Running Away with the Circus: Part 1 — Backstage

Above: My friends from The Circus of Dreams

Friday we took the Expreso Bavaro bus to Higuey to visit my friends from The Circus of Dreams The manager, who is from England, and I had become good girlfriends online and even though she started as my client (I designed numerous things for them over 3 years ) but over time we became friends as well.

When I lived in the Dominican Republic, I always wanted to go visit them. The pictures of circus are gorgeous and I knew the show would be spectacular. Plus, my youngest, Elsa, is a natural acrobat so I had fantasies of her seeing the show and getting inspired.

Alas, it was not meant to be. The money nor the time was never there to go — time passed.

Eliza preparing the potatoes for samosas

My last trip to the Dominican Republic was downright depressing. Not only did we get the bad news that we weren’t getting the visa but we had to scramble to plan b, a plan we never had imagined. We spent so much time trying to convince ourselves we could make it and no time having any fun. So this trip I wanted to be different. Although we had plenty we wanted to accomplish, what we needed the most of all was a boost of fun and pleasure  — to relax, de-stress and recharge for the next leg of our visa ‘marathon’. As always, we are on a budget so it’s not like we can just go to a hotel while I’m here. But, what we could do is visit some of my friends that were out of the city and that is what we did.

The bus to Higuey was fast, just over two hours, and very chilly. We knew we had arrived when the famous Basillica came into view. My friend LJ picked us up right away and let us stay in a very comfortable, near luxurious guest room.

LJ came to the Dominican Republic 7 years ago after meeting her significant other Antonio. They have a beautiful little daughter and are expecting their second one. What makes this couple so interesting is what they do: they run a circus, using only local talent, mostly boys from the street that they have trained, and they perform shows at hotels and private events all over the country. LJ is the manager and Antonio is the founder, trainer and often the star performer.

Making costumes

Their house is full of pictures of the shows. There is a room just for making the costumes with a sewing machine set up. In the side garage is where they store the trapeze.

I have to admit that my creative imagination was just bursting. I have always loved the theater and especially costume and set design. To be around all the costumes, sets, raw materials and tools made me want to just end my journey here and join the circus.

Rows of costumes

The visit was very pleasant and a great relaxing time. The first night we just hung out, shared some Dominican food and good conversation. The second night we went to the show at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Bavaro (read more in part 2) and the last night we made Indian food for them: samosas, coconut chicken, fried okra with spices and basmati rice. Such fun, can’t wait to do it again.

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