Sunset over Smirkus

The weather finally cleared in the afternoon and the view at sunset was beautiful. The troupers made tie-dyed t-shirts out on the grass in the new sunshine while the rain clouds blew apart overhead. The sky was clear blue and as the sun dropped, the horizon turned pink, then purple.

ImageAfter dinner during troupe and coach meetings, I walked into the field behind the tents to where the fields rolled away to the edge of the woods and the sun’s final rays softly stretched towards Smirkus’ farmhouse office. The shadows lengthened over the tops of the big striped tents and the air smelled of the freshly mowed grass. It had been a busy day as usual and it was nice to get away from all the activity of the circus, even just for a few minutes.

It’s hard to imagine a more idyllic situation, but this really is my work environment and the environment in which Circus Smirkus develops and builds before embarking on tour. Such a setting is typical of Vermont in the summertime. At the same time, it’s also typical of Smirkus. There are dozens of youth circuses around the continental United States and even hundreds of circuses around the world. Yet Smirkus remains singular among similar circuses and one reason is this: Smirkus still maintains an intimate kind of a feel and that is one of the reasons that a small youth circus hailing from the green mountains of Vermont is held dearly by so many.

As I write this, the performance is in its very final stages of production and the last tweaks and modifications to are being added to a two hour and fifteen minute show. The wheels are about to be put into motion and when they do, there’ll be no stopping until August. As today’s dress rehearsal draws closer, the tension is building but these performers are demonstrating a remarkable amount of control, professionalism and grace. They are runners at the starting line, taking that last breath before the plunge.

In hindsight, that may have been the last sunset I’ll have time to appreciate for a while.

Evan Johnson, Communications Intern

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