RUNNING AWAY to join the circus may not sound like a choice many of us may make, but for a talented young Ackworth man it was an opportunity not to be missed.
For Joe Atkinson, 23, has been approached by the world-famous Cirque du Soleil to join their band of dare-devil acrobats.
Joe, a former pupil at Pontefract’s Kings School, caught the Canadian-based company’s eye during his impressive performances as a professional in-line skater.
Already at the pinnacle of his sport, he has won two world championships and has been described as being the world’s current top rollerblader and one of the most successful competitors in the sport.
He even has his own branded inline skating wheels named ‘Go Joe’.
Joe’s dad, Terry, explained: “Cirque du Soleil is the biggest circus in the world and they had been following him on Instagram.
“When he was competing in Montpellier earlier this year two people pulled him to one side and asked him if he’d be interested.
“He was, but the only thing is that he is known as a bit of a nomad, he likes to travel to visit friends and compete. He’s been round the world four time already.
“But they’ve agreed to fly him to competitions, they flew him to Latvia at the weekend.”
Joe will be starring in Cirque du Soleil’s latest show, performed on ice, and entitled ‘Crystal’, which will tour north American cities from October.
For Joe, his father says it has been a learning curve having spent his young career rollerblading, rather than ice skating.
But once he got to grips with the ice, he was handed a 12-month contract.
“I’m very proud of him, he lives his dream,” added Terry.
“He is shy about what he does, he never hear him bragging about what he has won.
“When his brother Ben was young he had some plastic skates which we gave to Joe when we got Ben some better ones for his birthday.
“They were eight sizes too big for Joe but he went off on them and that was it. We would take him to skate parks and drop him off at 10am and then pick him up at 10 at night.
“He would just skate all day.”