Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Girl joins circus, learns 10 acts to amaze family


This summer I ran away and joined the circus. My friend, Megan Westrick, and her sister, Lauren, joined, too.

We joined the circus by participating in Cirque Amongus as part of the St. Clair recreation program. For five days, 32 kids acted as silly clowns, fabulous ringmasters, spunky acrobats, daring tightwire walkers, skilled jugglers, goofy bike riders and more.

On Saturday, all the members put on an exciting performance for friends and families. I learned 10 different acts and performed three of them for the circus.

Day 1

I tried out several different types of circus tricks to see which ones I liked.

First, I tried walking on the globes and barrels. Balance sure does help when trying to do this. Watch out!

It was time to try out my skills at stilt-walking, jumping rope and twirling a hula-hoop. The stilts were really fun.

Next it was time to ride unicycles, minibikes and other crazy bikes. This was hard but really awesome.

"Throw, throw" was what the instructor said at the juggling station. "Ouch, ouch" was what I said when the rings came down and hit me.

I moved over to the mat to try acrobatics. I am not very good at gymnastics, so this was not my favorite station.

The last station was catching boxes, twirling plates on wands and playing with a Chinese yo-yo. This station was really fun!

Day 2

Today, I tried out more circus tricks. The trapeze was set up. It had two bars, a high bar and a low bar, with mats underneath.

The instructors wanted us to try the bird's nest, which was really hard.

I also tried standing up, sitting down and hanging from the bar. I found out I am not a trapeze artist!

Next, I took a crack at the balancing acts, which included making a pyramid on ladders. Nine kids made the pyramid. Megan and I climbed up the middle of the ladder and had to hold it up. Then everyone else climbed up the ladder to different heights.

My last station was the tightwire. There were two tightwires, side by side. Megan and I were partners, and we each walked across a wire, holding hands. Sometimes we stood on one foot or squatted down while on the wire. We only fell off a few times.

Out of the three tricks I learned today, I chose the tightwire to be one of my acts for the performance.

Day 3

Today, I had to choose the other two acts I would be in. This was not an easy decision. I finally chose being a magician and riding a unicycle. Megan, Lauren and I will be in some acts together. I practiced my magic trick and the bike routine. This day was a big practice day, and I was allowed to take home the unicycle again. Riding the unicycle takes a lot of patience and hard work!

Day 4

This was the last day before the performance. We rehearsed all nine acts. I was in Act One, Act Three, Act Four and was the ringmaster for the equilibristics, Act Seven. Everything went smoothly.

We spent most of the time rehearsing the show, and then we could practice our tricks even more. I was really looking forward to the performance.

The performance!

When I arrived at Greig Park, where the circus was, I could not wait to pick out my costume for the show. There was everything from silly hats to eye-popping vests to colorful shirts to dresses to weird pants.

I put on my costume and crazy makeup. Then it was time for the show to begin.

The spunky circus music began and the performers ran out from behind the red curtain smiling and waving. The opening act was the tightwire, and I was the leader for this act.

The excitement continued as everyone performed their fantastic and daring acts.

The audience clapped so loud the performers wanted to work even harder. The circus was a huge success after practicing so much all week long.

I cannot wait to run away and join the circus again next summer!

Anne Maitland, 10, is the daughter of Andy and Karen Maitland of East China Township. She will be in fifth grade at East China's Washington Elementary School in Marine City.

Originally published August 17, 2005

Copyright ©2005 The Times Herald. All rights reserved.