Street performing circus acrobats on tour in Spain


Started the day with planche.  Not the best day as far as jumps go, but I did exit the board with the run and jump version which is a bit scarier.  One of the times though, I went too early and the jumpers landed with no weight on the board.  Oops.  The Artist got frustrated with me at one point.  Then we switched to minitramp into the pit, and I did a 2 ½ front and a cool little thing on a bench setup, ½ on, full off.  Then I did a double full to my face.

After that was the meeting for the evaluation concept which we needed to totally retool since our homeless guy idea did not pass.  We are now a circus family in the modern day who is evidently very distractible.  There was a moment of imagined conflict when I told The Clown that he interrupted too much.  He at first was defensive, but then told me he realized I was right.  The cigarette smoke and pot bothered me.  We were in the meeting for like 3 hours and then went to a party.  Here are the things I remember from the weekend:


Doing a backflip to get a student discount to see “Amelie,”  that great French movie about the girl by the City of Lost Children guy.

Sitting in the coffee shop with The Trapezist and The Clown with The Clown forgetting that we were waiting on him to go while he talked and talked and talked.

Black light bathrooms

Getting Tintin and Asterix to work on my French.

Seeing Zoolander and Cirque du Soleil and Shanghai Noon all in one day.

Circus acrobats doing a streetshow under a big top in France


Flexi with The Acrobat, dance without a partner because The Trampolinist was out with a seemingly imagined ankle injury.  I thought that Martine was mad at me maybe for missing class on my half day, but all she said was to rehearse mentally on those days as well.  Then came the show, it was fun watching it with the other students.  After the show was teaching, which was uneventful except for the young kids being a handful without being able to control them, and then screwing up by taking apart a tightwire that I was supposed to leave up.

Then was a little party at The Clown’s, and I can’t remember much about that except hearing The Hotshot saying ‘You suck,’ at me by mistake when he was translating something about planche practice.  I also heard about the devil planche guy who did a full, double full, full off of planche, and the audience didn’t clap any more than they did for a full, full, full.

The Canadian Olympic curling team! (four street show acrobats in France)

The Gang

Okay.  Let’s catch up.  The summary is that this weekend, as weird as it is with having a four day week last week and a six day week coming up, has seemed to last forever.  Pizza night was pretty laid back, The Trapezist, The Aerialist, The Clown, The Artist, and myself.  Nice and chill, oh The Contortionist was there too, and we decided to go and check out the party at The Funambulist’s since The Clown, The Contortionist, and I were not going to go to the history of circus class after all.  The Trapezist was still talking about how tough it is to get a straight answer out of me, and The Contortionist was also being chummy, so I was having a nice time.  At The Funambulist’s, we were the only group there at first.  We played around a bit, seeing if I would look good holding a cigarette and stuff like that.  A good party, and The Clown was (of course) talking a lot about sex.  He said at the end that he enjoys my since of dry sense of humor.  At one point, The Trapezist posed me to look like a crime boss with my Ukrainian shirt open halfway and with The Artist and The Clown on each side of me as bodyguards.  The Funambulist let me play the bottlecaps game with her roommate, and I got pretty good at it.

Then I went to the school again yesterday to meet for a brunch that the kids were planning.  All of them were looking pretty dazed as they came out of the place.  The concensus was: good but long.  Brunch was great, right on St. Catherine street, and I had french pancakes with an ommelette in it.  Good, but huge.  People kept stealing my food and stuff.  Talked with The Trapezist again, and then we all went ot The Artist’s and watched “Night at the Roxbury” in French.  I told The Clown “I’m worried that we are those guys.”  He said “I thinking that since the beginning of the movie.”  I left for a while before the big party that would be at their place later.  The Clown and I tried to get the “Night at the Roxbury” Soundtrack as well as the album with “Push It” on it, but we couldn’t find it.

When I got to the party, it was basically a huge juggling fest.  Then it became a festival of equilibre and main a main skills.  The Trapezist wanted to try everything, and I was still feeling weak in my shoulder, so I ended up spotting more than porting.  When I tried to be a flyer on The Mentor, I realized that I had not done that since free training at the beginning of the year.  I need to get that stuff in shape!

The Trapezist’s friend from the trapezium was there and according to The Trapezist was feeling a little sad that she had not gotten into the school.  Additionally she evidentially has a crush on one of the upperclassmen. 

