Jan Damm performs as Nick Nack in the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey circus show. 

His character has a large comedic presence, but he also has other tricks up his sleeve. 

Damm performs a balancing act called rola bola and is a master juggler. He is also joined on stage by a unique partner, a robotic dog named Bailey. 

Damm's act is made up of many elements that each took him many years to master. 

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"I grew up in Maine, in Central Maine, and I learned to juggle when I was 10 years old," Damm told Fox News Digital during a Ringling Bros. tour stop in Worcester, Massachusetts. 

"My mom started booking me for birthday parties and kids' events when I was 11 years old, so I started out pretty young, just doing magic tricks and jokes and juggling and trying to entertain people of all ages."

Nick Nack and robo dog Bailey of Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey

Part of what Jan Damm describes as a "reimagined Ringling Brothers" is a robotic dog named Bailey. He and Bailey interact often during the circus show, including in a dance battle. (Fox News Digital)

"After college, I realized that's the only thing I wanted to do, so I started traveling the world street performing, learning from different circus schools and I kind of accumulated skills in a sort of eccentric variety of areas," he said. 

"That's why I was tapped for the greatest show on earth … They want a kind of eccentric comedian and circus guy to be one of the characters." 

Damm was a fan of the circus before he joined the show himself. The main act he performs in the show is called rola bola. Damm balances on a board that is on top of a cylinder. During this act, he balances higher and higher in the air on top of a variety of wobbly objects. 

"I love all kinds of circus. I was a circus fan before I was a circus performer, so I love juggling, I love acrobatics, partner acrobatics, flying trapeze, so I just learned a little bit of all those things," Damm said. 

"My main act is a balancing act called rola bola and I just, over the years, came to really love that act. I can stand on top of this sort of wobbly thing that looks impossible, but I also can look at the audience and kind of share character and jokes and humor with the audience while I'm doing this sort of unbelievable acrobatic act —  and that's been sort of my calling card."

At the end of his balancing act, Damm finds himself about "15 feet off the deck of the floor" and does a handstand, but it took a long time for the performer to reach this point. Damm built up his act over time, starting on a much smaller scale. 

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"I started in the gym, standing in front of a mat trying to figure out how I can do a handstand on this balancing object, and I've just built it up over the years," Damm said. 

"At this point now, I've been doing rola bola professionally for about 18 years, so I've just been doing it in all sorts of situations."

He added, "You just become more comfortable doing it in all sorts of different scenarios, and at some point, it's a mental game. You have to be physically ready to perform these kinds of tricks, but a lot of it is the experience to stay calm under any circumstances and do something at a very high level in front of thousands of people."

Nick Nack and Bailey on stage at the circus

"Nick Nack" and Bailey share a lot of stage time during the show. (Fox News Digital?)

On top of Damm's balancing act, he also works with a unique member of the cast: a robotic dog named Bailey. 

"It’s a reimagined Ringling Brothers, so we wanted to rethink what would be the greatest show on earth today in 2024, and so what the creators of the show wanted to do was introduce sort of a non-human, sort of fantastical element, something that audiences will never have seen before," Damm said.

"We don't have live animals in the show anymore, so we also wanted to just have that non-human element, that's something that's a little cheeky, a little out of the way, a little from left field and Bailey sort of fulfills that for us. She gets into a lot of trouble," he said. 

"She's a little bit impish, she's a little bit of a trickster, and the audience falls in love with her right away, especially the kids. As soon as she walks out, they're like, 'Oh, it's a robot, like from ‘Wally’ or one of these other movies. She's kind of goofy, she's very charismatic. She just introduces that fantastical element that tells you in this show, almost anything can happen."

Damm, as his character Nick Nack, and Bailey interact a lot throughout the show, including in a dance battle. 

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At the end of the day, Bailey is a piece of technology — and sometimes, technology does not work as it's supposed to, exactly.

"Sometimes she makes mistakes, she falls off of ramps, I have to help her, I have to pick her up and move her over different objects if she needs a little bit of help, but that's just like your pet at home," Damm said. 

"We always have to be on our toes. Whatever Bailey feels like doing that day, we've got to work with her just like she's working with us, and we have a lot of fun with it."

When Damm spends a lot of time on the road with the other 75 cast members as part of the show from all over the world, he says they like to try different kinds of cuisine "that makes one of the cast members feel at home." 

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He also said they enjoy going bowling together, watching movies or just hanging around the hotel pool. 

When Damm is not traveling for the show, he treasures the time he gets to go home and be "circus dad" to his 5- and 7-year-old children. 

"When I pick up my daughter, she insists that I always jump over the fence into her preschool yard," Damm said. 

Ringling Brothers finale

When Jan Damm is not traveling with the circus, he enjoys spending time at home with his two kids.? (Fox News Digital)

"They're very proud that their dad is on tour with the circus, but they also want me to be home when I can, so while we've been in New England, I've been able to drive home on Mondays through Thursdays, and it's been great to be able to be part of this amazing touring production, and also have time home with my kids."

For more Lifestyle articles, visit www.foxnews.com/lifestyle.

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