by Heidi Nelson
TIP # 2: Hit the Road, Jack!
Circuses have home bases in cities like Montreal, New York, or San Francisco, but performers only spend a fraction of their time there. Touring is a vital part of circus shows and has made it the popular and iconic form of entertainment that it is today. In larger circuses like Big Apple or Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey, each season’s show is comprised of many acts from all over the world, most of which are contracted independently season by season. In any given year, a circus could include acrobats from China, Russian Bar performers, an English lion tamer, German sea lion trainers, American clowns, and more. While you might spend one season with the Big Apple, the next year you could be travelling with a smaller troupe or even taking your act on the road yourself with a few family members or colleagues. Even ensemble companies like Les 7 doigts de la main that stay together year after year include performers from as far away as Sweden, Ukraine, France, Germany, and the United States. One filmmaker is making a documentary about World Circus Culture because there is so much social and cultural exchange between circus artists across the globe. If you’re cool with the scenery in your backyard changing all the time, then you’ll have no problems.