How to: Join the Circus!

Remember when you went to the circus for the first time? Maybe you just saw it in a movie or a book, and were swept away by the magic and adventure that it promised. You were probably in awe and amazed by the talented people you saw. Maybe you even told your parents you wanted to run away and join the circus. Well, it isn’t such a far fetched idea. There are many types of circuses and troupes of performers, so if it’s something you’ve secretly wanted to do, now is the time!

Whether you have an amazing, unique skill or not, it’s never too late to start. Any type of performance can be used in a circus. Some most popular are trapezists, jugglers, poi spinners, fire breathers, aerial silks, pole dancers, acrobats, clowns, stilt walkers, magicians, tightrope walkers, and many more! These don’t have to be skills people are born with. Most are just practiced over and over until a goal is reached. 

If you want to work on a skill, all you have to do is practice. It may be frustrating, but a passion will develop as you learn new or better ways to do things. Once you get the basics down, it’s time to start building a routine.

Once you have a routine, make a demo to start auditioning for troupes. Start performing in front of friends, family members, and anyone that will watch.

If performing isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other jobs to do in a circus, like making costumes, makeup, stage setup, music, advertising, booking, and more.

There are also things such as circus schools. If you’re serious about being in the circus, joining one of these will be helpful. There are also lots of local troupes that perform for parties, private events, cruises, fairs, and festivals. All you have to do is know where to look.

People in troupes are usually willing to add another committed member, the more the merrier! It’s all about networking, and the more you get out there, the more people you meet and the more opportunities will come your way.

Working at any event you can will help build your resume, which means you will be more likely to get hired if something bigger pops up. In the event you are part of a circus, be prepared to travel a lot and be away from home for long periods of time. The amount of time spent away will differ, of course, depending on the circus itself.

You will also probably have to be in shape since performing is physically demanding and you don’t want to end up getting injured.

If injuries do happen, which they might, it is up to you if you want to remain dedicated and push through any obstacles that happen. Overall, your safety is important so be careful and be prepared.

The life of a circus performer is not going to be glamorous or filled with riches. It will be hard, you may have to make your own costumes and makeup, things will get dirty and sweaty and things may not always go smoothly. There isn’t a ton of money to be made unless you’re in the big leagues, so don’t do it for the money. Do it because you love it, and everything will be worth it.

Joining the circus is something to be proud of. It’s where the most talented and unique people in the world go to show off their skills and entertain people from all walks of life. Bringing happiness and awe to people is a great way to spend your time, so pick a skill and get started!


(As a disclaimer, be sure to do your research on circus groups as well, since some with animals might not be treating them well, and animal safety and happiness is important.)



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