Photo: Emily Ainsworth
Posted by Lauren Ward of NG Staff in Explorers Journal on May 23, 2012
“Blood, Sweat, and Sequins: behind the Mexican Circus”
By Jhunehl Fortaleza, Media Intern
As a journalist, anthropologist, and dancing circus princess, Emily Ainsworth has spent the past few years capturing the hidden lives of performers who’ve tantalized audiences for decades. Emily somehow manages to capture the color and texture of their everyday lives, using a camera lens to uncover what lies beyond the circus veil.
We only ever get a glimpse at them under a bright spotlight, but through the National Geographic Young Explorer’s Grant, Emily gives us a unique window into what she calls a world of “blood, sweat and sequins,” where most performers have “generations of circus blood pumping through their veins” and many artists “die in the ring, rather than of old age.
With the help of NG, Emily was able to work with seven different circuses around Mexico City—Circo Hermanos Vazquez, Circo Atayde, and American Circus to name a few.
With more than 200 circuses in Mexico, traveling with them gave Emily an opportunity to see Mexico from a different perspective, from the eyes of those growing up outside of mainstream society. Emily says that this project had particular significance for the performers. NG magazines are sold on every street corner in Mexico, so their lives being featured in association with NG gave them confidence that their culture was valued.
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