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Thursday, January 5, 2012

A Family Affair: Raising kids in the circus


The Urias Family perform in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show "Barnum Bash" this weekend at Germain Arena in Estero. / Special to SW FL Parent & Child


Written byPamela Smith Hayford

SW FL Parent & Child

Jan. 4, 2012

Jodie and Melvin Urias are typical parents who value education and strive to raise their two children to be well-rounded, respectful adults. The Sarasota parents also happen to work inside a giant steel ball with noisy motorcycles racing around.Melvin Urias is a fourth-generation circus performer. His great grandfather invented the original globe of steel in 1912. Jodie Urias joined the circus when she was 19. The accomplished aerialist now performs with husband Erwin, his brother Melvin Urias and Melvin’s girlfriend, Olga Surnina, in the Motorcycle Globe with the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey show, which is at Germain Arena in Estero this weekend.

The Urias’s two children—11-year-old Geovi and 7-year-old Alyssa—travel with their parents and receive their education on the road. “PE, it could be globe practice,” says Jodie Urias. “We do stretching and gymnastics… I’ll teach the kids aerial work.”The kids practice two hours a day. They aren’t performing in the show yet; Mom and Dad want them to enjoy it, not feel like they must follow in their parents’ footsteps.“I don’t want them to be pushed away from it,” Jodie Urias says.Geovi rode his first motorcycle when he was 8. It terrified his mother, even with lots of protective gear.“When my son first started practicing, I was a basket case,” Jodie Urias says. “I was shaking. I didn’t let my kids see it, but I was shaking.”Melvin Urias wasn’t worried, though. He had started riding motorcycles at a younger age than his son.“I was happy. I was all gung ho for it. I was like, ‘Alright, I get to ride bikes with my son.’”But the Urias’s swore they wouldn’t push their kids toward performing.“We didn’t allow him to work on it until he expressed a valid interest,” Jodie Urias says of the motorcycle riding. “We just waited until he was ready and we also waited until we were ready.”Alyssa used to want to perform in the globe, but now her interests have turned to the “pretty kind of stuff that you see in the circus,” Jodie Urias says.

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