What is a Circus Performer?

Circus performers thrive on the adrenaline rush of dazzling and amazing a live audience!

This is perhaps one of the more unusual career aspirations in the world today. Ultimately, a circus performer must have unusual entertainment skills, such as acrobatics or juggling, and will perform using one, or a combination of these skills.

What does a Circus Performer do?

A circus performer needs to have a couple of unusual skills that can be used in an entertainment setting. These skills will amaze the audience, as they are skills most ordinary people would never take the time to learn.

A circus performer must be:
- Dedicated
- Hardworking
- Physically very fit and able
- Committed to working hard to achieve success
- Prepared to attend many auditions and be able to deal with rejection
- Competitive
- Energetic
- Creative
- Confident
- Self-motivated

A circus performer doing a single hand stand high up in the air.

Circus performers can work up to a level where they are skilled enough and experienced enough to get a job with a large company as a part of a touring show, or even a permanent show. Examples are hotels in Las Vegas or Disney World resorts.

The most successful circus in the world at the moment is Canada's Cirque du Soleil. There is intense competition for circus performer positions within the company - it claims to receive over 100 audition videos every week but employs only an additional 50 people per year. For a circus performer, this is the ultimate dream job, but it will take a lot of work, dedication, talent and skill to achieve it.

Types of circus performers:
- Acrobats
- Clowns
- Ventriloquists
- Magicians
- Jugglers
- Tightrope walkers
- Dancers
- Hand-balancers
- Fire-eaters
- Mime artists
- Trapeze artists
- Gymnasts

Most circus performers will have to find work more frequently and may look to perform individually or as part of a group at arts festivals, such as at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival - the largest event of its type.

At festivals, performers may work as part of a show in a small theatre, or as part of a street show, especially when starting off. As circus performers gain experience and make contacts within the industry, they will have more opportunities to audition for larger shows or touring troupes.

Most circus performers will work in the following areas:
- Touring, with traditional circuses
- Contemporary circuses
- Arts festivals
- Theatres
- Nightclubs
- Cruise ships or holiday parks
- Major events or corporate events
- Street performances or busking

Are you suited to be a circus performer?

Circus performers have distinct personalities. They tend to be artistic individuals, which means they’re creative, intuitive, sensitive, articulate, and expressive. They are unstructured, original, nonconforming, and innovative. Some of them are also investigative, meaning they’re intellectual, introspective, and inquisitive.

Does this sound like you? Take our free career test to find out if circus performer is one of your top career matches.

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What is the workplace of a Circus Performer like?

For circus performers, work is a fun place. It is somewhere to perfect skills and to work on newer, more exciting ones.

The workplace is a safe place to practice and train with other performers, coaches, or trainers who can help and support each other in their skill development and provide physical assistance if required (for example in learning acrobatic skills).

Circus performers might have to travel a lot, especially if they find work with a touring circus or company, or they may have to move to different locations for different shows or performances.

Circus Performers are also known as:
Circus Entertainer