Editor’s Fanfare Vol. III, No. 1

 Watching Talent Develop and Achieve Success

One of the most satisfying and rewarding aspects of a job like mine is the access it provides to young talent and therefore the ability to identify the most talented and watch them develop over a number of years.

People like Dan and Betty Butler at Circus Juventas (whose own recent successes are discussed in one of this issues’ features), Ed LeClair and Troy Wunderle of Circus Smirkus, Carlo Pellegrini of Amazing Grace Circus and Jessica Hentoff of Circus Harmony have all enjoyed these rewards on an even more intimate level, as they have seen recent graduates of their programs not only become professionals but achieve a high level of success at a relatively early age

As it happens I was able to share Hentoff’s pride in the recent achievement of Renaldo “Junior” Williams, whom she trained and nutured from any early age.  Hentoff recalls how Junior attended one of her circus performances at the City Museum of St. Louis when he was in seventh grade.  After the performance he introduced himself to Hentoff and said he wanted to learn to do what he had just seen kids just like him do.

For the next seven years Junior trained at Circus Harmony, expanding year by year not only his physical skills but his artistic achievements  as a member of  the St. Louis Arches.  In that group he learned tumbling, partner acrobatics, aerial work, juggling and equilibristics.  He also took to choreographing many of the group’s ensemble numbers, as well as individual adagio acrobatics.  There was nothing related to the circus he was not interested in.  He also became a part of the Ianna Spirit Riders bareback riding act.  Eventually he became Circus Harmony’s first student to be accepted at Montreal’s National Circus School, where his art developed even further.

After graduating from the Montreal school he and his acrobatic partner Naomi Pichon won jobs in Dubai, Australia, Russia and France.  Not bad for a kid who had never been outside of St. Louis.  This past January the couple capped off their young careers by winning a silver medal at the Cirque de Demain (Circus of Tomorrow) Festival in Paris.  Under the professional name of Reynaldo, this young circus artist will be touring the world with the Canadian circus company Les 7 Doughts de la Man (Seven Fingers).  This company was co-founded by Gypsy Snider whose own career we have watched  soar from the days she was with her father and mother in the Pickle Family Circus.

It has been my privilege to watch Junior/Renaldo at every step of his career, just as I have with Gypsy, Mason Ames, Zeb Fricke and many others, and I take pride in having recognized their talent from the very beginning of each one of their careers.

Speaking of continually developing careers another circus artist, Dominique Jando, has branched out  geographically as well as artistically into producing.  He has graciously accepted our invitation to provide his first-hand account of how he happened down this latest path in his peripatetic career.