With just 24 hours to rehearse, it wasn’t the ideal preparation for keen gymnast Suzy Snee.
But that didn’t stop the 13-year-old from dazzling the crowds as she made her circus debut, having responded to a desperate plea for performers from a troupe visiting the Fylde coast.
Circus Mondao lost two of its five acrobats with just days to go before the first show in the big top in Norcross on Tuesday and put out an appeal for replacements.
So Fleetwood High School pupil Suzy, who watches the circus every year when it comes to the area, volunteered her services.
She said: “I went on Monday, and they told me to show them what I could do. I did some tumbling and we tried some lifts.
“I was quite nervous, but excited about the show – I love performing.”
And after getting her first show out of the way, Suzy is looking forward to plenty more. With 11 shows a week and just one day off, she has a busy month ahead of her. But despite committing herself to two shows a day five times a week, plus one on Sundays, she is taking it all in her stride.
The 13-year-old added: “I was scared in case I fell but I was just glad to be out there and performing.”
Mum Julie Williams said: “We are extremely proud of her. It’s a kid’s dream come true, but how often do they get that chance?
“We’re just still a bit shell-shocked because it all happened so quickly.
“The show went really well – she was as calm as anything but I was a bag of nerves.
“We were just amazed, really. The show looked really good.”
The family were setting off on holiday when they got a call from Suzy’s teacher at Gym Mania, suggesting she apply for the circus.
A week later, she was rehearsing while the tent was still going up – and 24 hours after that she was performing in front of the opening night crowds.
Circus Mondao ring mistress Petra Jackson said: “We were down to three performers and needed somebody extra.
“Suzy came down and did really well, even though sports gymnastics is quite different from circus gymnastics.”
Suzy’s gymnastics teacher Sarah Oxley, of Gym Mania in Fleetwood, said: “Suzy has been attending for about a year and also is part of our leadership academy training to be a gymnastics coach.
“We are really proud of her being successful with the circus and hope this may be the start of links between the club and the circus for future years.”
The circus is based on Norcross Lane, and it will be in town until Monday, August 25.