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Becoming a Circus Performer

Ever dreamed of running away from home and joining the circus? Think you have what it takes to be an acrobat or trapeze artist? To find out some of the ins and outs of becoming a circus performer, Kidzworld spoke with Philippa Hayball, an acrobat and dancer with Cirque du Soleil's circus show, Quidam.

Circus Performers - Getting Started

Not just anyone can go and join the circus and become an acrobat or trapeze artist. You need to have a specific talent, the right body type and be very determined. Philippa's road to circus stardom started when she was five years old. "I did musical theatre and ballet and all kinds of music, singing, acting and everything to hone my craft," says Philippa, who also trained in rhythmic gymnastics for years. "When I was 11, I knew I wanted to be a performer, so I went for it. I gave up everything else and concentrated on my dancing and performing. There are so many people out there who want to do what you do, that you have to go for it. You have to put your heart into it and be certain that that's what you want to do."

Circus Performers - The Upside

One of the upsides of being in the circus is that you get the chance to travel the world. Philippa has worked all over the planet, including Australia, Japan and all over North America. "The circus has given me the opportunity to go to so many different places and meet so many different people. I travel on the road with 100 people who are like a circus family to me, who are with me the whole time. When you're young, it's the time to do it. It's the time to travel, the time to grow and experience your life."

Philippa also gets a thrill from performing in front of a live audience. "I get to play and have fun every night. It's great to see the faces of the audience just jump alive when I make eye contact with them during a performance. You can see the audience being transported to another world."

Circus Performers - The Downside

Despite what many people think, the life of a circus performer isn't all high-flying fun and games and clowning around. It's more glamorous than being an accountant, but there are some drawbacks. Circus performers work long days and spend a lot of time away from home. "On tour, you don't really have anywhere to call home and you're always thinking about that night's show," says Philippa. "I miss my home and garden and I don't see my family. You have to work a lot of long hours and weekends as well."

Circus Performers - How's the Circus Bling?

How much money you make in the circus all depends on what your act is, how much experience you have and what circus company you're working for. For example, the lead acrobat or trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil or Ringling Brothers is going to make more moola than the guy who sells programs or shovels up the crap from the lion's cage. Entry-level jobs in the circus might pay around $300 a week, while featured performers like acrobats, contortionists or trapeze artists can make between $40,000 to $70,000 a year. You also get free room and board while you're traveling with the show, which is an added perk.

Circus Performers - Finding a Circus Job

For more info on job openings with a circus, check out the following links.

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Coolest Kind of Circus Performer?

  • Acrobat.
  • Trapeze artist.
  • Juggler.
  • Clown.

