It’s a way of life and a commitment
IWATCHED in awe as Chris and Phoebe from the Bullzini Family walked the tightrope, high off the ground, at Waddesdon Manor in Buckinghamshire. They’ve created a fabulous family show, including amazing feats by Baby Bullzini!
I caught up with Chris and Phoebe a few weeks later to talk about their unique act and how it all began.
Chris had an interest in performing from an early age, so at the age of nineteen, following his mum’s passing, he threw four juggling balls into a rucksack and went in search of his fortune.
“I didn’t come back for twelve years,” he explained. “I travelled to twenty-eight countries and learned five different languages. I earned money from street performing, juggling, fire performances, and lying on a bed of nails.
“Then fifteen years ago I met a girl in Greece. She was a rope walker who taught me the first few steps. I’ve never looked back. I got tuition from masters in Belgium, France, Kazakhstan and Cuba.”
While performing in Bristol, he met Phoebe, and there was an instant connection.
“I was always interested in the circus growing up, but I thought you had to be born into it, so I didn’t start out as a performer,”
Phoebe told me.
“I was a costume maker and I volunteered to help out in a circus in Bristol called Carny-ville. It was put on by the Invisible Circus, and they had this amazing show of different acts.
“That’s where I met Chris. We clicked, and after that Chris taught me rope walking, but I’ve also been to BBelgiumli andd SSpaini for f training, and we went to Kazakhstan together.”
I wondered, with all this training under their belts, whether they were the best rope walkers in the UK.
“We’re trying to create an artistic and entertaining image which plays homage to the tradition of a nomadic performing family,” Chris explained.
“We like to tell stories, touch hearts and souls. So we’re not aiming to do the highest walk or the longest, but to create our own unique style and tell stories as we go.
“It’s a way of life and a commitment: it’s my job. I’ve never done anything else for money in my adult life. I think that makes me unemployable!”
They certainly have no shortage of bookings.
“Last year we were booked for Cirque du Soleil and for a part in a Disney
Susie Kearley discovers how the Bullzini Family began their tightropewalking journey.
The Bullzini bike!
Taking time out on the tightrope.