This Australian mother of three didn’t just dream of running away with the circus – she did it, bringing her husband and children with her. The 40-year-old talks about raising a family under the big top
Analiese Long ran away with the circus – and took her kids with her.
Iam the general stage manager for Cirque du Soleil. My husband, Mike, often works as a sound engineer for the circus. Back when I had just joined Cirque, our three kids were aged four, six and eight. We wanted them to have both of their parents around so off we all went – to the circus! We packed up our house, had a garage sale and took the kids out of school. Our first stop was Mexico.
We made sure the kids had lots of excursions and immersions into the local culture. They didn’t have to do a lot of schoolwork, but we taught them their mathematics and how to read. Since we were both working full-time, we hired a nanny who taught them Spanish and took them on archaeological hunts to the pyramids. We saw Mexico as our “tryout”, to see if the process worked. Mike and I agreed it was hard work but rewarding. So we decided to keep going.
Since then, we’ve lived in up to 20 countries, including Russia, Sweden and Lebanon. The kids loved it. They’ve actually seen more of those countries than Mike and me as we were working. We did a bit of distance education through the Queensland system, but a lot of the time I was creating a curriculum for them. I’d do a whole day’s work, come home at night and write out lessons.
Eight years later, the children are in their teens [12, 14 and 16]. They haven’t toured with me for a few years because it’s important for them to stick to their studies at school. Mike and I have agreed to try to work 12 months on, 12 months off, so only one of us is away at any given time. I’ve been away most recently, so Mike has been at home. He’s absolutely my rock. He does it all. He’s mum and dad, housekeeper and driver. He still works, just in a limited capacity.
We met when I was finishing high school, and decided we were going to be together for the rest of our lives. Before we had kids, so much of our time and marriage was spent in each other’s company. We worked, lived and grew together. So to be away from one another is heartbreaking but also supported.that’s because of how well we know each other.
As the kids move through high school, I’m trying to take contracts with Cirque that allow me to be close to, or in, Australia. But when they all graduate… who knows? Maybe Mike and I will take off. We’ll be young and carefree again! Cirque du Soleil’s Toruk: The First Flight opens in Brisbane on October 5; ticketek.com.au.