Behind the Curtain

@Christina Czybik

Circus Roncalli – Behind the Curtain


What an indescribable feeling it is, walking barefooted on the canvas cover that lies on the saw dust in the manege while left and right artists are stretching and prepping for their show. The atmosphere is easy, music is playing in the background and the artists are focused on their work but also chatting away with other artists. You hear all kinds of languages: German, English, Ukrainian, Italian, Spanish and many more.

My smile is getting brighter with every time I am looking up the beautifully adorned ceiling of the tent and getting soaked in the colorful spotlights.

I am closing my eyes for a moment and take a deep breath before I walk through the iconic blue curtain, letting my hand softly touch the glittering rhinestones.

Behind the curtain I find storage areas to my left and right which will be filled with people later, running around busily but never in the way of each other.

Right in front of me is a small area with historic circus trailers places in a circle. The place where artists change their cloths, getting their makeup and sit together to smoke, rest and chat.

I am invited to chat with a couple of the clowns and take pictures in the trailer, to document their transformation. They would tell me, that they don’t do it to make other people happy. First and foremost they become a clown because it makes them happy.

Watching the clowns backstage and taking the pictures, it warms my heart. I am thankful for every little smile I make when I look at them. These people not only have a special aura, they are truly one-of-a-kind.

During the show, every one will know exactly what to do and when to do it. You can feel the stress, the adrenaline, the power behind the curtain – but there is never a harsh word to one another. The circus functions as an entity. They will listen carefully to the reaction of the audience, the children’s laughter, the applause, the joy they bring to people. This is what keeps them moving, this is what feeds them.