When I was little I tried every sport. Ballet, soccer, swimming, sailing, track. All of them. Nothing really challenged me.
Then I stumbled across the circus. I fell in love with the music, the lights…and of course the applause. I became obsessed with the spinning rope act. I was so obsessed with the act that I trained and trained everyday doing pull ups, leg lifts and rope climbs. I trained until my hands were red and calloused, my legs bruised and the back of my knees raw. I trained for a year, until finally, I got to star in the act. The feeling was magical, I’ve been in the spinning rope act every year since.
Two years ago I became a Ringmistress. Between the demanding physical challenges and regularly speaking publicly in front of thousands upon thousands of people, circus has made me into the person who is unafraid of anyone or anything. At the age of 16, I am ready to take on the world. I am confident. I am strong. I am me. And I have dreams. Dreams of spinning on the rope under the big top, dreams filled with the applause and adoration and amazement of audiences.
But America’s largest circus has just closed its doors. What does that mean for the future of the circus? What does that mean for MY future in circus?
Circus is forever. Audiences change. The world changes. Circus adapts. In a world where our experiences are electronic, our friends are on social media and games are on screens instead of backyards, we need a more intimate kind of circus. One that offers realness. Where you can see artists muscles strain and their foreheads drip with sweat. One that offers real people doing incredible things. Just a few feet away.
That is me. That is us. We are the future of circus. We are Sailor Circus.
– Grace, age 16, from Sailor Circus (Sarasota, FL)