Thirty feet above the ground, trapeze artist Franchesa Cavallini, 17, performs for the spectators on Monday, all part of the Carson & Barnes Circus.
The circus was in Neosho for two shows: 4:30 and 7:30 p.m. at the Newton County Fairgrounds.
"I am sixth generation (in the circus), I started when I was four years old, working, so it has been a pretty long time," said Cavallini. "I started as a clown, then went up to being a dancer, then started doing little tricks and the acts. I did my first act when I was about eight or nine, it was hula-hoop and it was my own act that I did by myself. Then I just gradually went forward to trapeze and whatever else they put me in."
At the age of six, she began the trapeze side of the circus.
"To train, it is pretty hard, it really is because your body has to be in good shape," Cavallini said. "Your hands break and you get calluses, that is kind of painful. You have to concentrate a lot and you have to take away the fear, which is pretty much the first that happens in the trapeze because of the height, of letting go and thinking that I am going to fall. But once you take away the fear, then you are pretty good, because you are focused on what you want to do. And of course practice, you practice a lot to get things good to make sure that they work out."
As a trapeze artist, she practices daily.
"When we have two day stands, they leave it (trapeze) at night and we practice at night," she said. "We always work out, like I exercise every day, I jump rope, I do abs. We have this mini bar, so you can hang on it just to get the hang of it, just to get the feel of it. So it is a pretty big workout before the show just to get warmed up."
But when she gets up above the audience that is when the act begins.
"We basically fly, we go on this bar and we let go, do tricks and somebody else catches us," she said. "Then we do a little swing and go back and forth."
To be educated, she was home schooled. She does plan on going to college.
"But then I know that I am going to come back here at the end of the day, it is my passion," said Cavallini. "(Later on) I would like to do different things, I do different things," she said. "Right now, this is the only thing that I am doing; I do handstands with my dad. I do want to go more into the trapeze as doing a triple and doing more hard things on it, so that is something that I do see myself doing in more years to come."
Page 2 of 2 - And for those who want to go into the circus, she offers some advice.
"If they want to perform, first they have to get into shape, I think that that is the first phase, if you are going to come to the circus and you are out of shape, you are not going to get anywhere," she said. "Every act has its own difficulty in it. If it is something that you really desire, you can do it, look at the Internet, look for circuses that are nearby and you can just find a job. You can work in the office, work with the animals and the circus."
She enjoys the circus and encourages others to see the circus when it rolls into town.
"The circus is a very magical place, it is beautiful," said Cavallini. "I personally think that everybody needs to come to the circus, in their lifetime, everybody needs a little bit of circus, it is something that you can't live without."
Other acts during the Monday circus included clowns, elephants, a petting zoo and other acts under the big top.
Carson & Barnes Circus is located in Hugo, Okla. and has been in existence since 1937.