Taylor Albin (Boss Clown)
Never give up and always give it your very best, is a motto that Taylor Albin has always lived by and he is living proof of. As a young boy growing up in Mineral Wells, Texas, Taylor always dreamt of being a clown with The Greatest Show On Earth®. Taylor recalls attending annual performances of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® with his family and with each visit, a growing passion to be a clown. As a young child, Taylor would constantly watch the Ringling Bros.® video "How to be a Clown" and aspired to be one of the greats like Tom and Tammy Parish, Chris and Gina Allison, Michael Frum, Jeff Schott, and Todd Zimmerman.
A sage of clown history at the age of 22, Taylor got his big break in April 2009 when he heard about the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Clown College® auditions at Madison Square Garden in New York City. After a meticulous audition and screening process, Taylor was one of few to be considered for a possible clowning career with the show. Nearly a year later, Taylor was the most excited person on the planet when he received a long-awaited phone call to join Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents BARNUM 200SM.
In just three years, Taylor has found become the new Boss Clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!SM and is excited to take on the new responsibility. "What I enjoy most about being a part of Ringling Bros. is that I have the honor and privilege to see kids so happy and vibrant, and for their parents to be right in the moment with them. There's something magical about seeing a family forgetting their worries and just having fun! Your heart is filled with so much happiness and joy," explains Taylor.
Jeffrey Branin - "Moldee"
The younger of two siblings, Jeffrey Branin was actually inspired by his sister in pursuing his dream of being a clown. "Growing up, I wanted to be several different things, but the one thing that I always came back to was being a professional clown with the circus. My sister always wanted to be a clown too, and she actually auditioned for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® in 1997. She was accepted, but because she was only 17 years old, she wasn't able to join. So now I'm living my dream and hers!" explains Jeffrey.
Prior to being accepted by The Greatest Show On Earth®, Jeffrey had been performing as different characters at Six Flags Great Adventure in his home state of New Jersey, but clowning at Ringling Bros.® is where he knew he always wanted to be. The first in his family to pursue a performing career, Jeffrey is excited to be a part of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze!SM and working for the same circus as one of his all-time favorite clowns, Dean Kelley. Traveling by the Ringling Bros. train, Jeffrey is looking forward to seeing parts of the country that most people don't get to see.
Kelli Brown never imagined she'd grow up to be a clown, but now that she is, she is the happiest clown that she can be. A Dallas, Texas, native and the second youngest of seven children, Kelli always enjoyed the circus and thought that she would eventually become a lion and tiger trainer. It wasn't until she met and became good friends with a second-generation clown that she found her true calling. "His mother, Valentina, formerly known as 'Poppy' the clown, prepared me for clowning with a certifiable clown boot camp. With the help of famous clown films, books, magazines, and six-hour juggling sessions, my skills and clown knowledge expanded, and as it turned out, I picked up clowning pretty quickly," explains Kelli.
Once the two friends were ready to perform their act, they picked up some gigs around the Texas area at birthday parties, corporate events and at the Taste of Addison. When Kelli had heard Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® was holding Clown College® auditions in Dallas, she knew that her hard work was about to pay off. Kelli was chosen from several candidates and was able to fulfill her dream when she began performing with The Greatest Show On Earth® as part of Clown Alley with the 141st Edition, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents FULLY CHARGEDSM. Thrilled about her new adventure, Kelli describes her clown character as an extension of her own natural personality, which she depicts as a goofy, quirky, and a bit tomboy. When Kelli is not busy entertaining Children Of All Ages, she enjoys sewing costumes and clothes, painting, drawing and playing the bass.
Aaron Crane's circus career has taken him across Asia and Europe and eventually landed him his first U.S. contract as a member of Clown Alley at The Greatest Show On Earth®. The fourth of seven children, Aaron was first inspired to become a performer after watching a Circus Smirkus special on the Disney Channel. After graduating from high school in 2007, Aaron pursued his dream by enrolling in the Beijing International Art School. In 2009, he enrolled in the Kiev Circus College where he majored in the art of juggling and acrobatics and became the first foreigner to perform in the final show of the school year.
Aaron was motivated by a former Ringling Bros.® clown he had worked with for several years who told him exciting stories of working at The Greatest Show On Earth. Eventually, Aaron decided to pursue a similar path. After auditioning at Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College®, Aaron was one of four clowns to be selected to join Clown Alley on the 141st Edition, Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents FULLY CHARGEDSM.
