Shutter to Think: The circus comes to town

Poppet, a character with Cirque Luz Dalia, starts the show Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at Dixon Park District’s The Facility. The traveling group featured acrobats, juggling, comedy and stunts to the delight of the audience.
Poppet, a character with Cirque Luz Dalia, starts the show Tuesday, April 2, 2024 at Dixon Park District’s The Facility. The traveling group featured acrobats, juggling, comedy and stunts to the delight of the audience.

I might be misremembering, but I feel like the circus coming to town had been a yearly, or perhaps at least every other year. Although I know I went a time or two as a kid, the only thing I do recall was a display of giant New York rats and scary clowns.

I certainly was not the first kid to find clowns less terrific and more terrifying. In fact, I think many adults feel similarly. I don’t quite have that fear as I once did, but there still is a bit of uncertainty from me when it comes to the clown community.

A few years back, I was involved in a group art show with the theme “The Trigger Event.” The group explored a number of phobias we might have (or at least want to explore artistically).

I decided on Coulrophobia, the irrational or extreme fear of clowns. I approached my photo piece to delve into what makes them so scary. My conclusion was their exaggerated movements and makeup that hides nonverbal communication leaves us uneasy in reading the real intention of someone. I would have liked to reproduce the photo here but it’s a bit too risque.

On Tuesday and Wednesday, Cirque Luz Dalia made a stop at Dixon Park District’s The Facility. A slightly different version of the circus that I remember. No elephants, lions or the classic ringmaster. But they did have Poppet, a much less frightening clown that the crowd seemed to love as she went through her antics.

It was a fun show for the kids, who saw acrobats, jugglers and men displaying feats of strength and balance. And, of course, the snow cones, popcorn, snacks, bubbles and trinkets that are sold to enhance the fun.

The only thing I missed was the giant rats.

  • Alex T. Paschal is a photographer with Shaw Local. Follow him @svmphotogs or email him at apaschal@shawmedia.com
Alex Paschal

Alex T. Paschal

Photojournalist/columnist for Sauk Valley Media