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After I used to take into consideration circus lifestyles, I imagined that the thrills I noticed throughout the ring hid a lonely life: transferring from one position to some other with little, if any, connection to anything else however the display itself. What I discovered in my two days behind the scenes with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey — because it prepped and carried out in Fairfax, Va., simply out of doors Washington — used to be reasonably the other.
It used to be a particularly poignant time to seek advice from the circus. Ringling, the biggest circus on this planet, will move darkish for excellent on Would possibly 21, and the performers and group participants have been brazenly grieving the verdict to near. They have been additionally actively making plans their subsequent circus jobs — as a result of, as they mentioned, the display should move on, despite the fact that it’s in different places.
“That is our circle of relatives,” mentioned the self-described “little man” Paulo Dos Santos, an acrobat and daredevil who’s a celeb of this 12 months’s display, “Out of This International.”
Ringling, it seems, is a circle of relatives that cherishes its insular nature and is in large part devoid of the type of top-down hierarchy that may make operating at maximum puts stifling and irritating.
Most of the performers are married to, or courting, others within the troupe. Their youngsters are all over the place: They roam the hallways on scooters, stroll round on their fingers, move slowly beneath scaffolding, take a seat atop sound circumstances, hug clowns, beg for pizza at a…