Aaron believes that in order "to achieve your dreams, all you have to do is point yourself in the right direction and take one step forward every day. Eventually you'll get there." And that is exactly what he did. Thrilled to be starting the next chapter in his career, Aaron is looking forward to traveling on the Ringling Bros. train as it moves city to city entertaining thousands of Children Of All Ages.
"You are never fully dressed without a smile on your face, a song in your head and a puppet on your hand," is a quote that Genevieve Flati lives by. A native of California and one of four children, Genevieve always knew she wanted to be a performer when she grew up, but most important, a performer that made people laugh.
Inspired by classic female comedians Lucille Ball and Carol Burnett, Genevieve pursued her dream and was hired to be a Ring Performer at Innoventions in Disneyland. After that, she joined the All Puppet Players, a troupe that performed using half-body rod puppets. It was there that she met her two mentors, Shaun McNamara and Nate Makaryk, who she credits for taking her under their wing and guiding her to become a great comedic performer.
After seeing a casting call for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College® audition on Backstage.com, Genevieve decided to try out. Impressed by Genevieve's flair for comedy and her numerous talents, David Kiser, Director of Talent for Ringling Bros., invited her to be a part of Clown Alley for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents FULLY CHARGEDSM.
"I'm so excited to be able to fulfill my dream of making people laugh. It's awesome to be able to perform in venues across the country for thousands and thousands of people while being a part of history," exclaims Genevieve.
Native to Portland, Oregon, Brisa Gonzalez, also known as Breeza, always knew that she would grow up to become a performer. A descendant of a long line of performing family members, including several musicians, a great uncle who was a high-wire walker and Brisa's mother and godfather who were also clowns, it was inevitable for her to want to follow in their footsteps.
Brisa graduated from Lewis and Clark College with a degree in International Politics and Latin American Studies in 2007. From there she decided to pursue her passion of performing and took classes with two of her biggest inspirations and of whom she considers her mentors, Philippe Gaulier and Giovanni Fiusetti, on red nose and clowning. In 2011, Brisa had just finished a workshop in Colorado when she received an email for the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College® auditions that were happening in two days in her hometown. After amazing the judges with her playfulness, ability to relate with kids and her improvisational skills, Brisa was invited to Rosemont, Illinois for a two-week Clown College workshop. In July of 2012, Brisa was offered a contract to join Clown Alley on Ringling Bros. "Being a part of The Greatest Show On Earth® is an honor and a privilege. I love being able to learn from more experienced clowns and have the opportunity to be a clown and to make children happy," Brisa explains.
This Israeli born performer knew from the very beginning that she was meant to be a clown. "I've been a clown since I've been born. I've learned about clowning on every level, I've read and researched everything I could. I feel I can heal people, I love giving and making them laugh," explained Shlomit.
Shlomit has been part of formal performance and theater since she was in kindergarten. "Performing is natural for me. I had my first costume when was just one years old."
Shlomit was admitted to the number one school in Israel for theater, Nissan Nativ, where she excelled. After a mandatory tour with the Israeli Army, where she learned everything about airplane repair, Shlomit followed her heart and dreams moved to New York City. Her time in the Big Apple was transformative and her life was officially changed. "I gained a sense of super power, I learned so much about myself, what I'm capable of and where my performance strength lies," she explained. "I'm a physical actress. I'm too big for things like TV. I need the power of an audience of thousands, I need to look at them, they feed me. I'm able to give them back that they want to see." Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Presents Built To Amaze! is Shlomit's first tour with The Greatest Show On Earth®.
As a child, Julio Ramazini loved going to the circus and watching the clowns. Now that he's in the circus performing as a clown, he couldn't be happier. Julio's dream of performing with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® came true in 2007, when he was invited to join the world-renowned Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Clown Alley. He is currently on his fourth tour with The Greatest Show On Earth®.
A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Julio began studying circus arts 10 years ago at the National Circus School in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. His clown character was inspired by his good friend and mentor, Paulo "Gallo" Cirillo, with whom he had worked with at Circus Vox.
When not performing, Julio enjoys watching action movies, especially those starring Vin Diesel. He also enjoys studying, reading, photography and doing research, which helps his imagination flow. "Imagination is sometimes more important than knowledge," he explains. "Being imaginative and creative helps me to be who I am."
