Handstand tableau in the National Circus School of Montreal annual show

Circus Crush

Morning equilibre, not as good as last night, but what can you expect?

Did pullups with weight in preparation physique today.

Skipped trampo minor due to knee problems, and slept in sauna instead.

Talked with Alex about just doing static cradle, and he said, ‘Tanabe, understand well, it is called intro to arial, not arial minor.  It is alright.”

Did my first mount on cradle it was fun.

I have my front and back giants back on barre fixe, which is nice.

I am starting to find ways to put juggling skills together into a routine, which will be nice for busking purposes.

One of the other first years is a pain in the butt in that he really can’t take people joking about him, but will be as cruel as he wants to others.  He looks a lot like a guy on a ‘youth and alcohol’ booklet that we all had to read, but was upset when I told him that, and was pretty mean in finding something to say to me about it.   I laughed.  That’s all there is to it.  He’s getting a bad reputation for dropping partners.

Main a main was with Natalie today, and we just played around.  Learned a lot, though.

The Trapezist was all happy because her exboyfriend emailed her.  I said that she gives him a lot of power that way.  She was mad at me because I mentioned how women get emotionally affected by what other people say about their bodies, but that came up because of some things that Russian speaking equilibre student overheard about Larissa saying about his girlfriend.  The Trapezist said that she needs someone to make her feel good as a teacher.  I had to disagree.

Jinny Jacintho was subbing today.  Everyone knows I’m have a fan crush on her but I didn’t get a chance to talk with her.  I hope I get another chance.  The Clown was upset I didn’t grab this one.

Evaluation concept was interesting.  We kind of nailed down the juggling portion of the show, but I had to step into a much more directorial role.  I didn’t mind, but at the end, we all sat down and talked about the working situation.  Of course the usual suspects missed the meetings.  We decided to have non-mandatory writing meetings that would be led by The Clown and myself, and that rehearsals would be when that writing is presented to the group.  People were pretty receptive to it.

Pizza night was pretty tame, I wanted to leave early to get on with the Journal and to hopefully get some sleep.

I start to find The Dreamer cute.

I broke the dance bar with The Acrobat last Monday.  Oops.

Car packed with all the equipment needed for an acrobatic circus streetshow

Hookups and Checkouts

Alright, lets get up to date:

Injury on trampoline due to hyperextension on bad vrie-dos landing.

Evaluations are absolutely harsh!

Movement my best class?

The Contortionist being nice and flirty with me.

The Trapezist interested in her old boyfriend?

The Artist hooked up with one of the upperclass girls?

One of the first years taking a dive (‘back injury’) in main-a-main.

Me dying and taking a sick day on Friday.

One of my recreational kids doing a header on a 1 ½ front without my permission.

Hellish recreational kids!

Me getting into honors flexibility “etirement.”

Moving into my new room in the apartment.

The American leaving for the Trapezium.

Another first year acting like he will follow suit.

German wheel girl needing to leave to take care of her ill mother.

First good column-a-trois.

My first time being the top of a column-a-trois.

Longest one-handed handstand today.

The Trapezist’s record is 5 sec – the competition is on!

Continual reinjury sucks!

Evaluation concept working okay, but some of the personalities make things hard.

The group confronted one of them who had missed more meetings than he has made, “I don’t give a fuck.”

Another one has only made two meetings so far.

That’s all I can remember.  One or two more updates coming up before resuming with dailies, I think.

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.

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!

Standing with my handstand teacher from circus school

Byamba’s Back

I barely got to acting in time, but made it.  I’m starting to get the hang of what it takes to be successful in that class.  For example, the key is playfulness, and when we had to do follow the leader, I had the idea to start clapping.  Everyone of course started clapping, so I bowed, and of course they all stopped.  It was fun and it definitely felt right.  

Handbalancing was dumb, especially since I wanted to work with Byamba, and tumbling was fun, started work on side summies.  I did what I always do in trampo, but I need to learn that damn routine or I will disappoint my teacher.  I still do 2x the amount of conditioning that I am supposed to do, however. 

Then was fil de fer, and that was okay, but I seemed pretty tense, didn’t do as well .  Tried to learn how to sit on the wire, but that is hard and it hurts! 

Found out that tow of our classmates broke up with their boyfriends over the weekend.  While each are still pretty upset they’ve also totally changed their demeanor at school, very flirty, etc.  

Everyone seems to be sick or injured and tired.  I’m a bit concerned about The Frenchman, who The Aerialist says had a lot of uncontrollable bleeding out of his nose.  He saw the doctor today. 

Had a brief talk with The Trapezist about my training philosophy and that of my Dad.  She doesn’t agree with the idea of needing to be the “best,” but maybe understood it better when I put it in terms of not being redundant in any way.  Byamba was funny when one of us said “Shit” after falling.  “Not shit, shoot.  Not shit, shoot.  Shoot.”  It’s good to have him back.

The I did Russian Bar again!  It is so much fun, and I feel it much, much better.  The key is to really feel the bar and to let yourself fall.  My big problem now is tensing when I do the tempo.  That needs to change! The other thing is letting myself fall after being caught.  They will fix any problems.  I can not adjust in the air! 

