Circus Blogs: Camp News Big Top Tour News Residency News

Alumni Profile: Emily Gare

Emily Gare Circus Smirkus

Emily Gare

China. Europe. UK. South America. Australia… I was lucky to catch former Smirko Emily Gare while she was at home for a short stint in Melbourne, Australia. Originally from Wellington, New Zealand, Emily is now booked full-time as a career circus performer.

You may remember Emily from the Big Top Tours: 2011 Frontpage Follies & 2012 Topsy Turvy Time Travel. So how did someone all the way from New Zealand make their way to Vermont? Emily learned about Smirkus from another New Zealander, past Smirkus coach Jennie Ritchie, who encouraged Emily to audition.

So at age 13, Emily sent in her audition video and was accepted to tour as a hula hooper and stiltwalker.  After having an amazing time on tour, even though she fell ill and left tour early, the following year, Emily came back to Smirkus, this time with skills in fabric and aerial cube. She was smitten with circus life.

Watch this video of Emily in the 2012 Aerial Cube act:

Unfortunately for Emily, the Circus Smirkus Big Top Tour runs in June, July and August. This is summertime in the USA, but is during the school year in New Zealand. So once Emily reached high school, she couldn’t take the time off school for tour.

However, Emily stayed active in learning circus and put her education on fast forward by graduating high school a year early. She then was accepted to the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA) in Melbourne, Australia, where she spent the next 3 years. Emily graduated with her Bachelor of Circus Arts degree as dux of the year (that’s valedictorian in Australia) in 2015.

Since graduating NICA, Emily has maintained a full-time circus career. She has performed in cabarets around the world, in the Spiegeltent on the waterfront in Melbourne, corporate events and is now a member of Circus Oz. Nowadays she performs as a group acrobatic flyer and as a handbalancer. She initially started handbalancing while on tour with Smirkus at the suggestion of coach Sellam Ouahabi.

Watch this video of Emily as an acrobatic flyer:

Emily speaks fondly of Smirkus, reaffirming that she carries the Smirkus magic with her. To this day, she’s still in contact with other Smirkos from tour and it isn’t unusual for her to run into her circus peers even in Australia. “The Smirkus community is very special. Whenever I audition for jobs, I always mention Smirkus because being a Smirko has an incredible reputation. Directors often know that Smirkos will bring much more than skills – they help out, know how to perform, know how to travel.”

Emily’s reflection on life as a circus artist, “It’s possible to do what you love as a career. And you can do it no matter where you are in the world.” Happy travels, Emily!