People often ask me, “so what do you do in the circus?”. Then I tell them that I don’t work for an actual circus, but I am a circus artist. This is when I usually get a funny look and they become even more curious. This is generally followed up with questions such as: “So where do you work then?”. Well, this blog post is going to answer that.
It’s not unusual to see professional artists who don’t work in a traditional circus or Cirque du Soleil. There are many other work opportunities available that stretch beyond the big top and theatre circuses. Some of these areas include the following:
Half Time Shows
Big Top Circus/Cirque Du Soleil/other theatrical circuses
Now, I won’t sugar coat things. The fact is, performing alone as your full time work is very difficult unless you have a contract with a cruise line or large circus production. Many of the most successful circus & variety performers that I know, also have some type of side project or side job for additional income and job security. This includes things like opening their own studios, teaching workshops/private lessons regularly, making & selling custom circus apparatus, making & selling costumes, running their own event entertainment agency, or there are individuals (like me) who do freelance jobs such as web development.
So how does one begin to approach making a career in circus arts? Well, I can offer a few of my own tips:
A) Find what makes you unique, what makes you stand out, and run with it.
B) Really spend time developing quality material with clean transitions and good stage presence.
C) Unless you are performing an act that is truly one of a kind, chances are you will need to be proficient in two different disciplines to get consistent work. For example: having a solid aerial act and a solid ground act.
D) Network with the community/agents/event planners/fellow artists, you won’t get far without it.
E) Treat it as a job, because that is what it is. Be professional, punctual, well spoken, and develop quality marketing materials. I’ve met a few individuals who randomly decided they want to be circus artists, but they treated circus as an escape from responsibility and were unprofessional. Needless to say, they don’t usually last.
F) If you are lucky enough to have the opportunity (not all of us are), enroll in a quality circus program that can get you in the door with jobs upon graduation.
G) Always keep growing and challenging yourself. Address your weaknesses and never stop learning.
D) Most importantly, enjoy yourself!
So for those who were just curious, I hope I answered your question. For those who are aspiring artists, hopefully I gave you some helpful insights.
Hugs and Hula Hoops,
Tue Feb 20 2018 15:35:20 GMT-0600