Work Behind the Spotlight

Chelsea performing jump rope

What does it take to put on a circus show? A lot of hard work, commitment, and time. Circus performances are beautiful and full of entertainment for the entire family. The music matches the motions perfectly, and everyone performs amazing tricks, but these beautiful tricks take months of hard work. All circus shows take work, whether you are a performer in a massive theater in front of thousands of people like Cirque du Soleil or you perform at the Aronoff Center (a large performing arts center in downtown Cincinnati, Ohio where my circus troupe, My Nose Turns Red (MNTR), performs in front of our close family and friends).

Hard work is the most important aspect of circus. If you don’t work towards your goals, then you won’t be able to achieve them. When this hard work is put in you will achieve perfection on your trick faster. Persistence goes hand in hand with hard work. Part of the work is consistently attempting the trick at hand. Working hard on the trick for one class will do nothing for you. If you combine work with persistence, then you will have the trick faster.

Hard work also goes along with commitment. There can’t be a good show if performers miss rehearsals. If this happens, then they won’t know what to do and may not be able to perform. Commitment is another key component to work behind the spotlight because if you aren’t fully committed to what you’re doing and you don’t care if you miss classes, then you won’t be able to perform on stage. Everyone has to stay committed or the performance will fall apart.

Not only is commitment required for circus, but you will also need to put in a lot of time. Even in youth circus performances, students will spend hours at their circus studios every week. Some students will spend many days there as well. You must be prepared to spend a lot of your time working on your skills and perfecting your performance outside of class. After the act has a basic outline, the performers need to start learning the routine. Depending on the skill level and difficulty of the trick, the performer may need a while to learn it. This has to be put into consideration when planning for a performance. No good performance can happen in a day. At least a few weeks will be needed to create a good routine and then a while longer to perfect the work.

I had to put all of these key components to work when I was learning how to jump into jump rope. When MNTR was training for our end of year show we were working on our teen piece. We have a group called “Circus Youth in Action” also known as CYA where teen students work on their coaching skills along with advancing skills that our whole group works on. This year we decided to create our own act for the end of year show which we call the “Extravaganza.” This year CYA decided to create a jump rope piece, but I had never tried jumping in before and that was the main part of the piece. I had to work hard every hour we practiced during class time and I also had to practice at home. After I worked on it many hours for a few days, I could do it! This is just one example of many times I have had to put in the commitment, spend a lot of time practicing, and use hard work to achieve one of my circus goals.

Circus is very rewarding, but you have to work for it. Some of the many benefits include getting to meet new people, being physically active, and having fun. This makes all of the work, commitment, and time well worth it. It takes a lot to put on a circus performance, but it’s just all part of the work you have to do behind the spotlight.

– Chelsea

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