There's something magical about the big top at Circus Smirkus. But adjust your eyes as you enter the yellow tent where kids jump, flip and do all kinds of tricks in preparation for the traveling show.
Many things don't change about Circus Smirkus: the ring, juggling and clowns. But something is different this year, and it's not just the Time Travel theme; Circus Smirkus is celebrating 25 years.
"Every year it's a new troupe, so every year you have to readjust, new theme, new skill level. But they're also the constant of our universe," said Jesse Dryden, the creative director at Circus Smirkus.
"I love spreading magic throughout the crowd and getting them want to watch," said Sonya Gurwitt, a performer from Norwich.
Gurwitt got hooked on Smirkus when she was 5. This will be her last year performing since she's 18.
"It's a combination between strength and grace. It's not competitive which I really like about it and it's a great way of artistic expression," Gurwitt said.
For many kids it's the dreamy chance to run away and join the circus, without actually running away from home.
"The kids get exposed to a grandeur of life within a very safe microcosm," Dryden said.
The group will rehearse for three weeks before hitting the road with 67 shows in 14 cities and towns in six states.
"What we do here is the impossible," Dryden said. "We shouldn't actually be able to do what we do."
Organizers say one aspect that is often misunderstood is the professional caliber of the young performers.
"The demands we put on the troupers is very high," Dryden said. "They have to come in talented, learn new skills, be socially dynamic."
Not to mention physically fit and emotionally sound to handle a summer-long tour that keeps getting bigger and bolder every year.
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:56:29 GMT
A public defender entered 34-year-old Anthony Wright's not guilty plea in the Chittenden County courthouse Friday morning. Police say a search of Wright's residence two days earlier revealed about 250More >>
A Burlington man denies drug charges after police say they stumbled upon his marijuana grow operation. It happened while authorities were investigating another alleged drug crime next door.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:45 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:45:07 GMT
Prosecutors in a murder case said Thursday that backups at the Vermont Forensics Lab have slowed their case, and the defense said the delays are violating their client's right to a speedy trial. So, isMore >>
Prosecutors in a murder case said backups at the Vt. Forensics Lab slowed their case; the defense said the delays violate their client's right to a speedy trial. So, is that courtroom strategy or is there really a backlog? More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 9:45 AM EDT2013-05-17 13:45:45 GMT
A trial date has been set for a Massachusetts man accused of killing a woman in southern Vermont. 31-year-old Frank Caraballo will be in court September 9. He's accused of killing Melissa Barratt inMore >>
A trial date has been set for a Massachusetts man accused of killing a woman in southern Vermont.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 12:26 PM EDT2013-05-17 16:26:55 GMT
A Vermont used car dealer is facing federal fraud charges of hiding malfunctions in the cars he sold. Prosecutors say Douglas Jordan, 40, of Wolcott, bought high-mileage used cars at auction and sold themMore >>
A Vermont used car dealer is facing federal fraud charges of hiding malfunctions in the cars he sold.More >>