Cover image for Circus dreams : the making of a circus artist
Circus dreams : the making of a circus artist
Cushman, Kathleen.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
Boston : Joy Street Books, [1990]

Physical Description:
90 pages : illustrations ; 24 x 25 cm
Text and photographs follow eighteen-year-old Montana Miller's move to France to study with the circus in hopes of becoming a trapeze artist.
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
GV1811.M545 C87 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area

On Order



A study which follows 18 year old Montana Miller and her classmates through one year of intensive training for the circus, from trapeze, to acting, dance, juggling, clowning, tightrope and acrobatics on horseback.

Reviews 3

Booklist Review

Gr. 6-12. Administered by the French government, the National Center for Circus Arts in Chalons-sur-Marne in France is a professional college for circus artists that offers training in all aspects of performance--trapeze flying, acting, dance, juggling, clowning, tightrope walking, and even acrobatics on horseback. Eighteen-year-old Montana Miller, an aspiring trapeze artist, delayed a college career to enroll in the intensive program and fulfill her dream of flying. Her journals, her letters home, and interviews with fellow circus students form the basis of this mother-daughter collaboration. Filled with black-and-white photographs of Montana and other pupils, the book describes the grueling reality of circus life and the physical dexterity, skill, and conditioning necessary to achieve performance mastery. It also captures the spirit of the performers and the wonderful circus magic that draws fans and striving performers alike. ~--Mary Romano Marks

Publisher's Weekly Review

Readers will almost be able to smell the sawdust as they follow the experiences of a trapeze artist during her first year of professional training. As the first American student to attend the National Center of Circus Arts of Chalons-sur-Marne, France, 18-year-old Montana Miller faces numerous challenges. Besides working hard to meet her coaches' rigorous demands, she struggles to win the acceptance of her peers and adapt to a new culture. In recalled memories and excerpts taken from her letters home, the book reveals the artist's internal growth as she overcomes loneliness, builds self-confidence, masters new skills and ultimately resists the temptation to return to the States and lead the more conventional life of a student at a liberal arts college. Perfectly complemented by Carroll's exquisite photographs, this absorbing documentary offers an intimate profile of one dedicated performer while evoking the pain, tension, thrills and magic that are all a part of circus life. Ages 10-up. (Nov.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

School Library Journal Review

Gr 5-8-- A book that gives a sense of vitality and immediacy. Following graduation from high school, Montana Miller decided to pursue her dream to become a trapeze artist. At the National Center for Circus Arts in Chalons-sur-Marne, France, she had to prove herself artistically, develop great endurance and strength, and cope with speaking a foreign language. She took classes in juggling, tightrope walking, trampoline, flying rings, as well as ballet and circus history. After a period of discouragement, Miller knew that she must continue, that the thrill of flying on the trapeze outweighed any other consideration. The mundane as well as the glamorous aspects of the school's daily activities are captured in the profuse array of black-and-white photos. Many reveal the concentration necessary to master a skill, and Miller's own face is a remarkable mirror of her emotions. The engaging young protagonist of Krementz's A Very Young Circus Flier (Dell, 1987) presents circus life from the viewpoint of a performer born into that world, while Miller's story describes the arduous preparations required of older students who hope to make the circus their career. But her account is more than a good read for circus fans. The description of her coming to terms with disappointment, frustration, and loneliness makes the story appealing to anyone who must work hard in order to achieve a goal. --Phyllis G. Sidorsky, National Cathedral School, Washington, DC (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.