Memorandum from Germany | Mike Blackmore Discusses Circus, Business, Self-Actualizing

This isn’t the first time I have had to put in 16 hour days. I was a marching band kid and we were at the mercy of directors and drum majors all day, every day.  Some people will argue that time spent at band camp isn’t nearly as grueling.  It usually isn’t, until a football player doesn’t see you coming out of the tunnel and knocks you for nine yards. Band camp probably wasn’t as pleasurable as circus – I would have preferred learning circus skills.  Instead, I chose to spend most of my summers getting yelled at for waddling in wrong directions.  I suppose my penchant for idiosyncratic wanderings is part of the reason I’m working in the circus business.  It’s a family thing – two distant relatives were both cooks in the circus.  I’m not in the tents with the performers and trainers day in and day out but I do talk shop and write a lot of plans, proposals, and emails… a lot of emails.  It’s all part of the game when you’re helping design and develop a circus business.

As an observer of social circus, I have seen a lot of the good.  Circus, in this context, helps with character development, mastering judgement, and, in my case, gaining experience with and growing confident in making business decisions.

The most common theme I see across the blogs is the unfolding of self-actualization. Perhaps this is an unexpected result, but not necessarily opposed to social programming.  How much more can you bring to a social group if you are aware of your capabilities and interests? The following quotes are a snapshot of the realizations the campers are discovering – realizations that elucidate circus’ role in their bigger life plans:

Erinn Parker: “I am thinking of actually going into circus horse training instead of just normal horse training because it would be fun to do the tricks on the horse for circus…..I want to stick with circus training throughout high school and possibly college – it just depends on where I go to college and for what.”

Jesse Suttles: “I never thought it would be possible to have an experience like this.  For crying out loud, my career choice has always been to be a Navy SEAL…..I have officially decided to make circus my career choice.”

Jesse Dascola: “Things were different and I needed a change.  I thought circus wasn’t it for me anymore and I decided to go to culinary school…..I’ve thought about going back to circus for about a year.  Now that I have finally come back to the circus, I know that my life will not be complete without some circus in it.  I know circus will always be part of my life, and I can integrate culinary with that because circus people have to eat.”

As for myself, working for Circus Mojo and visiting Circus Pimparello have served as case studies pertaining to my two primary career interests – art and real estate.  I had the opportunity to travel to Berlin for a whirlwind three days to meet and talk about the circus industry with performers. I have seen the plans for Circus Pimparello’s new circus house and have been working towards Circus Mojo’s redevelopment of Ludlow Theatre and development of the Institute of Social Circus and Vocational Training Center. With long term thinking in mind, I hope to have investments in social circus, talent management, traveling show production and built spaces that serve as performance venues for circus and other arts. I can now say that I have international business experience because of time spent in Germany with Circus Pimparello.

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