Life ad­vice

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

Sunday Herald Sun - Stellar - - Contents -

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.

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