You don’t need to run away from home to join the circus

Last week, I saw a performance of Circus Contraption at The Seattle Center with some friends. We were all left agape by the aerialists as they climbed ropes, hoisted, hung, and balanced themselves high above the ground.

I thought back to seeing acrobats as a child at the circus and realized how much more impressive they are as you get older and realize how much strength, balance, and just plain nerves are required to accomplish these amazing feats. When you're a kid, nothing is impossible. Hanging upside-down by the crook of your ankles doesn't sound so hard when you're a kid. When you're older, the same feat makes you shiver with excitement.

To learn more, you can read an article from the University of Washington school newspaper (click through to the "mangled" version to see pictures) or read the blog of an Aerialistas member.

If you too want to join the circus, you don't need to leave Seattle. You can take flying lessons with Trapezius, the school where the Aerialistas train. Or, as one of my friends discovered, you can go for a broader circus training at The School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts.

I hadn't realized how much circus-y stuff there is in Seattle. In addition to Circus Contraption, my friend also pointed out Teatro ZinZanni, a sort of dinner theater circus thing.

Comments (6)
  1. Memet says:

    Rock on Raymond, for the appreciation.

    I’m actually a circus performer myself, based in Montreal, Canada. I do silks. I kind of stumbled into it about 3 years ago completely at random. Just had never even crossed my mind up till that point.

    It turns out it’s ‘easy’. In that I’ve been training for 3 years (3~4 hours a day I must add), and despite being 25 I’m pretty much a professional now. I had some background in the arts, but really nothing intense like gymnastics or ballet.

    I still make my bread money by programming about a 3rd of my time…

    If you want to check out the school, go right ahead, you are bound to meet cool people who most likely will be as varied in backgrounds as you can imagine: when I first went to a recreational school, there was a surprising amount of technical oriented people (e.g. doctors, programmers etc)

    Anyways, thanks again for being appreciative about it.

  2. Memet says:

    Being high up isn’t as scary as you might think… or rather, it’s not scary in the way you might expect.

    My last gig was at around 40 feet, and looking down, it really looks ok. The really freaky part is looking up because you are so close to things that really should not be close to you: for example you can see all the little details of the lighting grid, the lights themselves (which are actually pretty big, and very hot), and even fire sprinklers. They’re just there about 4 feet from your reach, and when you stop and think about it, you really wonder what the heck you’re doing up there =)

    But then your music cues in, and perform you go =)

  3. Scott says:

    They had a trapeze school set up by the Hudson river (I think) in NYC over the summer. I wonder if that’s the new fad, or if it’s over by now?

  4. Chip H. says:

    There’s also the Florida State Circus:

    It’s open to any student who wants to learn to perform an act.

  5. Ryan Phelps says:

    As an alumni myself, I recommend the Wenatchee Youth Circus for all those people in Washington. I spent some good summers with them in my youth. They usually do a show for Renton River Days if you want to check them out and live near enough.

  6. stuartd says:

    Hi Raymond: a bit offtopic but I was looking at the MS community blog portal and you got 4/5 for MS blogs:

    Microsoft Blogs


    Raymond Chen, Nov 15, 2004


    Raymond Chen, Dec 2, 2004


    Raymond Chen, Dec 1, 2004

    Krzysztof Cwalina [Why is this a category?]

    Krzysztof Cwalina, Nov 18, 2004


    Raymond Chen, Dec 13, 2004

    Keep up the good work!


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