Dear Dish-It In The Forums

Fun_125
Fun_125 posted in Friends:
I've had friends like this. The relationship made me unhappy so I took a step back. From what I think is that she isnt your real friend. This happens to the best of us. Does it suck? Yes. It does very much. When she grows up and realizes that you aren't there then she can be annoyed. But until then maybe stop spending a lot of time with her...
reply about 2 hours
Autonomy
"Lulu335" wrote: I live in a military family, which means we have to move A LOT. I'm halfway through 6th grade, and I'm really stressed out. The reason is because I have a guy who really likes me, and we liked each other back in the 5th grade, and he's even got me presents and everything, but now I'm starting to doubt whether I still like him or not. And he is a great guy; he's silly, funny, kind- but I just don't know if he's the right guy for me. Plus there's a friend of mine who I know likes me as more than a friend, and he's a great guy, too. I really need advise!! Oh sweetheart, your situation is so, so very far from being complicated. In fact, it's actually, entirely simple. But I'm here to help you see that, because you can't see it yourself quite yet. Brace yourself, you may never hear such advice in your life ever again. Or you might, I can't predict the future. You're in sixth grade, you said. Assuming you live in the United states and weren't held back, you're probably 12, maybe 11. The problem is, the human brain isn't fully developed until a person hits the age of about 25. This means, without debate, that your brain unable to fully grasp what being in a relationship actually entails, what it means, what the consequences are, and so forth. You can't even fathom it, my dear. I couldn't at your age; no one can. You've just begun to hit puberty at this point in your very young, completely normal life. Certain hormones are now being developed by your body that, up until puberty began, your body did not produce. Let me explain, in simple terms, what this means: these new hormones are giving you fuzzy feelings for boys, but these feelings are not what people with fully developed brains call "love." Love means being self sacrificing, compromising, giving and taking, communicating clearly and honestly, and so much more. What you're feeling is a part of love-romance-but it's not all there is to love. It's actually just a few simple chemicals being released in your brain: dopamine, serotonin, oxytocin, and few others. Your brain releases those chemicals when, say, you see a boy you like, and those chemicals make you feel all fuzzy inside. In fact, (brace yourself,) there's nothing inherently special about the boys you like, or the boys that like you; in fact, they're also, entirely normal, and aside from a few minor differences in character, completely like most other boys their age. Had you been born in another town, gone to another school, you would have gotten the same fuzzy feeling about whatever boy you thought you liked at that school. You see? I'm not saying this to make you feel insignificant, but perhaps the insight will make moving easier for you. The next place your militant parents settle down in will also have a middle school, with a bunch of normal 11-14 year old boys and girls, all doing the exact same things the kids at your school do right now. Does that put things in perspective for you? The world is a very, very big place, and it's home to billions upon billions of people. Your situation is far from being a needle in a hay stack; it's more like a blade of grass, in a vast field of foliage. The feelings you're feeling aren't uncommon or complicated, they just feel that way to you. (Now, really brace yourself, because this is going to get uncomfortable.) We, as people, tend to think that we're special. Each one of us a unique snowflake, drifting about in big blue sky, that exists solely to show the world how special we are. The problem is, the other seven billions snowflakes (people) think exactly like we do, and in this way, we are all the same. We think our problems are new problems that no one has ever dealt with before, and no one else could possibly understand the pain and suffering we're going through. We all think this way, by nature; but it's simply naive. Heartache and suffering have existed since people existed, and possibly before then. Your situation may not be ideal to you, but once you come to terms with the fact that life isn't ideal for anyone, you might actually feel comfort. The easiest way to cope with our many problems, is to accept them for what they are: a part of the human experience. Natural, normal, repeating generation after generation without end. Again, these are concepts that require some deep thought, and you might not fully grasp them quite yet. But remember them. With time, as you grow, think about them more, and you will find peace with your life. And remember this: although you're stuck (for now) on a giant rock hurling around the sun at an incredible speed, you're not alone. With billions of other people stuck here with you, you'll never be without friends.
reply about 12 hours
Fun_125
I personally think that when you ARE ready then go for it! As long as the person you like isn't a jerk to anyone or you go for it! Just don't get too serious. It's middle school. Good luck!
reply about 14 hours
Error44
"Lulu335" wrote:I live in a military family, which means we have to move A LOT. I'm halfway through 6th grade, and I'm really stressed out. The reason is because I have a guy who really likes me, and we liked each other back in the 5th grade, and he's even got me presents and everything, but now I'm starting to doubt whether I still like him or not. And he is a great guy; he's silly, funny, kind- but I just don't know if he's the right guy for me. Plus there's a friend of mine who I know likes me as more than a friend, and he's a great guy, too. I really need advise!!I know, it is too late but I think you should not go for a deeper relationship, don't make it hard for yourself and try to be his just friend because you are so young .
reply about 17 hours
Error44
"queenslay173" wrote:I was at school when I noticed people started to tell me this boy liked me and I thought it was cool because I'm used to that type of stuff then we started to dated in October we broke up right before christmas and it was so strange. we got back together in the beginning of January and we broke up again on the 4 my friends are really mad at me and he seemed really upset I like him but I just don't want to be with him anymore what should I do ?- confused lover Tell him your reasons and make it clear for both of you
reply about 17 hours