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Sunday, July 20, 2014

Love of circus wins Amherst teen a spot on Smirkus tour

AMHERST – Thirteen-year-old Dylan Biedrzycki is running off to join the circus this summer – with his parents’ blessing.

Dylan’s tumbling and juggling skills have won him a spot on tour with Circus Smirkus, the award-winning, international traveling youth circus based in Vermont. From early July through mid-August, the troupe will travel with its European-made “Big Top” tent to 15 venues throughout the Northeast, and will perform nearly 70 individual shows. ...

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AMHERST – Thirteen-year-old Dylan Biedrzycki is running off to join the circus this summer – with his parents’ blessing.

Dylan’s tumbling and juggling skills have won him a spot on tour with Circus Smirkus, the award-winning, international traveling youth circus based in Vermont. From early July through mid-August, the troupe will travel with its European-made “Big Top” tent to 15 venues throughout the Northeast, and will perform nearly 70 individual shows.

Dylan, of Amherst, began studying acrobatics when he was about 9 after falling in love with a contortionist act at Clark’s Trading Post.

He has never been so serious about anything, and has dedicated his time to learning as much as he can so he can someday perform with Cirque du Soleil.

“I would be shocked if 10 years from now he was on a different track,” said his mother, Tamra Biedrzycki. “He spends all his time learning, living and loving circus.”

Dylan’s parents searched for a place where he could start his circus training, and stumbled across the Flying Gravity Circus, a youth circus in Wilton. A short time later, he was introduced to the New England Center for Circus Arts in Brattleboro, Vt., and has enjoyed every minute of his training there.

Dylan first learned about the Vermont-based Circus Smirkus when a trouper from the Flying Gravity Circus joined the Big Top Tour. Dylan was excited to see his friend perform in the Big Top Tour, and grew determined to join the nonprofit youth organization.

He attended Circus Smirkus Summer Camp last summer. After submitting an audition tape to Smirkus headquarters in Greensboro, Vt., he was called for a live audition in January. Dylan and 29 other performers ages 10-18 were selected for the 2014 Big Top Tour.

Life on the road promises to be both fun and exhausting.

As a “Smirko,” he will join his fellow troupers in doing such tasks as taking care of props, selling tickets and popcorn, and working cooperatively with the tent crew, light and sound technicians, equipment riggers, costumer, musicians and others who travel with the one-ring show.

Even though it will be hard work, Dylan says it will still be fun.

The troupers hail from nine states – New Hampshire, Vermont, California, Florida, Illinois, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New York and Texas – and Mexico.

Troupers’ skills include juggling, wire-walking, clowning, acrobatics, aerials and unicycling, and acts involving the diabolo, trapeze, cradle, Spanish web and lyra.

Over the years, Circus Smirkus has become known for its theme-based and “story” shows. Themes have included “Pirates,” “The Wild West” and “Superheroes,” while stories have included original circus versions of “Alice Through the Looking Glass” and “Pinocchio.”

The tour this year continues the tradition of theme-based shows with “Anchors Away for Atlantis” a circus-style journey on the high seas.

When not juggling fire or flying high on the trapeze, Dylan is a student at Amherst Middle School, where he will enter eighth grade in September. As a seventh-grader, he made the school’s honor roll, and took first place as the New Hampshire “All-Around Gymnast.”

“I love gymnastics, but circus is my life,” Dylan said. “Circus is gymnastics and more.”

For tickets or more information, visit www.smirkus.org or call 1-877-764-7587.