Florida native, Sarah Chapman, joined Sarasota’s Sailor Circus at age twelve. She married Danny Chapman in 1965 and performed balancing trapeze until early retirement in 1979. Her career highlight was the Ringling Blue Unit Centennial show. In 1968, Danny, Sarah, and Mel Miller conceptualized Ringling’s Clown College. Sarah authored and published four editions of “A Circus Girl’s Cookbook.” Her memoir is “Balancing Act ~ Memoir of a Florida Youth.” A Toastmaster and personal chef, Sarah lives in northern Minnesota.
Her motivation to write her books
Her first book was fun and simple: “A Circus Girl’s Cookbook.” Yes, a cookbook with 170 recipes in a circus format. Her second book “Balancing Act” was a memoir. It wasn’t meant as a memoir but it ended that way when an editor said “the story is about Sarah and her courage to stand up to abuse.” Her original motivation was writing a documentary recording six years on the Ringling Circus.
The thing that Sarah learned in the circus that helps her the most as a speaker
Three words: “Go for it.” It’s a circus term that means: once you started a trick you cannot stop in the middle. As a speaker, you can pause to regroup your thoughts, but you cannot just walk out of the stage. A show is made up of elements or steps. Going for it means you followed through with what you started.
Her aerialist and speaker persona
There is a big difference between her aerialist persona and her speaking persona, and it has to be with position. Her speaker persona uses her voice and facial expressions. Individual eye contact is critical. Her aerialist persona used her body to relate to the audience. There is a big emptiness between her and the audience.
Related: The Magic of Memory
Yes I Can by Sammy Davis, Jr.
Routine to Shine
Grooming and exercise. Just as in the circus, the audience likes to see beauty. Look the best you can, act the best you can, say the best you can.
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