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.
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