I want to join the circus

I love the circus. Cirque du Soleil has trounced all of the homespun touring circuses of the recent past with their reliance on animal acts of lions, tigers and bejewelled elephants. Recently I visited the oldest touring circus in Australia. Joseph Ashton founded the family circus dynasty in 1853 and today the family has adapted the traditional acts to encompass new skills of physical daring.

Over the past two decades animal activists have lobbied hard to secure the release of performance animals from circuses. The Ashton family was faced with change or perish. now they have only two animal acts – dogs and stallions. Instead the circus family members from toddlers upwards pride themselves on a range of acrobatic, wire walking, juggling, trapeze and clown skills. Their tight little community multi tasks from box office duties, ring maintenance and selling hot chips and popcorn. All dedicated, all focused to continue the life of entertaining their audience. They will do what it takes to upscale their skills and come up with new acts to replace old, to compete with the high-tech glamour of Cirque du Soleil.

One act performed on the slack wire I found encapsulated the joy of a circus performer, with each new daring feat I saw how present in the moment the performer had to be to maintain his balance. The circus community pulls together and whether they are practicing or performing they are in the moment. In the joyful moment of who they are. In the moment that’s when we step into our power.

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