HOW many seven year olds can be catapulted off a see-saw by their mum and aunty, to double flip through the air and land square on an uncle’s shoulders, who just also happens to be standing on his dads shoulders?
Even if you counted the whole population the answer still wouldn’t be many. But there is one and he is an Australian boy with the face of focus.
Seven-year-old Cassius West is a fifth generation Australian circus performer, he and his young peers (all family) are one of the highlights at the Stardust Circus.
To get this good these kids don’t have much time for digital screens, they don’t watch action, they are action.
Their days start with a coached warm up and training session followed by a practice session for individual acts and then it’s off to school. The kids showcase the incredible potential of children.
Talking about the highs and lows young performer Cassius said, “I love when they take me to places like water parks and fun parks.
“I don’t like waking up early and I wish I had more kids around my age to play with,” Cassius said.
But when it comes to what’s important the focus is on the animals. When asked what he feels requires the most care, the answer is, “All the animals especially our two six-week-old lion cubs which I help my dad take photos with at show time and I also help to feed them their bottles,” he said.
Stardust Circus is drama, comedy, acrobats and animals. The whole show is live, no digital tricks; it is real people, and real families in real time.
A must childhood experience, the circus is even better for grownups, through adult eyes the lifestyle and hard work it takes adds another level of appreciation.
“Nothing like suburbia, circus housekeeping looks more like feeding lions, cleaning up horse yards and preparing bottles for our lion cubs,” Shannon West, Cassius’s mother and performing acrobat said.
And the performers are generous; we get two hours of entertainment that comes from 24 hours of seven days a week in preparation that’s passed on from generations of tradition.
In exchange we pay a small sum but most importantly give our time and attention.
A good crowd can make all the difference, former performer and relative of Stardust performers Phillip West says, “a good crowd lifts up the performers … a good crowd is very important.”
“A good crowd makes the show so much easier to do. As performers we love nothing better than a great reaction from the audience!” Shannon West said.
The circus is in Narooma from next Wednesday until Sunday, January 27.
The performer who made Narooma home
ONCE an acrobat, clown and trick riding jockey former performer Phillip West recalls many an adventure about Circus life.
Born into the circus in 1934 Phillip performed as a child and worked with the circus on and off throughout his life.
Travelling all of Australia Mr West has colourful memories of life with the last horse and wagon circus in Australia.
“I was born in the circus – my mum and dad had the last horse and wagon circus in Australia," Mr Phillip said.
Now retired and living in Narooma Mr West is a published author who shares his historical account in the book “The Last Horse and Wagon Circus Family.”
The current performing troop of Stardusts Circus is closely related to Mr West as they are his late brother Victor’s children and grandchildren.