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High flying circus calls into Norwich

PUBLISHED: 17:09 14 June 2011 | UPDATED: 17:13 14 June 2011

The Netherlands National Circus at Norfolk Showground.

The Netherlands National Circus at Norfolk Showground.

Archant Norfolk Photographic © 2011

Roll up, roll up . . . The circus is in Norwich!

The Big Top and caravans may have hardly changed for decades, but the organisers of the Netherlands National Circus are hoping the old-fashioned entertainment will prove as popular as ever.

The circus, which is at the Norfolk Showground, includes a clown, gymnastics, juggling and contortionists, as well as the height-shy flying trapeze act. There will be no animal acts, which have proved increasingly controversial in recent years.

Although the circus is a British invention, it has always enjoyed a much higher artistic status in Europe. It remains very much a family affair, with husbands and wives, fathers and sons working in the circus together.

Junior Neves has been doing the trapeze for 15 years, but still has to battle against his fear every time he performs.

The circus arrived in the city yesterday and will be performing two to three times a day until Sunday.

Mr Neves, who performs alongside his brother, cousin, sister and fiancé, unfortunately suffers from vertigo. He said: “I don’t have to do it, I like to. Fortunately, I don’t get dizzy but I do get scared. I just focus on the guy who is going to catch me and try not to look down.”

Mr Neves, 33, from Brazil, was also thought to be too tall to be a trapeze artiste at 5ft 8in, but has gone on to perform around the world.

Alongside him are 29 other performers from across the globe. They form part of an 80-man team, complete with mechanics, electricians and cooks, who transport the company across Europe. Together they are taking their Big Top to 45 towns across the UK from February to November.

Contortionist Kwame Yeboah, from Ghana, joined the group this year as part of The Warrior Kings. Mr Yeboah, 21, started practising when he was nine years old.

He said: “Basically, I was born flexible, but had to be taught to do what I am doing. I practised in the park every day for about two hours. When you start it hurts, it really, really hurts, but you get used to it. If you work really hard you can do it.”

The traditional clown role is played by 47-year-old Lasllo Szabo, who is known as PomPom. He only took to the stage because of a bet with his brother, but has been performing ever since. He said: “I have been doing this for 20 years and I do still get nervous, but the healthy level. If that buzz is not there, then you better not do it.”

The circus is performing at 4.45pm and 7.30pm until Saturday, with an extra 2pm show on Saturday, and 12.30pm and 3.30pm shows on Sunday.

Tickets are available from the box office at the showground or by calling 0844 4155228.

To see a trapeze artiste in action follow the YouTube link on the left.

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