My friend Mini (or Elizabeth, or Liz, depending on how you know her) started taking classes at circus school last year. She has always been a dancer and was on the dive team in high school. The girl is flexible. She’s most recently been doing a bunch of those crazy relay running races, like Ragnar.
She mentioned to a handful of us that the circus school was having a student show and, “would we like to come?” Uh, yes. Yes I would like to come. And I agreed even before she sent me the link with her costume, or ideas for face painting. I’d been listening to her talk about the characters at this circus school for months. And occasionally seeing her bruises from the routines. And I wanted to see what could possibly be so fun she’d be willing to drive 40 miles one way to play.
So, there we were on a hot Saturday afternoon in a cramped industrial park in north Scottsdale sitting on gymnastic mats. I played with her nephews and chatted with her boys. She had a strong showing of support, including her parents, sibling and family friends. We mingled among all the others, also sitting on gym mats, also sporting tentative looks.
Min and her friend were the seventh act and they nailed it. They seriously nailed it. It was fun and exciting and scary in parts. (Those silks don’t come with a backup safety plan.)
Min’s always been my adventurous friend. (It is funny to write that because she is also my friend who is scared of windy roads, the dark and anything that has to do with planning related to death.) But she really is so adventurous — including getting over her fear of the dark by doing those ridiculous relay running races at 2 am. The day after her rather amazing circus performance on the silks, we were out hiking in the desert and it dawned on me how very proud I am of her.
These photos don’t do these weirdos justice. Their performances were certainly strange, but also beautiful. And you could tell how passionate they were about their craft. It was fun to watch and hard to photograph.
It sounds silly, but that is the right word: proud. She is a hilarious mix of sarcasm, wit and gossip. And she’s also a great mom, super successful realtor, and writer. She’s fun to be around, and she also has a lot to teach me — a rather nice combination for a friendship that is pushing 30 years old.
Proud of you, Mini Tolar/Liz Newlin/Liza Wildcat. You make one hell of a circus weirdo.