When I tell people; “I work as a circus performer,” I always get: “So you’re a clown?” or “So you’ve run away and joined a circus now, have you?” For me, I haven’t physically “run away” (unless if you count Mississauga as far from North York, then I run away at least four times a week) but I have metaphorically run “into” a circus.
Through dance and school, circus came into my life and now I just can’t get enough. I have conducted these interviews to find out how some of the performers and artists of A2D2 ~ Aerial Dance Cirque Company, got started on their journey into the world of circus, why they do it, and what they recommend for new performers.
1. How did you get started?
I came to circus later than most and I most definitely took a circuitous path to get here!!!! As a child and teenager I was a competitive equestrian with my eyes firmly set on Olympic competition as a Dressage rider. I competed at the provincial and national level and I was, I suppose, somewhat consumed by the equestrian world. During my time as a competitive rider one of the other activities I was lucky enough to participate in was equestrian vaulting which is, in essence, acrobatics on horseback. So that may have been my first taste of the circus world! From there my life changed paths drastically for a number of years when I went away to university where I studied English Literature and eventually ended up at Law School at Osgoode Hall in Toronto. Around this time I began to feel the lack of both artistic and physical pursuits in my life and I just happened to meet someone who was/is a fantastic circus artist who was offering introductory aerial rope classes. It sounded like just the thing!!!! I started on rope and then trapeze…and the rest I suppose is history. I fell in love with the circus arts and the opportunity they offered to express myself artistically and physically. I also fell in love with the wonderful people, like the DeAngelis’s, whom I have met in this beautiful world and I’ve been hooked since. I said goodbye to the world of law and started performing professionally a year or so later. So that’s how I came to join the circus!!!!
2. How long have you been training/performing?
I have been training circus specifically for the past 5 years and performing professionally for about 4.
3. Do you perform/train on multiple apparatus’s and if so which is your favorite? (If you have one?)
I love all aerial apparatus and train regularly on trapeze, aerial rope and aerial silks. I also perform on hammock and have recently started enjoying working on hoop as well. My first and enduring loves are static trapeze and aerial rope. I am also getting very interested in non aerial circus disciplines like hand balancing and contortion.
4. Why do you love circus?
I love the combination of physicality and artistry that the circus arts offer. I suppose I have also secretly always wanted to be an actor and the circus arts have also offered me a chance to explore that side of my personality as well.
5. Did you have an athletic discipline prior to training circus arts? (What was it? Do you do it now? Why or why not?)
The answer to this was somewhat exhausted in my LONG answer to the first question!!!!
6. Where do you see yourself in the next five years?
That’s a big question. Wow. I see myself still working to improve my skills, challenging myself to acquire new ones and to widen my horizons both in the circus world and the big old world outside!!!!! 5 years is a long time!!!!! I see sharing my passion as a teacher, as a performer and as a eternal student. ;
7. Any recommendations for new circus performers or trainers?
If you have a passion stick with it and believe, even when the path is a bit bumpy, that you can succeed. Circus arts, like any artistic pursuit, is a challenging way to make a life but for me the struggle is worth it if you get to live your life doing what you really love. So I suppose always remember why you started doing this in the first place!!!