My planche’s were being held pretty well!

Today was Cirque du Soleil.  It was fun going there for their open house with pretty much the whole gang again.  We rushed through most of the tour, running into one of the upperclassmen who was working as a clown there, and then stopped off at the gymnasium where we saw a girl who was going to replace a handbalancer who was leaving one of the shows.  She was pretty good, very rhythmic gymnastic-y.  We also saw a little russian swing, but nothing more than a back tuck.  In the kids play area, some of our gang did some handstands and one arm planches and hand-to-hand, while The Tumbler did some tumbling.  I did a planche.  Then we played on a smooth floor where I did turtles and got spun around by my feet.

Turns out The Trapezist did not spend the night, but she did stay until 7am, leaving when The Clown did.  I told The Artist I was not going to get in his way, but The Clown said he might.  The Artist and I are similar in many ways, The Clown is different.  We are a good mix of three, though.  Maybe I go to see a dance show tonight since Deb Brown’s thing is sold out.  What a weekend!

Acrobat riding a deer statue in Arnhem, Holland

Success and Improvement

Ah, finally a nice day.  It is definitely autumn, now however.  You can smell it in the air and you can feel the edge of a chill on the walk to school.  Leaves are falling now as well.

Physical conditioning first.  The ante is continually upped now, as Esteban has noticed that I do more than I am asked to do.  This means that he is telling me to do more numbers.  ie, 30 calf raises instead of 20, which means I must do 40!  Hopefully, it will work out for the best.

I am, however, horrendously weak in abs and legs for jumping.  I need to remedy this.

Then came trampo.  Carol told me again to get an apple or something before class, and it has proven itself again.  It’s funny how I realize exactly how food and sleep will affect my training.  She taught me a back tuck today.  Even though I’ve been doing them for almost 6 years now, I was scared to do this one for some reason.  I guess it comes down to a weird fear of doing something once you have seen or are aware of the “correct” way of doing it.  Everything was good, though.  Always can improve the form, of course.

ITA with Alex!  Fun stuff.  I started out with The Clown as double porters in the cradle.  I had to explain and call the tricks we were supposed to do to The Clown as we were doing them.  The Clown was tired, didn’t like the class, and didn’t want to be there.  We have a good time up there anyway, singing songs, posing, talking to flyers.  When The Aerialist is up, I always say:  Ah!  The beautiful woman.  For The Trapezist it is always: My favorite flyer! 

Then came swinging trapeze.  I can see why people want to do it now.  When the thing starts flying, you can really feel it!  At the end I got to be a flyer again, just doing a back tuck from stationary.  The Trapezist was upset that Alex corrected her form, but didn’t seem to mind when he corrected mine!

The first stuff we had to do was tough, though.  We had to grab the flyer’s hands, switch to feet on the knee-crunch, switch to hands on the front, two times each, and then throw her for a salto back.  Ouch.  Everyone else was something like backtuck to feet mount, switch to hands on the frontswing, carp, uncarp, back tuck.

Juggling was as juggling is.  Lost some endurance contests, but whatever.  I do my own endurance on my own time.

The Clown, The Contortionist, The American, and I had to talk to Isabelle about history of circus that we were supposed to go to tomorrow.  Turns out we can wait til next year when we know more French, if we want to.  I do want to wait.  I also found out that I have been switched into Byamba’s Equilibe III class!  Isabelle said that that only happens except if the teacher asks for it, and that he is very specific in what he wants.  He wanted to work with me, so I should take it as a big compliment.  Belive me, I do.  She said that Sylvain had asked me to join his class as well because I have good work ethic, that people like me, and that I am easy to get along with.  Nice compliments!  I am glad that this is the case.

Byamba seemed happy that I got in to his class and that I was so happy for that.

Hand to hand was fun too!  I did three successful turns on the ground with all three flyers, and then tried our first three-person structure.  Didn’t work, but I definitely felt it.  Next time.  Sylvain said that The Mentor  said that I just got my flyer up on my shoulders based on pure strength, and that I should use more dynamics to make the lift easier.

There is also going to be a school cabaret possibly, and The Clown and I are thinking of a possible music and hand to hand act.  Took a quick shower and was late to nutrition.  My Ukrainian shirt got a lot of hoots and hollers.  It was funny.  Worth a late, I think.

