While many days can feel like a circus here, today we had an actual circus on the plaza. I popped down to the greenroom and chatted with one of the performers, Nik Wallenda, who performs on the Double Wheel of Wonder. Keep reading for the inside scoop on a death-defying family man, and see his stunt as performed on the show!
So, how long have you been involved with the circus?
Well, my family has been involved for generations - I grew up in the circus, and I've been performing since I was two years old.
What did you do as a two-year-old?
My parents didn't want me doing anything life-threatening as a young kid, so I used to be a clown and one of the adult clowns would carry me out in a pillow case.
Do you have kids of your own?
Yes, my wife and I have three kids, and they all perform in the show.
What was the first life-threatening thing you did on the show?
The high wire. That's what my family is known for - that's what my parents did. They didn't let me try it until I was thirteen.
How long do you stay in each place?
About a week, give or take. It is a lot of traveling, but doesn't feel hard because we love what we do, and that's how I grew up.
Do you have any time off?
We have two weeks off in December, but that's pretty much it. We tour the entire country the rest of the time on the train.
Do you get nervous when you perform?
No, I don't. Again, this is what I've always done. We all check our own riggings to make sure everything is safe, and I perform with Bello, who is one of my closest friends. He is ten years older than me and I used to look up to him as a kid. As I got older we grew to be close friends.
How about when your wife performs?
Oh, definitely. I never worry for myself, but I always get nervous watching her perform.
What is your most memorable circus moment?
I think when we beat the world record with an eight-person pyramid on the high wire in Japan.
When will you stop performing?
I guess when I can't do it anymore. It's not a job it's something I love. When does a golfer stop golfing? When he can't see the ball anymore.