Circus acrobat holding a one-armed handstand at the National Circus School of Montreal


Last day of assessments!  Kicked off with flexi, in which Isabelle clearly was trying to make up for our lacking front split improvements in the evaluations by working it into us in spades today.  The Acrobat was my partner again (finally) and we had a good time.  He says: “I hate you.”  Split work was fantastic!

Dance!  The remaining assessment of our barre work.  Wow.  We were basically tested on everything that we have done in the class up until this point.  It was rough.  There were three groups, and each group started one of the 6 exercises we had to show while the others got to practice.  Still didn’t change that if you were in the middle of the barre your job was much easier.  Still, I got through it without any major mess ups.  After the assessment, almost everyone had to leave for their meningitis injections, but The Contortionist, The Trapezist, me, and three others stayed, so we got to work on a lot of things that we were having trouble with, namely, glissade, assamble, pirrouete, changement, changement, and triplets, and sisson, assamble.  After that remedial work, we were shown some cool dancer exercises, like holding hands with one arm and pulling back while relaxing so that you are supporting each other to loosen the muscles in the arm.  Then we did a variation in which you sit and pull up and let go, regrasp and repeat.  Suspension!  Then we held hands and one partner ran around the other to spin them, and they started with their leg behind them, brought it into a sitting position, and then stood straight.  It took practice but I got it eventually.  It was really fun seeing a looser side of dance and Martine. 

Larissa gave us free practice time too, so of course I did ooska roochka.  I also need to work on my presses and reverse presses.  “flexibility and your shoulders problem.”  Larissa also told me that her back is hurting her.  I like when she talks to me, but feel bad that she can’t understand all of my jokes.  I hope she does not think they are at her expense.  We exchanged some Japanese phrases.  She worked in Japan for six months.

The American was in this class, and she is pretty strong at press-like work.

Larissa gave me some new exercises “just for you”.  One is a walking up and down stairs drill, and the other is being on two blocks, doing a tempo, and pushing the blocks out from under me to land on the ground.  I want to do things like these in my act.  When we did crocodiles, she had me go first “James, show the ladies how to do.”  Not bad, but my left side is still for crap.

Acro is weird, I’ve noticed, because it is the only class I get bored in and I always seem to have low energy for it.  Nothing new, but working on layout step out out of cartwheels.

Column a trois is going okay, but I checked with Sylvain who said that I am progressing fine and that I should not worry about it.  One other first year and The Trapezist worked with us at least for today.  I do think that being the middle is probably the hardest Job, but of course The Trapezist can do it fine… she has more experience, though.

Trampo was interesting because Caroline let us choose what we wanted to do both on and off the trampoline, and The Contortionist and I both decided to do preparation physique.  The only ones who chose that, I think.  On the tramp, I wanted to work cool enchainements, so she gave me demi tour-ventre-dos-demi tour-dos-ventre-dos-demi tour de bou.  She also gave me vrei-dos-ventre-dos-demi tour-dos-assi-demi tour de bou.  Yow.  They were hard, but fun.  I guess I flapped my arms like a bird.  When she showed me what I looked like I asked ‘est-ce que tu malade ou est-ce que cest moi?’ and she couldn’t stop laughing.  ‘forget it, james.  You are not a bird.’  When I tried to do the routine again, I did it with straight arms, which means that I just made bigger circles.

Isabelle asked me to fill in for two days of the recreational program, which is cool because hopefully that means I can start working regularly for them next session or next year.  If I do well.

Then: equilibre with Byamba!  It was cool because it was just The Contortionist, The Trapezist and me and one older student since everyone else was out because of the injections.  Lots of one arm work because it was just really clicking today.  I could search pretty well and was able to see my handstand.  It was great.  After seeing The Trapezist hold hers pretty well, it sparked my competitive side a bit and I held one for 5 seconds!  A new record (for me).  Then he worked the straight-bodied one with me a bit which was great.  I declared vendredei unbrasdi from now on.  Great class.

Time for me to teach, now, so I got changed and stuff.  One of the kids is a real pain, but I just let her do what she wants after a little while.  The little ones were running all over, but I could maintain control pretty well.  The oldest group is great, though, and they joined together for a chorus of “on t’aime, Travelling Acrobat!’  that was cool, and when I was telling people to do two legged walkovers if their one-legged ones were easy, one of the kids said that his one leg ones were easy and so were his two legs (obvious lie from the joker), and I said ‘then maybe for you, you do sans jambe, and he almost fell over laughing, saying ‘Massachusetts is the land of the joke.’

I also talked with Sylvain and Caroline after the classes and they told me that over the vacation week, all the teacher get together and talk about all of the students individually and that it is really interesting because they get a much fuller view of the students.  It’s interesting to realize that all this time there have been eyes on us without us ever knowing.  After the session we all get talked to individually in each class to find out how we are doing.  What I hope they will say about me:

  • Always works hard.
  • Will do more than what you give him.
  • Perfectionist.
  • Maybe unfocused.
  • Good strength, bad flexibility.
  • Easy to work with.
  • Good humor.
  • Well liked.
  • Never gives up on something that is giving him trouble.
  • Helps people.
  • Patient, eager, willing. 

Let’s see how this compares to what they actually say!

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