Courtlynn Crowe wasn’t going to make the cut the first time she tried out to become a flying trapeze performer in the Peru Amateur Circus.
But then, unknowingly, she did something to change that. With tryouts over, 12-year-old Crowe started putting away all the equipment as the other contenders stood around talking.
Brian Miser, the trapeze coach at the time, said that kind of initiative and work ethic wasn’t something he could ignore.
“It was the last practice before making cuts, and I had my mind made up,” he said. “But I saw Courtlynn carrying some poles and the others standing around, and I said, ‘I think I just changed my mind.’”
Fast forward to today, and that kind of dedication has paid off in a way Crowe never expected when she joined the act seven years ago.
In 2019, Crowe switched roles to become a flying trapeze catcher. It’s a role that had always been held by a male. But that changed with Crowe, who became the first female catcher in the Peru circus’ 62-year history.
Now, Crowe is set to once again perform as the trapeze catcher during this year’s Peru Circus City Festival, which kicks off today and runs through July 25 after being canceled last year due to COVID-19.
During the performances, spectators can watch the 19-year-old hanging upside down, swinging back and forth, perfectly timing the catch as a flyer launches themselves toward her, 40 feet above the ground.
So why did Crowe want to become a catcher after performing for years as a flyer?
“You know, everybody asks me that question,” she said with a laugh. “It would be a good question to know the answer to.”
In retrospect, Crowe said, she was drawn to the position by the strategy, intuitive anticipation and snap judgment required to make a perfect catch. Those aren’t skills she needed as a flying trapeze performer, and she liked the idea of trying something different…
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