong time to get some practice in!
When I say family bonds, I don’t mean just the family you were raised with! Circuses frequently move, always in new areas and surrounded by new people. This forces even the most antisocial of strangers to want to band together for social and familial needs. Everyone helps everybody else when they’re having trouble, and there’s a strong need for respect and honesty. If fights break out, or there’s a disagreement, there’s a strong push for it to get resolved quickly- nobody wants to live in a toxic environment!
A Need For More
Many circus performers don’t see the circus as their end-game. Working under the big tent is a lot of work that takes up almost all of your time. Some performers have aspirations of ending up on Cirque du Soleil as an acrobat, while others have Broadway dreams. That doesn’t mean they don’t currently love this job, just that it doesn’t have everything they need.
Unfortunately, because of COVID-19, all of our circus tents and trapeze shows are put on pause. The world is focused on both healing and staying safe from further illness. Circus performers who are used to doing presentations for an audience of hundreds or thousands every night are now doing performances in their backyards for practice.
Some performers are moving to for-hire work, performing for social distanced parties, or on the video chat for online gatherings, but that’s not what they want. Hopefully, they’ll get to be back in the ring in no time.