This Chandler family’s life is a circus – literally - SanTan Sun News SanTan Sun News

This Chandler family’s life is a circus – literally

October 17th, 2019 development
This Chandler family’s life is a circus – literally

By Kevin Reagan
Staff Writer

Eating fire is no problem for Martin Taylor, even if his long beard might get in the way.

“You’ve never seen fire-eating until you’ve seen somebody do it with a beard,” he said.

It’s not just a daring trick the Chandler dad does to impress spectators; fire-eating is essentially part of the family business.

The Taylors will soon be pitching a big-top tent in the East Valley and staging their family-friendly circus act that elicits the old-world charm of the Ringling Brothers.

“It’s a very vintage experience,” said Elia Taylor, Martin’s daughter and one of the performers.

She’s a classically-trained dancer, juggler, and contortionist who has performed with her family for years.

Big-budget traveling acts like Cirque du Soleil dazzle audiences with elaborate sets and special effects. But the Taylors prefer smaller, intimate shows that showcase the individual performer.

“We’re trying to bring back the real side of circus,” Elia added.

Each member of the Taylor clan has a special talent they bring to the production. One balances swords on their face, another does trampoline stunts and one dress as a mermaid.

“We’ve been introduced to so much over our lives and eventually you’re allowed to pick whatever you want,” Elia said.

Martin and Barbara Taylor let their seven children explore whatever talent suits them and find a way to incorporate it into the show. And the Taylor kids are getting so good that the parents let them steal the spotlight.

“The kids are so talented I don’t need to do much,” Martin joked.

Martin’s prone to pyrotechnics, though he now serves as the host of their circus act.

Barbara’s a professional clown and helps constructs all the family’s flashy costumes.

This is what the Taylors love about circuses – it forces all of them to make something out of nothing.

“Circus is about ingenuity and creativity,” Martin said.

In between the stunts and tricks, the Taylors like to tell an enthralling narrative that’s relatable to the audience.

They have a Halloween act where a vampire emerges out of a coffin and comes to terms with their peculiar mortality.

It can be a bit campy at times, Martin said, but there’s a poignant story still being told.

Circus combines so many different art forms in one place, he added. There’s acting, dancing, magic and aerobics. There’s little language to their act, making it accessible to everyone.

The Taylors like to combine American and European influences so that their show feels like a big melting pot of culture.

Liam Taylor, the couple’s 13-year-old son, does a Spanish folk dance called flamenco. The family’s teenage nephew, Bruno Loyale, does a native dance representative of the Samoan islands.

“Circus throughout history has been the ambassador for internationalism,” Barbara said. “The concept that we all speak the same language.”

Barbara ran away with the circus when she was 17 – opting not to attend Arizona State University on a scholarship.

She decided instead to attend clown college and travel the world with various circuses. After she and Martin married, they decided to let their children participate in their work.

It was an easy decision because the Taylors believe being in the circus teaches their children life skills that they can take with them to any profession.

“It teaches motivation and the satisfaction of accomplishing something,” Barbara said.

But more importantly, the Taylors get to spend time together while having fun.

“Circus feels kind of like our living room,” Barbara added, “and everybody’s welcomed.”

The Taylors will host a free Halloween-themed event on Oct. 26 at 7 p.m. to preview the family’s upcoming big-top show.