Circus performers speak of lost dreams after severe injuries from accident in Providence
Injured circus performer Julissa Segrera, 20, says her dream now is to “get up and walk.”
BY MARK REYNOLDS Journal Staff Writer
June 17, 2014
CHARLESTOWN, Mass. — Six weeks after an equipment failure sent them crashing to the floor of the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, four circus aerialists — three in wheelchairs — talked to the media for the first time Tuesday afternoon, tearfully offering thanks to many well-wishers around the world, describing new lives marked with pain and candidly acknowledging altered ambitions.
“My dream was to be a star performer,” said Julissa Segrera, a 20-year-old native of Cuba. “Now my dream is to get up and walk. I will walk one day so I can take my one-and-a-half-year-old son to the park.”
Viktoriya Medeiros, a native of Bulgaria, who turns 35 years old Wednesday, admitted that she will never return to circus acrobatics.
“For me, my dream is just done,” Medeiros said.
Medeiros, Segrera and two other young women who spoke to the media at the Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital were severely injured when a single carabiner clip snapped during their hair-hanging “human chandelier” act, part of the May 4 performance involving eight aerialists of the Ringling Bros and Barnum & Bailey Circus.
Circus aerialists Julissa Segrera, left, and Dayana Costa are tearful as Costa reads a statement to members of the media Tuesday at Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital.
They did not show anger toward anyone when they spoke at a news conference that their lawyers had arranged at their request.
Instead, they took the opportunity to send their gratitude to people all over the world, including Rhode Island.
Svitlana Balanicheva, 22, a native of Ukraine, talked about the pride she took from being a circus performer and how she adored entertaining families and especially children.
Balanicheva, the only one of the four aerialists not in a wheelchair, thanked people for their love and support, speaking for both herself and for 25-year-old Viktorila Liakhova, who remained in Providence, where she was having surgery Tuesday.
“To go through what we did is something we never dreamed of,” Balanicheva said.
Dayana Costa’s injuries required little steel rods to be placed in her lower arm and hand. They joined an external rod that held it altogether.
She spoke of a “very, very hard and painful recovery.” The 26-year-old native of Brazil reported that all the prayers and encouragement have helped her and another injured Brazilian aerialist, Stefany Neves, push through the daily hard work and many challenges of recovery.
“Every day is really hard,” she said. “Every day is something new.”