In addition to speaking Portuguese, the native tongue of Brazil, Julio also speaks Spanish and is working on perfecting his English. His words to live by: "Ha-ha-ha-ha! Be happy!"
Growing up in the small community of Estill Springs, Tennessee, Chris Sullivan has always been surrounded by and had the support of his tightly knit family. And although he is now away from his family at home, he considers himself lucky to be a part of a new family - The Greatest Show On Earth®.
The youngest of three children, Chris' continual interest in the performing arts led him to pursue the art of clowning. Having spent two summers at Mooseburger Clown Arts Camp, in Maple Lake, Minnesota, with some of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® former clowns, including Steve Smith and Greg DeSanto, Chris was able to sharpen his skills in juggling, physical comedy and circus-style gags. In the summer of 2010, Chris participated in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Clown College® auditions in Dallas, Texas, and was invited to join the cast of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents FULLY CHARGEDSM in the spring of 2011. Prior to joining The Greatest Show On Earth®, Chris and four other clowns traveled to India to perform for children. The five clowns performed in orphanages, churches, on roof tops and in the streets.
"I believe in Charlie Chaplin's adage: 'A day without laughter is a day wasted.' So to be able to bring laughter to children and children at heart while working for The Greatest Show On Earth® is something I am truly excited about and proud to be a part of," exclaims Chris.
Ivan Vargas didn't have to run away far to join the circus, he literally grew up with one. A sixth generation circus performer on his father's side and fifth generation on his mother's side, Ivan has been a part of The Greatest Show On Earth® since he can remember. Both of Ivan's parents, Alejandro (Alex) and Lolis, were former trapeze artists with The Flying Vargas trapeze troupe which had toured with Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey. When the troupe disbanded, Alex and Lolis decided to stay with Ringling Bros., Alex began working with the animals and Lolis in the wardrobe department.
Ringling Bros. has always been home to Ivan. He grew up with elephants as his playmates and the trapeze as his playground. He was educated in the Ringling Bros.® traveling school and has always been surrounded by children from all corners of the world.
As Ivan got older, he confessed that he always knew he would follow in his parents' footsteps. He first performed with Ringling Bros. in the 135th and the 137th Edition as an acrobatic production man. For the 139th Edition, Ivan decided that he would use his acrobatic skills and combine it with comedy to become a member of the Ringling Bros. Clown Alley.
Now on his fourth tour as a clown for Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey® Presents Built To Amaze! Ivan believes that the most exhilarating part of his job is being able to perform in front of thousands of people and making them gasp. His goal is to be remembered as a great performer who redefined traditional acts. When not performing, Ivan takes pleasure in photography and meeting new people. His snippet of wisdom: "The show must go on!"
April Dawn Vollm
April Vollm is a collector, but instead of button or magnets, April collects extreme life experiences. From headlining a popular Las Vegas magic show to joining the United States Air Force to both serve her county and to vie for a coveted position in the elite entertainment group, Tops and Blues, to now, a clown with the The Greatest Show On Earth® .
April grew up performing in all types of shows and productions. She graduated college with a degree in theater, and continued to perform in the local community theater in her town. April met and fell in love with a fellow performer, a magician, and the pair moved to Las Vegas, where they were a featured act. Due to their popularity, were recruited by various theme parks and organizations where they performed over 900 shows a season.
After learning about Tops and Blues, a world-renown Air Force entertainment contingent, April was determined to earn a place in this select group where she could represent her country, travel all over the world and entertain diverse audiences. April enlisted, became a loadmaster for C-130 aircraft and ultimately achieved her goal of membership with Tops and Blues. After making it through a competitive, ten-day audition process, she was one of 30 who made the cut from more than 100 hopefuls.
Once her tour was over, April went back to civilian life and entertaining audiences. As she did somewhat regularly, April checked the internet for information on Ringling Bros. Clown College Auditions. "I never knew exactly how the process worked, one day I searched the web, and there happened to be Clown College Auditions on the west coast, where I was based. I knew this was my chance."
April wowed Ringling Bros. talent scouts and was offered a contract to be part of the world-famous clown alley. "This is such an incredible opportunity. I can expand my boundaries, and collect all kinds of skills and abilities here. You can learn anything at Ringling Bros., look at all the talent! I'm so excited to be here and to live on the circus train too!" added April.