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I’m a Cirque du Soleil performer. I grew up in the circus, and now I travel the world with my husband and kids.

Estefani EvansEstefani Evans.

Matt Beard (photo), Dominique Lemieux (costume)

  • Estefani Evans is a fifth-generation circus performer starring in Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría.
  • She began trapeze at 10 years old. Her husband works alongside her, and their kids travel with them.
  • “I was 4 years old the first time I stepped on stage,” she says. “It’s definitely a beautiful life.”

This as-told-to essay is based on a conversation with Estefani Evans, a fifth-generation circus performer currently starring in Cirque du Soleil’s Alegría. It has been edited for length and clarity.

I’m a fifth-generation circus performer, and I was 4 years old the first time I stepped on stage. I grew up in Brazil, and my dad used to have a circus there. My brothers made me a costume and threw me on stage as part of a clown act. 

That’s where it all began — I always knew the circus would be my life.

As a little girl, I loved being on stage and showing off

I thought I would be a contortionist, but I wasn’t flexible enough. When I was 10 years old, I tried the trapeze for the first time, and I felt like I was flying. I wanted to do it again and again. 

Estefani Evans performingEstefani Evans performing.

Matt Beard (photo), Dominique Lemieux (costume)

At age 14, I got my first paying trapeze-artist gig. My mom left her job as a circus teacher to accompany me on tour. 

When I was 17, I had my first opportunity to leave Brazil. I went to Portugal to perform — that’s when I left my mom and started my career on my own. Then, at age 20, I was invited by Cirque du Soleil to join the Flying Trapeze troupe of Zaia in Macau, China.

Life on the road is all I’ve ever known

In Brazil with my dad’s circus, sometimes we’d stay in a city for one or two weeks and sometimes for a year. We lived in RVs that were set up close to the Big Top. It was very unstable, because we were always moving. 

Estefani Evans performingEstefani Evans performing.

Matt Beard (photo), Dominique Lemieux (costume)

In every city, I’d have to change schools and make new friends. It was hard, because some schools were more advanced while others were lagging behind.

Working for Cirque du Soleil, I have a lot more consistency. It’s very structured. We stay in cities longer — anywhere from five weeks to three months — and live comfortably in hotels or housing. 

It’s a nomadic life, but it’s definitely a beautiful life. Cirque is the most beautiful circus life you can have.

I see my husband 24/7

I met my husband, Ammed Tuniziani — a third-generation performer who comes from a traditional circus family in Venezuela — while working with Cirque du Soleil. He’s also a trapeze flyer.

It’s very important and beautiful that we work in the same industry and get to travel together. We’re currently working on the show Alegría, and he’s our trapeze coach. 

Estefani EvansEstefani Evans with cast members.

Estefani Evans

When it comes to trapeze, it’s all about the trust you have with your catcher and your coworkers, because we rely on each other for the timing of every trick. My husband is always there, taking care of me and the group. There’s no one on this earth I trust more than him. I’m blessed that we work together.

When we’re not having a good day, being together so much is tough. But we don’t bring our problems to the stage; nobody is ever going to see them. 

Our kids attend an online school that’s only for circus kids

Our two kids are always nearby and already following in our footsteps. Our son, who’s now 10, started on the trapeze when he was 5. He says he wants to “be like daddy on trapeze.” Plus, our 8-year-old daughter loves contortion. 

Circus life runs in their blood, but we also encourage them to be good in school, so they have options in life the same way we did. 

They don’t have to explain their life every time we go to a new city, because all of their classmates are doing the same thing. It’s very consistent for them no matter where we are; they have their uniforms and their online friends they see every day. 

Estefani Evans performingEstefani Evans performing.

Matt Beard (photo), Dominique Lemieux (costume)

Our children get to experience so much more than most kids

The kids can come into the circus any time they want to play with other kids in the Cirque family — there are places to play, and even though the kids don’t all speak the same language, they manage to communicate. I don’t know how they do it. 

We have Mondays and Tuesdays off every week, and the kids get Mondays off from school. They go to school on Saturdays instead.

That’s when we get to explore the city we’re in. We love to go to restaurants, museums, and parks. We try to do and see as much as we can, because we never know when we’ll be in, say, Tokyo again. We have an opportunity to learn new languages, and it’s so beautiful right now, because our kids are at an age where they’ll remember all of this.

Food can be the biggest challenge when traveling with kids

I like to cook, though Cirque provides meals on show days. On our days off, we like to go eat at restaurants to get to know the culture of the city we’re performing in. 

Estefani Evans performingEstefani Evans performing.

Matt Beard (photo), Dominique Lemieux (costume)

Cirque has a beautiful kitchen in the tents, so we can eat our meals there if we want to. They have four chefs who travel with us, and they hire 10 people locally to support the kitchen operations.

We have the opportunity to eat so many different foods since they serve food from many different countries, because we’re a multicultural company. They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner, and everything is complimentary — it’s one of the benefits that comes with being on tour with Cirque du Soleil. 

It can be hard being away from my extended family

The hardest part of this lifestyle is being apart from my mom and sister, who live in Las Vegas. I can spend a year and half in Asia and not get to see them often. COVID-19 has made everything really hard for visas, so it’s not like my mom can just come see me. 

Estefani Evans performingEstefani Evans performing.

Matt Beard (photo), Dominique Lemieux (costume)

But I also get to travel with my family, so I’m very blessed with my life and my job. And Cirque is like our bigger family, a community. You travel together and you work together. Even after hours, we often end up going out together as a group. 

And my mother-in-law comes on tour with us to look after the kids while we’re at work. She found love on the show, actually, with one of the technicians. It’s super cute that they found each other at their age, and she gets to have her life too when not taking care of her grandchildren.

Two of my husband’s brothers are also part of the flying trapeze act, so my kids have uncles and cousins on tour. It makes it very comfortable and normal for them.

Read the original article on Business Insider