One Year, Two Months, and Eighteen Days; or, How I Learned to Juggle

I graduated from Kalamazoo College in June 2015. 11144449_10153398359308758_7566187496585851969_n.jpgMy plan was to hitch a ride with a friend to Ludlow, Kentucky two days later to begin my work with Circus Mojo. The night before we were scheduled to make the drive, though, my friend’s car broke down and wouldn’t be available for a day and a half. I was panicked. This was my first job out of college and I was going to be late. I sent an email to Paul Miller, a man whom I had never met, and had only spoken to over the phone once, and explained my situation. “How can we help?” was his simple reply. I was surprised by Paul’s nonchalant response, but as I began to work with Mojo, it became clear that the staff was trained to work with situations like these as a daily occurrence.12565425_10153813098513758_3588419603410571353_n.jpg
Change of plans at the last minute? No problem.
The client has a particular request? We’ll take care of it.
Teach a class in the day and perform five shows that night? Bring it on.
Job titles are tricky because nobody at Mojo performs just one role. For instance, I am a
counselor at summer camp, a “Circus Wellness Specialist” at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital, the girl holding the camera and making various promotional videos, and a playmate to the various kids who hang out in our parking lot.
Often all in one day.

“Everyone at Mojo has to juggle,” Paul had told me when I was first applying. At the time I took that to mean that I needed to master a three ball cascade- and that was true, it needed quite a bit of work. But that was only part of it.

I needed to juggle Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Keeping up with events, contacts, and pictures could have been a position all on its own.

I needed to juggle hospital shows, birthday party shows, and school shows. Each performance has its own feel, and knowing the stage and the audience was something that took time to grasp.
I needed to juggle shows, workshops, and strolling gigs. And within each gig was juggling the performance, music, and pictures.
As a staff, we got very good at juggling our responsibilities and working through unexpected challenges. At various events, the clients and other performers would acknowledge how willing we are to shift our own plans around to better suit their needs, from postponing our event half an hour to changing the entire format of our show at a moment’s notice, all without compromising the quality of the performance.
My time in Ludlow is coming to a close. I’m saying a lot of goodbyes, and leaving a lot of people behind. But I’m taking a lot with me as well. Now, in addition to being able to juggle three balls (sometimes four!), rings, and clubs, catch ten hula hoops around my waist, and keep any number of plates spinning, I have a sizable skillset of non-traditional circus abilities, as well.
My sister is coming to pick me up in a few days and we’ll be driving up to Minnesota together, where I’ll begin my next adventure. And while I certainly hope her car doesn’t break down during the trip, I know I’ll be able to handle it if it does.
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