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Sunday, February 3, 2013

The One With The Origin Story

“Why circus”

It’s a question I have been asked many times this year but one I have trouble answering. I began examining all the times circus has crossed a path across my life. Going through a closet at my parent’s house I unearthed what was probably the first piece of art I could remember wanting to hang on my wall. It was a print of the unfinished circus painting by Georges Seurat. I obviously identified with the impish woman in a tutu parading around the circus ring on a spirited mount. I would go on to spend many summers of my youth on a ranch attempting to vault from galloping horses or riding backwards to the amusement of anyone who might be watching.

I'm pretty sure the likeness is uncanny
Maybe my taste for absurdest comedy and white face paint was solidified by my youth theater group when I was cast to play Pickles the clown. To this day I can clearly remember my mentor attempting to explain the mechanics of slapstick comedy to me.

But it was so obvious...I should have seen it coming

Scully after her first performance

But all these experiences were in my past. In my adult life traditional circus was almost a thing of the past. Elephants and tigers were retired for extravagant stage shows show casing human talent. But as the circus change though so did I. I traded in my childish whimsy for an industrial attitude and there was no time for clowning around.

Scully in the office
I enrolled in the Arizona State University and earned a degree in Supply Chain management. It was all strictly business when I accepted a job at a corporation and relocated to Texas to begin my life as an “Adult”.  However, it took me several years to learn that the most important part of being an adult is staying true to yourself and in my case that means being just a little bit silly. Slowing my quirkiness started leaking into the office and when the right door was opened…

Dark circus?...Yes Please!
I took the opportunity! What I was surprised to find on the other side was a flourishing circus community. I was completely engrossed by the vibrant, dynamic and truly amazing people that make up circus. It’s not all silliness, face paint and balloon animals…okay there is a lot of that…but there is also skill, beauty and tradition that permeates this culture.

So when people ask me “Why Circus?” the only response I can muster is “Why not…”. Why not this colorful and challenging discipline? Why not learn a new skill? Why not make someone smile? And so in probably the least traditional fashion possible I have run away to join the circus.

I invite you to join me!

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