2017 Trouper Patrick Chikoloma of Circus Zambia

Category Archives: Big Top Tour

The official Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour Blog

2017 Trouper Patrick Chikoloma of Circus Zambia

Name: Patrick Chikoloma Age: 17 From: Lusaka, Zambia Training: Circus Zambia It was an exchange program between students of Van Lodostov Family Circus in Hartford, Vermont and Circus Zambia last summer that made Patrick Chikoloma’s first visit to the United States possible. Coming to perform around the Vermont for Circus Zambia, he also attended his first Big Top Tour show and visited the headquarters of Circus Smirkus. We’re now eagerly awaiting Patrick’s arrival to the Circus Barn for training as a trouper in the 30th Anniversary Big Top Tour – almost a year to the date that we first met him….

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École Nationale de Cirque Accepts 3 Smirkos

We’re super proud to announce that the École Nationale de Cirque (National Circus School) in Montreal has accepted three Smirkos into its fall 2017 program. Internationally renowned for the quality of its training programs, the school is dedicated to the education and training of professional circus artists. Congratulations to 2017 Big Top Tour troupers Sam Landa (left), Sarah Norden (center), and 2016 trouper Sam Hollis (right)! Below are some pictures of troupers performing on various Circus Smirkus Big Top Tours – click on an image to see it big and pretty!!!  

PODCAST: Rumblestrip Interviews Rob Mermin

Rumblestrip is a popular podcast produced by Erica Heilman. In this episode, “The Last Chapter”, Heilman interviews Circus Smirkus founder Rob Mermin. This is a story about the friendship between Rob and his friend Bill Morancy, and the months, days and moments leading up to Bill’s death. Bill Morancy toured with Smirkus one season as a concessionaire. He wanted to experience running away to join the circus — when he was 65 years old — and he bunked with Big Top Tour musician/composer Tristan Moore, who became one of his closest friends. In the final stages of terminal illness, Bill opted to use…

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Down the Road With Former Smirko Cam Zweir

When you are a circus performer, ‘home’ is quite often open to interpretation. For Circus Smirkus alumnus Cameron Zweir, ‘home’ currently changes on a daily basis! Hailing from Holyoke, MA, this 18-year-old acrobat was recently cast in the National Broadway Tour of Pippin. Joining the cast of Pippin was definitely a case of “right person, right place, right time” for Cam. We asked him how he ended up on this adventure of a lifetime. “They were looking for a base, and someone I had trained with suggested they contact me,” he said. “Next thing I know, I’m in rehearsal!” For…

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Smirkus alumna Ariele Ebacher featured in new Fitbit Alta ad

Smirkus alumna and former wire walking coach Ariele Ebacher was recently featured in this new Fitbit Alta ad. Way to go Ariele! Ariele lives in Chicago where she and her husband Jan Damm (who has also coached for Smirkus!) continue to work as circus artists. When they aren’t under the big top or on the high wire (and often when they are!) they are with their adorable little circus son, Timo. Ariele Ebacher elevates the art of tight wire, one moment gracefully gliding across the wire and the next moment kicking off her heels (literally) and breaking out in dance….

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Circus Smirkus at the 2017 Smithsonian Folklife Festival

One of the most enduring fantasies in American culture is the dream of “running away to join the circus.” At the Smithsonian Folklife Festival this summer, Circus Smirkus will showcase that dream in the center ring. Circus Smirkus has been invited to participate in a program to spotlight the Circus Arts, that will feature intimate workshops, full-scale performances, and learning opportunities from master circus artists. For the Circus Arts program at the festival, Circus Smirkus founder Rob Mermin has assembled a multidisciplinary troupe of former Smirkos to join him in presentation and performance. Circus Smirkus will also present a program…

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Spotlight on Sellam El Ouahabi, Big Top Tour Coach

Sellam El Ouahabi has worked in the circus industry for 37 years – and counting. He began his career at the age of 13, with his first professional touring contract as a member of the Hassani acrobatic troupe in Tangier, Morocco.  He went on to join the famed Ben Karim Troupe and performed continuously until he was 19 years old, at which point, he pursued a career as a solo artist. For the next two decades, El Ouahabi innovated and performed all variety of acts, including acrobatics, human pyramids, hand balance, aerial straps, trapeze, the Wheel Of Death, aerial silks,…

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Spotlight on Judy Gaeth, Director of Circus Operations

As she prepared to interview a candidate for this summer’s tour crew, Judy Gaeth reluctantly took a few minutes out of her busy schedule to talk with us about her role at Circus Smirkus. Judy has been with Smirkus for more than half its 30 year lifetime. She’s not one to talk about herself, so we had to beg to make this happen. Here’s what we learned about Judy Gaeth, Director of Circus Operations. On a whim in 2002, Judy answered an ad in the newspaper for Business Office Manager at Circus Smirkus and after a series of interviews, she…

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From the Executive Director: A Boxcar of Work

Everybody knows PT Barnum. But my circus hero was his partner Jim Bailey, the operations miracle worker who was able to transport, unload, parade, feed, perform, and reload over 300 animals and 1,000 people every day. As this summer season kicks off, I sprinkled a little popcorn in front of his picture and asked for the inspiration and gumption to hook up the engine, stoke the Smirkus train, and create the here-today, gone-tomorrow, circus miracle that thousands of kids yearn for all winter long. This year Jim and all the circus angels that smile on Smirkus are working overtime. Our…

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The Big Top Tour is hiring!

The Big Top Tour is now accepting applications for adventurous and spirited folk to come work, travel, and have the summer adventure of a lifetime as the Big Top Tour goes down the road for its 30th Anniversary season! All applicants should send their Smirkus job application, resume and cover letters to tour@smirkus.org. Click the job title to see job descriptions. Room and board is included for all of the traveling positions. See the open positions below: Assistant Cook Head Concessionaire Concessionaire Counselor Head Rigger Production Intern Stage Manager Tent Crew Tour Wardrobe Supervisor Filed under: Big Top Tour Source: Big Top Tour…

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