Magic of the circus heads south

20:22, Jan 31 2011
Circus Aotearoa
UP WHERE YOU BELONG: Circus Aotearoa juggler Luke Forrester has a long look up to his partner, stilt walker Eve Everard, before a performance in Wanaka.

The all-Kiwi Circus Aotearoa rolled into Queenstown yesterday, its professionally qualified performers set to present their first show in the resort town on Friday.

The animal-free circus, co-owned by Paddy, Damian and Irene Gordon, is midway through its inaugural South Island tour and performed at Wanaka at the weekend.

"This is our third year at being on the road, but first time in the mainland," ringmaster Damian Gordon said.

"It's a traditional show in a tent, keeping the spirit of the circus alive.

"All our performers are graduates of the Christchurch Polytechnic's Circo Arts degree course.

"Touring rural New Zealand provides an opportunity for some of our youngsters to see parts of the country they might never get to," Mr Gordon said.

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His brother Paddy said the permanent troupe of nine performers included jugglers, clowns, aerialists and balance artists.

"We generally source performers from the Circo Arts end of year show and in the winter time many head to China to learn new skills."

The magic of the big top appealed to "kids of all ages including big kids", Mr Gordon said.

"If you believe in Christmas then you can believe in the circus.

The family's circus was "hands on" with the 554sq m big top taking a day and half to erect.

For stilt walker and tight rope walker Eve Everard joining the circus was a childhood dream come true.

A Circo Arts graduate, she had been performing at festivals, and corporate events for about 10 years.

"When I was eight years old I went and saw the Great China Circus which left me dreaming of becoming a tight rope walker. Twenty years later here I am," Ms Everard said.

"I love life on the road."

Circus Aotearoa opens in Queenstown at Warren Park on Friday. It will also hold shows on Saturday and Sunday before travelling to Cromwell for performances at Anderson Park the following weekend.

It will then travel to Te Anau and Invercargill later in the month.

The Southland Times