Acrobat gives it a whirl

GEOFF LEWIS
Last updated 05:00 24/05/2014
Circus Aotearoa aerialist
BRUCE MERCER/ Fairfax NZ
HIGH FLIER: Circus Aotearoa aerialist Jessie Carson limbers up before the big top’s opening. 

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Spinning high above the crowd is just part of a day's work for Circus Aotearoa aerialist Jessie Carson.

The Wellington-based acrobat is one of the seven-member performance troupe to pitch its colourful encampment next to the Fraser Technical Rugby Football Club headquarters in Frankton.

Circus Aotearoa was launched in 2009 by Raglan-based street performer Damian Gordon and wife Irene. It has since spent the warmer months of each year touring as one of only two circus acts remaining in New Zealand.

Gordon has toured internationally and gained early exposure to circus with the famed Whirling Brothers.

"Touring gets under your skin, its an interesting lifestyle. It can be hard work; you have to be fit both mentally and physically."

Circus Aotearoa does not use animals but focuses on human performers. The show is based on a classic circus and vaudeville format led by the ringmaster who provides a steady banter of one-liners while introducing classic diablo, hats and cigar-box routines.

The troupe of highly skilled young artists perform a dizzying array of acts, including aerial tissue, juggling, simple wheel, hula hoops, trapeze, Chinese pole, clown routines, object manipulation, aerial hoop, acrobatics and adagio.

"One of our aims is to provide a ring and big-top in which talented young Kiwi and Aussie performers can build up their experience alongside experienced and seasoned performers who have worked all around New Zealand and overseas," Gordon said.

A tight-knit group, the performers are a mix of friends and family, including Gordon's son Matthias, 18, who has recently finished school in Raglan and is to leave to perform in Europe next week.

Circus Aotearoa's Hamilton season is the last for the 2013-14 tour which included many small North Island venues and a stint in Auckland. Full houses are up to 250 people.

The show runs for about 1 hour, including a 10 to 15-minute intermission.

See circusaotearoa.co.nz for details.

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- Waikato Times

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