Editor’s Note: Stuart Krasna wrote about the lessons he hoped his 2-year-old daughter would learn about life from the circus back in January 2013. More than a year and many circus visits later, he evaluates his mission. – KMcK.
Our 4-year-old daughter knows more about the circus than her peers and most other people.
She appreciates that the circus combines many different genres (dance, acting, music, art, athleticism) and includes technology, artistic expression, teamwork and altruism. She understands that the circus is also a business with a mission.
She knows that circus life is an alternative one – a self-contained community that travels almost anywhere they want to put on a show – and a complex one, from the setting up of equipment to the individual steps that combine to create a performer’s maneuver to the inevitable breaking down of the equipment to move on to the next show.
She also knows the circus is not always smiles and laughs. Everything and everybody is not always happy-go-lucky. Some performers get hurt or need to rest. She’s seen some near misses herself. Still, she sees these performers return stronger than ever, and in no way is she herself deterred from attempting great feats, such as sliding down a pole in the playground after failed attempts where I must catch her. (She refers to the pole as the Chinese Pole. Gotta love that)
Our daughter has become comfortable in the big top now, and knows the circus is here to stay in our family. Likewise, the circus is also stuck with us, and I hope they don’t mind. I’ve learned the circus loves their fans, but to go further, to become involved, you need to have something to offer that benefits their work. I’ve been trying to juggle three balls for the last six months. I almost got it. I also went to a weekend clown workshop where I was taught by three great masters: Dick Monday, Barry “Grandma” Lubin and Tiffany Riley. They said I connect to the audience very well. I’ll get there one day.
By the end of last season, we had met many of the performers and staff at the Big Apple Circus, and at our last show, a souvenir program was passed around, and every performer went out of their way to write something in it for us (while the show was going on no less.) This last gesture symbolized our passion for the genre, and we quickly put that gem away in a safe place until our daughter becomes old enough to appreciate what it truly is: a gift from the most talented and renowned performers in the world.
– Stuart Krasna is a full time stay-at-home parent and lives in New York City with his wife and their daughter. In addition to being a daddy, Stuart also likes to play musical instruments and go running in Central Park. Most recently, Stuart and his family have become passionate about circus arts. Stuart has spent the last year trying to learn how to juggle three balls. He still hasn’t done it. Before becoming a parent, Stuart worked in a beige cubicle in an office building.