When we first drew up a list of jobs we hoped to include in our WORKING series, “acrobat” was right at the top. Okay, that’s because the list was alphabetical, but even so, we’ve always itched to know more about folks who travel the world doing amazing things before a largely unappreciative public. Why do acrobats, jugglers, and high-wire artists live on the fringes of society when movie actors, pop singers, and orchestra conductors get five-star treatment? Why do we value Kelly Clarkson or Lindsay Lohan more than a person who can do a double backflip onto another person’s shoulders?
It’s hard to imagine a better man to tackle this question than Sean Cole. Sean brings a distinctive mix of wryness and wonder to his radio stories about how the world works. So we sent him to the UK to spend time with Svitlana Svystun, a Ukrainian dancer who performs an Argentinian gaucho act with her Russian husband for the British-owned Great Moscow State Circus. Sean was fascinated by Svitlana’s dual identity – part death-defying superhero, part homemaking mom (home being a little travel trailer). In some ways, circus life was as weird as Sean expected – the cramped quarters, the strange hours, the eccentric people with murky pasts. But what struck him in the end was the normalcy of it all.
P.S. We’ve been too busy to make a lot of noise about the Worker Browser in the last few weeks, but we’d love it if you’d visit and, if you like it, send the link to your friends.