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Under the big top with dazzle and stunts on the North Coast

The Great Benjamins Circus performed in Terrace, Prince Rupert and Kitimat
Juan Enostroza, a fifth-generation circus performer wowed audiences in Terrace, Kitimat and Prince Rupert with his daredevil motorcycle stunts under the big top of the Great Benjamins Circus from July 17 to 19. (Photo: K-J Millar/The Northern View)

The big top came to the North Coast with all the glitz and showmanship circus acrobats, daredevils, clowns, and dancers could sparkle in Prince Rupert, Terrace and Kitimat.

The Great Benjamins Circus performed two shows each at the Terrace Sportplex on July 17, Jim Ciccone Civic Center on July 18 and the Tamitik Arena on July 19, to thousands of spectators who lapped up the live entertainment with laughs and applause.

The traditional circus, which offers international acts, travels the four corners of North America from Florida to California to Alaska to New Foundland each year, carrying out 90 performances in each show.

“We offer a rich and sincere circus experience. Much more than an entertainment organization, we present ourselves as being a symbol of respect and education towards all cultures. We are an ambassador of multiculturalism and have a great appreciation for performance art,” the company stated on its website.

Jamaica Stewart attended the Prince Rupert show with her sister Shayna Stewart and niece Hadley. She said they had a good time and enjoyed the show. Hadley had never been to a circus before and said she could decide her favourite part but thought the motorcycles were exciting.

Juan Enostroza is a daredevil motorcycle rider who has been straddling the bikes for the past seven years. The 29-years old stuntman has spent his whole life in the circus and grown up in the world as the latest in the line of five generations of circus performers. His father was a trapeze acrobat, and his mom was a make-up artist and hairstylist.

Enostroza left his homeland of Chile in 2017 to “trip around the world,” working with different circuses in Russia, Ukraine, England, France, Spain and Germany. he said he now landed in North America with his “girl” from Italy.

He explained to The Northern View in an interview after the show that he loves his job, and it’s the feelings that keep him there. Being a motorcycle stuntman is dangerous work he said, adding he has been performing with his current stunt partner for three months, and due to the complexity of the act, they practice every day.

“We do it for love, more than any money, circus is our life. We can’t have any other life because the circus is everything to us,” he said.

The pandemic has hurt circuses hard, he said, and he was stuck in Chile during COVID-19.

“It was a very bad time. Very hard time for everybody, but more so for us because we work with people.”

The motorcycle daredevil said because the circus is his whole life, he knows nothing else. So to make ends meet, he would prepare popcorn, and cotton candy, every morning and drive around in his car selling it to passersby.

“All the circus people in Chile did this because of the pandemic we could not work.”

He eventually made it to Italy in March 2021 and to North America in March of this year, when he started with Benjamin’s Circus.

 K-J Millar | Editor and Multimedia Journalist 
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