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Trouper Close-Ups: Andrew Kaefer, Lola Picayo, and Aaron Schondorf

Trouper Close-Ups: Andrew Kaefer, Lola Picayo, and Aaron Schondorf

Andrew Kaefer

Andrew Kaefer is a 14 year old Trouper from Maplewood, NJ.  He is a 1st year Trouper and is very excited to be apart of Circus Smirkus.  He originally got started in circus by going to a two week circus camp in New Jersey.  He also attended Circus Smirkus Camp.  “I started out doing everything, but took to juggling as the camp progressed.”  Being only 14 years old, Andrew is starting his circus career young and says he has interest in trying other disciplines within circus.  However, juggling will always be his favorite.  With the Troupers performing two shows a day, Andrew says, “The most challenging part of being on tour are the hours.”  But his favorite part of being on tour is getting to meet the audience members after the show.  After tour, Andrew will be starting high-school and looks forward the science classes.

Andrew performing in the hat juggling routine (photo by Tamra Biedrzycki)



Lola Picayo

Lola Picayo is a 4th year Trouper.  She is 16 years old and is from New York, NY.  “I had been training aerial, and my mom saw a post on Circus Smirkus’ Facebook for auditions.  I sent in a video 10 minutes before the deadline and got in!”  Lola began her circus training with gymnastics, and got inspired to start training aerial when her older sister began training.  The hardest part about training is the fact that, “it hurts so bad.  There’s a lot of mental resilience to keep doing it when your body doesn’t necessarily want to all the time.”  She just keeps in mind that it is something she is passionate about, and wants to get better at.   “I like training aerial the most, but I like performing contortion more.”  Performing is her favorite part of tour, and she says the hardest part is leaving.  “You really learn to be the best version of yourself here because there is so much support.  Smirkus has been really important for me in terms of finding out who I am.”  After tour, Lola will be returning to high-school as a Senior and continue circus training.

Lola performing in the contortion act (photo by Tamra Biedrzycki)


Aaron Schondorf

Aaron Schondorf is a 3rd year Trouper from New York, NY.  He is 16 years old and is thrilled to be back on tour.  At first, Aaron was a gymnast.  His mother was looking something for him to do for the summer, and found Circus Smirkus Camp.  He started as an acrobat, but fell in love with juggling.  “Originally, I was terrible at juggling.  But it became this thing that I could work towards.”  He doesn’t have a favorite act saying, with a smile on his face, “it just depends on the day. If juggling is going well, it’s juggling.  If it is not going well, it’s acrobatics.” Aaron’s favorite part of being on tour is the atmosphere.  “It is such a positive place. I feel like I can try new things, and I get to show others what I am good at.  We all get to shine in the ring, and it is amazing.”  He loves coming back every year because he says, “We are like a family here.  I feel like, if I don’t come back, I am away from my family.”

Aaron performing in the Chinese Pole act (Photo by Tamra Biedrzycki)

To join Andrew, Lola, and Aaron on the 2017 Big Top Tour, get your tickets here!