At one point, the teacher asked “how does the body turn glycogen into energy?”  Suddenly, all of my course 7 work on respiration came back, but I realized that this was probably not the answer she was looking for.  She just wanted to talk about simple and complex carbohydrates.

Then pizza night and party at The Funambulist’s!  But that will have to wait until later, because I am tired!!

Social Scene

Started the day with flexibility.  The Trapezist questioned whether The Acrobat and I maybe stretch each other too hard.  I have to wonder too since my left arm is sort of weak when I try to lift something palm down in front of my body along the center line.  I also felt a twinge in a cartwheel-roundoff combo there.  Bummer.  It feels kind of weak, but I hope that it is just a pinched nerve type deal like I had back in my junior year at MIT. 

Dance was okay, but I was told I need to wear fitted clothes.  I thought so, but I got lax since the high school students never seemed to get in trouble for it.  Now I need to play it right, though.  Worked with my partner a little more on the piece, I think that it will come out okay.  I just  wanted to get the structure of the music down so that I could work on it over the weekend in my mind. 

The combos and stuff are tough for me to remember, and I get teased for it, but I like that.  I let it run off my back and that is really what will win you friends and make a person be well liked.  It is tough to be that secure, though, really. 

Equilibre was funny because Byamba accidentally killed a bug and was pretty surprised.  He had been trying to push it into a hole to trap it there, but in doing so accidentally cut it in half and both halves kept on freaking out and running around. 

Acro was a little boring, as was trampo, but then came training in Russian bar.  It was pretty rough,. Didn’t even get a jump in, and some of the other flyers were having an off day, too.  I attribute it to my flexibility, maybe, as I was really loose in trampo as well.  Straps Guy jumped up and whipped out a back full.  What a jerk. 

Then came teaching with the kids.  It was a lot of fun, and I really did not have too many communication problems.  I just need to have them continue to like and respect me and everything will go well.  Doing hand to hand with the little ones is going to be a lot of fun.  As a porter, they are incredibly light.  One of them was funny because she kept thinking she was hurting me.  Not likely! 

After they left, I decided I was going to be able to do back and front fulls on the trampo (with crap form, probably), and just did it.  This is fun, and it made me feel a little crazy.  Nice. 

Ah yes, then.  Party at The Contortionist’s.  One of the first years was complaining that I never talk to her about me despite the fact that she always told me her secrets.  I said that I was always honest, and that it is not possible to try to be honest.  Trying is in itself dishonest.  I also said that you can  not simultaneously trust yourself and doubt yourself.  There is one or the other, and the same for another person, as well.  There was a sort of “I told you, so now you need to tell me,” sort of thing going on.  I don’t like being manipulated like that – I don’t like to open up to everyone and get emotional.  I don’t get upset.  She said I am too rational and wanted to know if this was what dating me was like.  It is better to say nothing and have it all be the truth than to say stuff that could be dishonest.  She said that she drops hints and people are too stupid to pick up on them.  I said I know that the hints are being dropped, but didn’t want to be manipulated.  She spent the rest of the night talking with The Clown. 

The Contortionist asked me to got to the depanneur with her, but it was closed.  We had a nice talk about the first month.  She said that she thinks that sports people are going to have the hardest time switching to circus.

Also talked with The American.  She is one who wants her secrets to be dragged out of her.  Talking about bad experiences in high school and stuff like that in a most mysterious way.  My feeling is that if you want people to know you were raped or beaten or whatever, just come out ant say it.  Don’t drop mysterious hints.  She is getting financially assisted to live alone and all that.  I’d like to stay socially ambiguous.  I think I’m not a fan of flirting for flirting sake.

It was funny seeing some of the upperclassmen scratching on the record player.

On the way to the party, we did a show in the metro tunnel, The Tumbler did a full, and we all rode up the escalator in different positions.  The Porter’s one armed planche was the best, in my opinion. 

Got home around 3:45 AM after checking email.  Good day.

Coach James

Well my mom gave me a call last night to say that grampa was in bad shape, having had a stroke that left the right side of his body pretty much useless right now.  I sent my best wishes, and I hope that all is well.  I want to see him again since it has been a while since my last visit. 

