We had the good fortune of connecting with Cynthia Johnson and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Cynthia, is there something you can share with us that those outside of the industry might not be aware of?
The amount of time and effort that our professional circus performers put into their craft. A lot of people who hire us think what we do is a hobby, and that we will work for free. But the reality is that for many of us, performing is a career and we spend many hours a day training and perfecting our art.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
Before I found circus, I was a competitive gymnast until I graduated high school. When I moved to Colorado, I discovered yoga and fell in love. A few years later I discovered circus and fell in love even more. My gymnastics expertise mixed with my love for yoga sets me apart from a lot of other circus coaches, in that I have heavy experience with gymnastics and not just aerial arts. My teaching style is heavily focused on good form and flexibility, not just on the tricks. In that way, I feel that I am developing future professionals. I have been coaching gymnastics for 15 years, so the transition to coaching aerial arts was so natural for me, and felt like my true calling. But it wasn’t easy. Aerial apparatuses are very expensive, but I started a fundraiser and got so much support from the local community. But in a small town, with competing programs, it is hard to start a new business. But we are still growing and lots of new opportunities are starting to arise.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Durango is amazing and the first thing I always tell first-timers to do is ride the train. It is well worth the money. The other thing everyone must do (in the summertime) is float the Animas River. You can take guided rafting trips or just get some cheap inflatable tubes and a six-pack of Ska beer and spend all day floating the river. For the hikers, my favorite hike near Durango is Engineer Mountain, where you will see the most beautiful views of the San Juan Mountains. Of course I’d also tell people to take an aerial class at San Juan Circus. For dinner I would suggest 11th Street Station, and for dessert definitely Cream Bean Berry for the best ice cream in town.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My shoutout goes out to all the kids I coach. I think circus arts often attract kids who maybe haven’t found their niche or friend group. But when they try circus arts, they become so passionate about it, and find they can succeed on so many different levels, because circus arts include endless ways of expressing yourself.

Instagram: @sanjuancircus

Facebook: @sanjuancircus

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