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The official Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour Blog

Smirkus A Family Affair for Newton residents

Editor’s note: This story first appeared in the Newton TAB on June 19, 2018 and was written by Nick Greenhalgh.  Whether you call them ‘Smirkos’ or troupers, jugglers or trapezists, or father and son, Vermont’s Circus Smirkus operates as a tightly knit circus family. In Newton, one family has taken the family atmosphere literally. When the Big Top Tour kicks off next week, 17-year-old Newton resident Chase Levy will be front and center. In his third year on tour, Chase will showcase his growing skills in partner acrobatics and diabolo, or chinese yo-yo. His father, Andrew, won’t be far off as he…

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Vaudeville Show Pitch

Editor’s Note: This post was written by Tour Communications Intern Jenna Danyew Longtime Smirkus Composer Peter Bufano slowly turned up the volume on his laptop. His original score filled the rafters of the circus barn and wrapped itself around the troupers huddled on the floor a few feet away. They paused, coconut and strawberry popsicles hovering a few inches from their mouths as they leaned back into each other, a collective unit. Mark Lonergan’s theatrical voice spoke over the music. “OK troupers, it’s time for the show pitch!”  he announced, turning on the slide projector and starting his presentation.   For those of…

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Letter from a Trouper: Lola Picayo

Editor’s note: This post was written by Lola Picayo, 5th year trouper.  Smirkus has taught me more in the past five years than I ever imagined I’d learn in a tent. More than just incredible circus skills and performance ability, I’ve learned how to interact with people from diverse backgrounds, hold my own in unfamiliar spaces and truly revel in being myself. Smirkus has given me my best friend, a network of familiar faces across the Northeast, and a confidence and faith in myself I’m not sure I would’ve found had I not been accepted on tour in 2014. My first year…

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Hollywood Actor, Chris Grabher

“Smirkus runs deep in our veins.” In a phone interview Chris Grabher explains how Smirkus impacted his life personally and professionally. At age 10, Chris auditioned and was accepted to be in the Big Top Tour, and performed from 1991-2000. Today Chris lives in LA and is an actor and stunt performer in the television and movie business. “My best friends are from Smirkus. They were at my wedding, they are part of my professional network. I’m fortunate to have them as my core group of people.” When he looks back on his career, he says that Smirkus gave him a…

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Meet Brin Schoellkopf

It’s an exciting time for 4th year graduating ENC student and Smirkus Alumni Brin Schoellkopf. This month, he’ll have just performed his wire act at TOHU, a unique performance space located in Montreal created especially for circus arts. Brin, along with another graduating ENC student, had the honor of representing the École Nationale de Cirque in the 3rd annual Coup de Coeur, translating roughly to ‘a special place in your heart’ or ‘falling in love’, a circus variety show featuring circus artists from around the world. This was Brin’s opportunity to try out the new act he’s been developing for final evaluations in…

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Meet Ruby Frank

Editor’s note: This post was written by Ruby Frank, 1st year trouper & former Smirkus Camper. She is the ten year old daughter of Daniel Frank (former Smirkus Camp Coach & former Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus clown) and Deena Marcum Selko (former Smirkus Camp Coach and Founder, Artistic Director & Head Coach of the Moth Poetic Circus in Denver, Colorado. Watch the video for an interview with Ruby and then read her post below: I guess you could say that I am a “Smirkus baby”. My Mom is an aerialist and she runs her own circus school and my Dad was…

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VIDEO: Smirkus and The Impact of Stories

Vermont Story Lab is a network of nonprofits and individuals with a common goal: to weave storytelling through the fabric of nonprofit organizations to expand our reach and impact. Watch this video of Circus Smirkus development specialist Scott Robbins as he talks about the impact of stories at Smirkus.

What Are Live Auditions?

Editor’s note: Watch the video above by Smirkus volunteer Andy Bell and read the post below to learn more about what the live auditions weekend is like, which occurs each year in January. Troupers who apply, submit videos for preliminary review, and are then chosen to attend the audition weekend participate in a series of evaluations, workshops, and open performances that judges review to choose the final Smirkus Troupe each year. HOW SMIRKUS AUDITIONS WORK Since 1987, The Big Top Tour has brought together 30 highly motivated young performers in a traditional traveling circus environment. These young performers (called Troupers)…

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