: Behind-the-Scenes at an Indian Circus

Our special projects designer in India went behind the scenes at a circus, and here’s what she learned…

People join the circus as kids.

Most circus performers marry other circus performers.
They deliver babies and raise them in the tents.
People join the circus because they receive food and lodging, they can escape their home life, and they don’t have to go to school.

If they perform well, they can also earn a relatively good salary of Rs. 5,000 a month.
That’s about $130.

The circus hippo is very dangerous. He is transported by truck in a water container, and a pit must be dug and filled with water for him wherever the circus goes.

The hula-hoop girl, wife of the ringmaster, says she doesn’t need to practise her act because she’s been doing it for 17 years.

She has danced at some Bollywood parties for a lot of money, but didn’t like that life.

She says the circus takes care of her needs. It’s her family.

photography by Mehera Kleiner