I slept fitfully, so I guess I was not terribly rested today.  That might explain my lower level of energy.  In flexibility I was paired with The Acrobat who is really a bit of a masochist when it comes to flexibility.  He’s a real monkey man, too, hooting and hollering and singing the whole time.  Makes class fun, though.  At one point, Isabelle was watching me stretch The Acrobat who was going into some of his antics and she said “You have what it takes to be a good teacher, I think, mon ami.” 

So I took the opportunity to let her know that I was in fact interested in being a teacher for the preparatory kids.  By four o’clock today, she wanted me to start teaching for her on Fridays as a replacement for the acro teacher, who was also her.  I want to take the job, but it interferes with banquine, teeterboard, and my own conditioning.  My conditioning can be done on Saturdays, though, and banquine is definitely not looking for flyers (although they told me today that I am the only on in my class who could be a good porter).  Teeterboard is also cool, but I don’t know if I am the level of flyer that they are looking for.  We’ll see. 

I did the whole flexi class full out, and I think that my calf is finally well on the road to healing.  Dance was fun, but I find pirouettes very frustrating.  In the end out impro got cut short for a moment of silence.  I got to hear cutie The Flyer singing pop songs “forever, and ever, I give you my love” in her awesome French Canadian accent.  I said that all pop songs should be sung with that accent, as they would all be better, but I think she thought I was joking. 

Equilibe had no teacher, but I found out that the reason that Byamba has been away this week is that he got a job offer in Australia that would allow his wife to be with him, which this current job does not, but the school said that they would try harder, so he is staying, much to Sandrine and my relief!  I hit handstands, but I was sore, and they were not strong. 

Tumbling I did again, and I am slowly fixing my layout to be such that I arch over to get the power.  It is a slow process! 

Tramp was cool.  Caroline said that the way I look up when I want to extend for a trick is “cute.”  Heh heh.  I also do 2X the amount of conditioning she has for us.  It is easy for me, so I need to make that self-motivated commitment. 

Then I tried to be a barre rus flyer for the first time.  It was really cool, and not as hard as I thought.  The trick is to not search at all for balance, and to let the porters do all the work.  That’s really it!  When you do it right and close your eyes it feels like you are floating completely weightless!  This is really hard, though.  You need to center your weight just right and everything, with your feet completely parallel. 

The only hard part about being thrown is landing with your feet right in front of each other and in fourth position.  You can not anticipate where the bar is going to land because the porters are going to do all that work for you.  You need to be a lazy tumbler, never searching.  I hope they keep me on because I think I love that discipline! 

Teaching the kids was fun, even though I was just an observer  today.  There is a wide range of kids.  I need to come up with a lesson plan and learn all of the relevant French terms for gymnastics.  It will be some much needed income, though! 

A bunch of kids went to the walk for peace, but I don’t think I’m into things like that.  They are always a little forced, I think. 

I might go to a party tonight with The Clown and them at The Acrobat’s house.  I need to call.

Circus acrobat fooling around on a roadtrip to New York City

Why We Need 10 Hours of Sleep

I got to bed at around 12:30 last night.  I had Theater class today at 8:30 and got there just as the class was starting. 

At the party last night, I got good advice:  Stick to the stuff I need a coach for this year as a minor (tissu tramp), and train handstands myself.  Then I can decide if I want to switch majors without losing any sleep over these things.  I also watched a poor spider hang on for dear life as The Artist and The Clown shot bottlecaps at it.  It would vibrate madly for a while, and then somehow magically stop itself. 

Today was a blur of sleepiness, really.  Being tired in acting is no fun.  I slept for an hour and a half after that, and made it through handstands and half of tumbling.  Didn’t learn anything new, just trying to keep my energy up.  I was all over the bed in trampoline today, but Caroline said my front drop and seat drop looked pretty good.  I finally got the back drop feeling as well. 

Finally, fil de fer!  It was great.  Got to see how to set it up, walked forwards, backwards, in a shuffle, and with a bow inbetween each step.  After, I set up a minitramp and tried some tissu tramp for the first time in the world.  You can really accelerate your jump a lot and get great height when you use the straps the whole time!  It was cool, tried some summies.  Then I went and did laundry and shopping that I did not get done over the weekend.  Whew.  I need sleep tonight!