Circus Smirkus and its 30-member youth troupe kicks off its 32nd annual summer tour of New England with a handful of Granite State performances.
Circus Smirkus, which is based in Greensboro, Vt., is the only “tented” traveling youth circus in the United States, performing under traditional European-style circus tents, said tour manager Diane Zeigler.
The 2019 Big Top Tour took to the road June 29 and will travel through Aug. 18 with a caravan that requires some 23-support vehicles and 80 people including artists, a tent crew and a live circus band playing an original score written specifically for this show.
This year’s “Carnival” theme was inspired by the elegance of the carousel ride, the thrill of the roller coaster and games of chance and skill. Juggler, acrobats and wire walkers will run for their lives through the haunted mansion, try their luck at the ring toss, balance their way through the house of fun and discover romance in the tunnel of love.
Show times in coming weeks in New Hampshire are 1 and 6 p.m. Monday and Tuesday, July 15-16, at Cheshire Fairgrounds, 247 Monadnock Highway, Swanzey, and Thursday through Saturday, July 18-20, at Fullington Farm Field, Route 10, Hanover.
The New Hampshire shows are part of a 69-show tour that will visit five states and 16 towns in 51 days this summer. Ranging in age from 11 to 18, the budding circus stars come from the United States and Canada. The troupe includes New Hampshire performers Ben Miron, 17, of Bedford, and Jacob Crow, 16, of Merrimack.
“My goals for this summer are to do a handstand on the Chinese pole and to get a lot better at banquine (an acrobatic ensemble of catchers and flyers),” said Miron, who attends High Mowing School in Wilton and has worked with the Flying Gravity Circus. “I’m really excited for the carnival theme this year at Circus Smirkus. There is going to be so much exciting stuff to see.”
Miron has trained at Circus Smirkus camp for two years.
Crow, who is home schooled, said competitive gymnastics paved the way to his interest in circus performance at age 14.
“I was introduced to circus arts by a friend, and he quickly learned circus was just what I was looking for. Hand balancing, contortion, acrobatics, aerial fabric are my main focus, but I also train in contemporary dance, ballet and jazz,” he said.
Two Hanover High School students who live in Norwich, Vt., right over the New Hampshire border, are also a part of this year’s troupe.
“The first time I auditioned last year, it was terrifying,” said William Ciardelli, 15. “All the kids were so talented. But I really wanted to be on tour, so I trained all year long for this year’s audition. I was lucky enough to be cast in the show. I have loved every minute of it. The coaches are amazing, and I’ve made life-long friends.”
Miki Hertog-Raz, also 15, said the audience reactions are part of the fun.
“I love seeing the kids in the audience sitting around the stage with their eyes wide and their mouths hanging open as they watch us perform,” Hertog-Raz said.
For tickets, go to smirkus.org.