• The coronavirus lockdown has sidelined performers and artists all across the entertainment industry.
  • One family-run circus in Spain was on tour when lockdowns were put in place, and they've been stranded there for two months.
  • Since then, they've begun livestreaming their circus act for free and using their costuming skills to make face masks.
  • For more articles, go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Louisa Raluy is suspended upside-down from a rope hanging from the ceiling, twisting and turning as her fellow circus performers encourage her on.

But there won't be any applause at the end of Raluy's performance.

That's because the coronavirus has sidelined Raluy and the other performers at the Raluy Legacy Circus in Spain, leaving them unsure of when they'll perform before live audiences again.

The traveling circus was making its way through the Catalonia region when the Spanish government issued a lockdown on March 14. They've been living in a park in Reus in the two months since then as they contemplate their futures in the industry.

"We've gone through earthquakes, floods, the eruption of a volcano," Niedziela Raluy, an artist with the circus and Louisa's daughter, told Business Insider Today. "But we never thought that as we were touring Spain, in Catalonia, which is so quiet, we would go through one of the hardest things we've ever experienced."

Performers with the Raluy Legacy Circus practicing in Reus, Spain.
Anahi Aradas Medina for Business Insider Today
The entertainment industry has been paralyzed by the pandemic, and family-run businesses like the Raluys' have been especially hard hit.

"We don't have an income, as we are stranded, of course. Financially it affects us, just like many other people," Louisa Raluy said.

They are among the many performers who have been forced offstage. More than 30,000 performances in Spain will be canceled by the end of May, and the industry will lose around $142 million (R2 billion) nationwide, according to one estimate from Spanish arts industry insiders.

Stuck in one place for the foreseeable future, the circus made the unusual decision to stream performances for free on social media. The shows have brought laughter to thousands of viewers in turbulent times.

"We have many followers that say, 'Keep going! We miss you. We miss the circus,'" Kerry Raluy, Louisa's sister and co-director and co-owner of the circus, said. "At least we are giving them an afternoon at the circus without leaving their homes."

Performers Niedziela and Emily Raluy practice a unicycling act.
Anahi Aradas Medina for Business Insider
"We perform with tears, injuries, in pain, with sprains, everything," Niedziela Raluy said. "We always have that in our heads, that the show must go on."

The circus members have found other ways to put their talents to good use, too, using their costume design skills to sew more than 300 masks for frontline workers at a nearby market and other locals.

The Raluy Legacy Circus arrived in Reus in mid-March amid rumors the city would be forced to go on lockdown because of the health crisis.

The Spanish government recently announced a four-step plan to fully reopen the country. Reus was among the cities that moved on the second step on Monday, according to the Interior Department of Catalonia.

That's given a bit of hope to the family-owned circus. But the Raluys still don't know when they'll perform next in front of an audience as certain restrictions are still in place.

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