by Nicole Funes
To be a clown is to create a fantasy, make children giggle, and take risks.
It also means falling on your bottom, again and again. Like the first time I was in 3rd grade and riding high on stilts, but stopped a second to catch my breath and tumbled backwards onto my butt. You see, like in life, you have to keep moving on stilts.
In life and as a clown, I’m a good juggler. I juggle oranges on weekends and homework on weeknights.
When I first saw my sister balance on a tight-wire while wearing a pink tutu with a red nose, I decided I had follow the family tradition of being in the circus.
However, to actually be in the circus and perform in shows, clown trainees have to be qualified in at least one trick or specialty, whether it be juggling, uni-cycling, acrobatics or globe – a painted ball of clay on which you have to jump.
After training for seven months, I knew how to do most of the tricks but couldn’t get qualified to perform them because I would get nervous. Despite this, I decided to stay with the circus and overcome my stage fright. Soon I successfully qualified in juggling, acrobatics, and stilts.
After two years, my time in the circus came to a curtain. By sixth grade, I was too old to perform since they have an age limit but was invited to participate in summer shows and mentor incoming trainees.
At the end of the summer program we had four big shows in one day at the Alice Arts Center.
People never see the blood (yes, when you fall hard!) , sweat ,and tears. They just see your performance. You honk your nose, take your bow and disappear.