Circus death by old age?

by hexacoto

Someone once asked me, “Is doing circus tiring?” and I replied, “Yea, sometimes after circus, I’d get so sore and tired I wouldn’t be able to pick things up from the floor.”

“Maybe I’m getting old,” I joked.

To which he asked, “What, how old are you, 23, 24?”

“25,” I replied.

“Yea, that’s like probably like circus death, isn’t it?” he said.

Which I suppose is kind of true. In Cirque du Soleil, most circus performers get their best run in their early 20’s, and by the time they’re after 25, they start to consider retiring from circus. Or so I’ve heard.

Maybe my aches are telling I’m getting old, maybe I should cool down with the exertion, but then what fun would circus be if one is going to do a geriatric version of it?

Aches and sores are external, but what about the internal aspects of circus? Some of my circus peers and friends who are dancers feel that at a certain age, they should settle into a sort of gravitas and step away from the limelight; it is time to “act one’s age.”

But that indicates that there is a certain way to behave when one is of “that age.” Should a 50-year old stop dancing in public because it is unseemly? The moment you stop working on your craft is the moment you give in to these societal pressures about what one’s age should be.

I should be able to spin my fans in public even if I’m not considered to be “in my prime” any more. I’ll stop spinning the day my arms refuse to lift the fans any longer and my legs can work my unicycle no longer.

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