William Borges practicing at iFly Trapeze in East Meadow. Courtesy photos: Dawn Borges

For one Riverhead High School student life is a circus. A real circus, that is, and he’ll have quite a story to tell when he’s asked, “What did you do last summer?”

William Borges, a 15-year-old trapeze artist and juggler from Baiting Hollow, has earned a spot with Circus Smirkus, the country’s only traditional traveling youth circus.

Chosen after an audition at Smirkus headquarters in Greensboro, Vermont, William will travel and work with 29 other teen performers from 13 states: California, Illinois, Massachusetts, Maine, Minnesota, Missouri, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island, Vermont, Virginia and Washington, as well as from Africa and Canada.

William Borges
Photo: Robert Sanson, courtesy Riverhead Central School District

William trains at Gym-Nest Gymnastics in Medford and iFly Trapeze in East Meadow. He also trained at Circus Smirkus camp this past summer for four weeks. 

Performers in Circus Smirkus are skilled in juggling, wire-walking, clowning, acrobatics, Chinese pole, hula hoop, aerials, and unicycling.

Circus Smirkus performers will travel to Greensboro for three weeks of rehearsals at Smirkus headquarters in June, then hit the road for a 66-show tour that touches down in 16 cities and towns in the Northeast over the course of 7 weeks. As “Smirkos,” they will join fellow members of the troupe in tasks such as taking care of props, selling tickets and popcorn, and working cooperatively with the professional tent crew, light and sound technicians, equipment riggers, costumers, musicians and others who travel with the one-ring show.

Over the years Circus Smirkus has become known for its theme-based and “story” shows. This year, Circus Smirkus celebrates its 30th anniversary with Midnight at the Museum, a celebration of what happens when a sleepy museum comes to life after hours.

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