Juggling in zero-gravity, a love of breakdance and why he’s the only one in his family who juggles standing up – a conversation with Dany Reyes…
How old were you when you first performed?
My first appearance was probably when I was five or six, but my first official appearance with my own act was when I was 15, almost ten years ago now.
It was for a circus that passed by near were we lived and having been juggling since the age of eight I was ready to perform. In 2006, after years of juggling skills I met some break-dancers and became fascinated by their world and decided to create an act that was a fusion of both of my passions.
You were born in Italy, into the 4th generation of a circus family, tell us more about them?
My parents are Consuelo Reyes, two-time winner of the World Championship as a foot juggler, and Paolo Bogino, ex-bicycle acrobat turned comedian.
I have two sisters. My older sister is three years older than me and we started working at the same time. When I’m not working I often assist her with her foot-juggling act, for a long time we worked in the same places, so it was convenient as she always needs someone to assist with her act, she’s working more in theatres now and I’m working more in circus, so my dad is assisting her now.
Did your parents expect you to join the circus?
I grew up travelling so it was only natural to progress to being in the circus, I think if I wasn’t in a circus I would be doing something else that enabled me to travel for a living.
In the early 2000’s my parents travelled quite far, to Australia and I stayed with my grandparents so that I could go to school at home. I went to a regular school, always the same one, my parents would try and arrange their work around holidays if they had to travel further away.
What did your school friends make of your circus lifestyle?
They didn’t notice that much, they knew I was a circus guy, but I wasn’t like other circus children who would miss a lot of school, I’d only have a few weeks off, so I wasn’t much different than someone just going on their holidays.
How did you get on in school?
I was never very good at studying, I’m more of an action person. I think I would have made a good pilot, in fact I’d like to be the first juggler to attempt to juggle on the International Space Station in zero gravity. Juggling has been done in so many ways – I’d love to do something different.
How did you first hear of Giffords Circus?
I first heard about Giffords Circus when I was touring in Italy, the wife of a friend of mine was working here. When I was working in California a few years back I got my first contract to appear in the 2017 show Any Port In A Storm which was my first time in England.
How does Giffords Compare to the European Circus’s that you know so well?
I think Giffords is different to every circus really, the closest one I can compare it to is the one I was working at in California, as they are both a new way of doing circus, which is quite different for me coming from an old circus family. The circus’s that I know have different groups of people working for them but Giffords is like one big family, everyone knows each other, and you can count on each other.
What do you like most about touring with Giffords Circus?
I really like the grounds we stop at, I was brought up in the countryside so love the village greens and parks we visit. Most circus’s visit big cities as you have a captive audience but I much prefer the countryside.
How do you find the Giffords Circus audiences?
The audiences always come back each year, and they notice if you’ve come back too. They are just unbelievable!
What are you enjoying most about this year’s show My Beautiful Circus?
I’m doing a lot more in this year’s show, I’m talking more and presenting between acts, and getting experience of working with Tweedy and Nancy, plus my juggling. Tweedy is just amazing, I’ve learned more about acting without even noticing and I really love it and would like to do more acting.
What advice would you give someone who wanted to run away with the circus?
I give the same advice that my grandad gave me, ‘to be the greatest performer there are just three things to remember; practice, practice and practice!’
Find out more about Dany by visiting www.danyreyes.net
Photography by Gem Hall.