Meet the UK’s youngest Juggler
Wrexham Glyndwr student Laura Cole joined the travelling circus crew to meet the UK’s youngest juggler and to find out more about the infamous globe of death.
Nia Nikolova Jones makes her way to the performance tent.
She is the UK’s youngest juggler and is one of the stars of Circus Funtasia with her ground-breaking acts – remarkably including riding on a Segway whilst juggling.
I catch her eye and she exits the stage and makes her way towards me. I’m shaking hands with a 12 year old version of Harley Quinn.
Nia’s stage presence is impressive. She addresses the young crowd made up of primary school children and they’re entranced as she juggles hoops, shoes, cubs and tennis racquets. I manage to steal her away from the show for a few minutes and ask her how this all started.
“I started juggling when I was seven but I’ve been performing since I was three years old. My first act was trampolining with my dad.”
She tells me she couldn’t imagine life without the circus. She enjoys the freedom that circus life can bring.
“The circus is in my blood, I’m from a first generation circus family. I love the buzz, I love performing and I love to see the people smiling.”
(video via: facebook.com/CircusFuntasia/videos)
This circus is a family affair. Nia’s mother Tracy joined the circus at 16, so it’s no surprise her daughter has followed suit. Both her mother and father Julio ensure the smooth running of the event.
“At 16 I started putting posters up. Slowly I started doing jobs in the ring such as carrying a snake around and standing on the knife board. Then one summer, I just decided to stay on.”
Tracy put her skills and experience to good use and opened her first circus in Stafford in 2013. She told me:
“That was a learning curve, we made a few mistakes, but we’ve learnt over the years.
“We normally get a great response wherever we go, because I know so many people. This is our fifth year, hopefully it’s going to be great.”
I stayed to watch Nia as she practised her routine. Harley Quinn is a popular figure amongst young people today, appearing in American comic books and films. This is what this circus is about, moving with the times and ensuring the younger generation stay connected.
It’s clear the circus has come a long way from its traditional roots. The acts are more sophisticated, it’s modern, fast paced with a focus on individual human talents rather than animals.
I don’t manage to witness the famous ‘globe of death’ which I am told is a group of motorcyclists moving inside a 3 tonne metal sphere at speeds of 40 miles an hour. But I am introduced to other members of the crew. There’s a strong connection between the performers, the circus as Nia says, is one big family, and that’s part of its appeal.
As I make my way through the mud, back to my car I’m left with a sense of envy. The camaraderie and passion for their cause is infectious. Life on the road has a certain appeal.
(Video via: https://vimeo.com/219268233)
To book tickets visit www.circufuntasia.co.uk