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September 1, 2015

Circus Terminology

Here we give a medley of eastern and western terms used in the respective regions for our visitors’ knowledge as well as entertainment.

Ukhara :

It means the day when the show is not scheduled.

Announcer :

Generally this is a person who introduces the acts, events and performers to the audience during the circus performance. But at times he also serves as the ringmaster. During the hay days of the circus, he was called performance directors.

Backyard :

As evident this refers to the place at the backyard of the circuses where dressing rooms, rings stock tents, wardrobe and costume departments, doctor’s wagon, tailor’s wagon and performer’s rest areas are all located. This is a NO ENTRY area for the general public.

Fold or Folded :

This refers to closing of a show before the end of its regular season.

Iron jaw :

An aerial act in which the performers work suspended by a mouth piece clinched behind their teeth.

Jump :

This means the moving of circus between towns.

Kid Show :

It is a sideshow with a circus.

March :

The old time grant free street parade, horse drawn.

Wild Cat :

This term is used when the circus has to move in to new territory on very short notice due to problems on the old route. Droughts, Strikes, layoffs, epidemics, etc, etc. Could force a route change. The latter was usual cause of sudden changes that resulted in ‘wildcatting’

Under the Stars :

To show outside without a tent. Seats and properties set up without a tent over them.

Take :

The cash taken in from a performance, a concession, a series of performances or a string concession.

Mechanic :

A belt or safety device worn by a performer as he does a ‘trick’. One or more safety (lunge) ropes are attached to the belt. During the act, the person holding the lung ropes regulate the slack in them so that the performer has freedom of movement but cannot fall to the ground or floor on a ‘missed trick’. most all performers, both aerial and ground, are trained by aid of mechanics.

Territory :

In the past, each big show has territory it considered its own. They fought to protect that territory from any encroachment from another shows.

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