BLACKSBURG, Va. (WDBJ7) A Blacksburg teenager is living out the fantasies of many children by running away to join the circus. But she's not rebelling, she's realizing a life-long dream.
14-year old Hannah Grove has been self-training for years with one goal in mind.
She said, "When I was six I went to see my first Cirque du Soleil show for my birthday and I was like, 'Wow! That's really cool! I want to try that.'"
Her mother said of her decision, "We were like, 'That's really cute honey.' And around nine, we took her to another Cirque du Soleil show and she was like, 'No seriously, this is what I want to do when I grow up.'"
After some research, Hannah and her family found Circus Smirkus, an all youth circus that travels around different regions.
Hannah knew she had to join.
Her mother said, "She's had three rejections so far and with every rejection, sure there was sadness and there were tears, but the sentence at the end of it was, 'That's okay, I'm going to go back next year.'"
Proving that this was what she really wants to do, she kept going back, and this year was accepted into the nation's only youth traveling circus.
"I was completely speechless, I did not know what to say at all. I was shocked!" Hannah said.
From June through August Hannah will perform in nearly 70 shows around New England. Click the link attached to this article to learn more about Circus Smirkus.
Before the show, Hannah has to raise $6,500 to pay her way for the Summer.
"We believe if they really want it, they need to work for it, so we have always told her you pay half, we'll pay half," Kimberly said.
Hannah is selling jewelry on Origami Owl online to raise the $3,200 she's responsible for. Click the link to her page to support Hannah.
She also launched a GoFundMe page which is linked to her circus blog, which documents her journey to the big top. Her blog is also linked to this article.
Working to pay her way is a challenge she's accepting because she knows this isn't just a hobby, it's her future.
"I want to try to audition to go to a college in Canada called the National Circus School and it is a very high circus program," the 8th grader said. "After that, I'm pretty sure, it's 98% of people go onto be in a major circus like Cirque du Soleil or Ringling Brothers."
It's a career she'll always remember began with training in her driveway in Blacksburg.