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Shrine Circus Performers Roll Into Springfield Again

Acrobats, Tiger trainers and a Ringmaster have spent the last two days unloading gear and fastening cables in preparation for the three-ring circus which debuts tonight in the Shrine mosque in downtown Springfield. KSMU's Jennifer Moore reports.

We visited the crew as they were setting up to get a peek behind the scenes of a circus performer's life on the road.

23-year-old Marius is the acrobat who will go flying through the air tonight. He's from Romania and started training as a gymnast at age six. At age 18, he told his family he was going off to join the circus. He's on the road as an acrobat 10 months out of the year.

While Marius and his fellow Romanian acrobats put together the cables which will hold them up tonight, another team was putting together an enormous globe.

The see-through globe will have up to seven motorcycles riding inside it simultaneously.

This year, the ringmaster is a woman: Audrey Michelle says she doesn't mind living 10 months a year out of a trailer. In fact, when she's in one place for too long, she gets stir crazy.

When she was young, she was in a hand-balancing act with her father in the circus. Then she joined an animal training act involving ponies before becoming an aerialist.

Tonight, the spotlight and all eyes will be on her as she takes the microphone and welcomes hundreds of wide-eyed children to the circus.

The shrine circus has been an annual event in Springfield for approximately two decades. The show will be in town for the next ten days.

For KSMU News, I'm Jennifer Moore.