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Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Siobhan McAndrew: When life really is a circus


Circus Family: Jodie Urias and her family, Geovi, 11, and daughter Alyssa, 7. In the back is husband Erwin Urias, a 4th generation circus performer.

Provided to the Reno Gazette-Journal


Oct. 4, 2011

Jodie Urias is like so many moms who occasionally think of a trip alone to the grocery store as a vacation.She's busy raising son Geovi, 11, and daughter Alyssa, 7, while balancing a career that puts her right in the center of a business that has been in her husband's family for four generations.She struggles like most parents to plan family outings that are fun but educational while fitting in homework, the family dog and the jaunts to the kids' doctor and dentist appointments.It sounds like a lot to juggle, and she's not even one of the clowns. The 30-something mom is in Reno this weekend performing with Ringling Bro. and Barnum & Bailey Circus.Urias joined the circus when she was 19, after seeing a show with her 5-year-old nephew."I was so impressed with the Spanish Web, I thought, 'I would love to do that,'" Urias said of the aerial circus act where a performer does a sort-of ballet while suspended from a braided rope 35 feet in the air.The college student, with a job working at a nursing home, tried to talk to someone about running away and joining the circus the next day."But the circus had already moved, so I called and got someone who said I could meet up with them, practice and audition."Urias, the youngest of 12, thought it sounded like a fun way to spend her summer. She was even a bit surprised when her parents, who have 11 other children in more traditional careers, approved."My dad said, "Well, you better get new tires.'"Urias, who had no circus or formal dance training, practiced for two weeks before the show each night with an accomplished performer from Columbia. She followed in her car, with new tires, from city to city staying in hotels."It's unusual for someone to stick with the circus if it isn't something their family has always done," Urias said.Two weeks later, Urias got the part.She fell in love with the life and Erwin Urias, a circus performer who rides motorcycles at 60 mph in a 16-foot-wide steel globe.His high-speed act, Zing Zang Zoom, was created by his great-grandfather in 1912. Erwin and his brother, Melvin Urias, are the fourth generation to perform.read more at:http://www.rgj.com/article/20111004/COL0603/110020389/1002

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