Spotlight on Sellam El Ouahabi, Big Top Tour Coach

Author Archives: Circus Smirkus

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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Update From Nettie Lane, Residency Artist

I am working at a school in Vermont right near the border of Canada and New Hampshire. It’s cold and snowy over here, but something happened that warmed my heart. I have one student who is in a wheelchair and doesn’t have much muscle or muscle control. It is difficult for her to lift things. Yesterday, we worked together on finding ways to adapt the activities. We cut a stick down making it a lot shorter and worked out a plate spinning routine. Today, her mother found me before my class to say ‘thank you.’ The circus magic had taken…

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