Then I was a porter.  Even though I could be good at it, it hurts and it is not as fun.  As my partner put it, “I don’t think he’s coming back; he keeps watching the teeterboad.” 

And I was!  The Artist and two of the high school students are definitely the best.  Some of the others, like The Tumbler and The Trampolinist are a little scary.  “Buckaroo,” as they call it.  The Trapezist was excited to try, but when she saw it, she got spooked.  Fifteen minutes before practice ended, I asked If I could do it, and The Trapezist decided to join as well.  First it was just one person jumping and I did an okay layout.  Then with two people jumping, I did a layout and a half.  I told The Trapezist, “That’s as bad a landing as you can make, and I’m fine!”  Nonetheless, she buckarooed hers, and I got a second shot, this time, trying the jump without a spotter.  The first time, too late and I buckarooed.  The second time, I went to early and buckarooed.  The third time I hit it, did a wicked high layout, pulled in, and did another nice layout with the secondary students cheering.  That was cool.  Next time triple!  The Artist was a bit hurt after a botched full-in, but I think he’ll be okay.  Then I played for a while, with standing halfs, gainers, and fronts.  The key to control in the air is staying absolutely tight all the time! 

Then I went with The Porter to a fashion show that had The Mentor, the funny girl from the secondary program, The Unicyclist, and a few other people in it.  It was a good show with good music, there was a great sense of circus camaraderie, and I was glad to be friends with all the people there.  

I need to deal with the Canadian government tomorrow, so I better head to bed.  Night!

Back In The Saddle

Ah.  So either getting 10 hours of sleep or going to bed at 11 or eating two cheeseburgers made a huge difference. Things were much better.  I had so much more energy, and I had so much of a better attitude.  I think at some point I might include caloric data as well as sleep and wake times to correlate how well my days go.  

Physical preparation was a breeze, the only hard stuff for me is lower body things.  This is frustrating not only because of my injury, but also because I want to be a tumbler to no small degree.  When Esteban gives us a number of a certain exercises to do, I always add between five and ten repetitions to that number.  This is my attempt to stay above the expectations.  The last five or so extra that I do I consider to be for me; the first fifteen or so were for the class. 

Trampoline was fun, too.  I started to work on some more difficult routines, but was able to get through them all at least once.  The trick now is to hit them all with form. 

The only good thing about ITA today is that Alexander said “Bravo, Tanabe” to me after class.  I had just served as a solo porter in the cradle and not screwed up.  Made me feel pretty proud.  He is a tough guy and he is hard to please, but it makes it that much more of a big deal when you do please him. 

Juggling was juggling, but we did three person ball passing today and the teacher showed me some hat tricks.  She was impressed with my progress on the bouncing juggling and the circle juggling. 

Finally, hand to hand was hand to hand, but The Trapezist said “you are really strong, eh?” after I did a lift with her.  It is this sort of thing that makes me want to train harder and harder.  The expectations are continually raised for me, and I need to improve at a rate that is keeps up with those expectations. 

I did equilibre today on my own and was able to hit ten of each of the handstand kickups, tucked, straddled, and piked, as well as my full static strength workout.  As can be expected, my static strength was a little weak, that’s what happens when you do it three days running, but that is also the way of circus. 

I am trying to think of how I can boil this experience down into a class to give the Masque kids this summer.  I think it will be doable. 

I also did a bit of a tumbling contest with The Hotshot and the Trampolinist.  We tried to see who could do the furthest dive roll and front tuck.  They won, but only by a few inches.  I like that sort of competition.  I am really enjoying the “Book of Five Spheres,” which an MIT friend gave me as a going away present. 

Pizza was next, and hanging out with the kids is as fun as ever.  We went to Ban Thai, The Clown, The Artist, The Contortionist, The Aerialist, The Frenchman, and an upperclassman, The Porter.  It was fun.  French and German and Quebec lessons all around.  I taught The Aerialist how to sit like an American; she is always so prim and proper looking! 

Whoa boy.  I want to get to sleep earlier tonight so that I can continue this streak.

Circus acrobat does a handstand on a trashcan in the old port while a student at the Ecole Nationale de Cirque de Montreal

High School Redux

The first weekend after a full week of classes was a lot of fun, and has pretty much been defined by The Tumbler, The Clown, and finger and leg pain. 

We kicked it off on Saturday with a trip downtown to try and find dance pants.  No luck.  We did however have a lot of fun downtown with ridiculous shenanigans.   I did handstands on a window ledge, we kept challenging each other with increasingly impossible hat tricks until The Tumbler eventually tried for a particularly challenging catch and fell off a ledge. 

A sports store that we wanted to get in to closed just as we got there.  We did some clowning outside of the glass, pressing our faces up against the glass.  Pleading.  Begging.  Being disappointed.  Taking off our shirts.  The Clown talked about possibly taking me to Europe with him this summer to do street shows together.  We also met McGill freshmen out doing a scavenger hunt thing and who were not expecting to meet three circus students that day. 

We hung out a Place De Arts doing stuff on the side of a water pool there, but we were told first by a guard that we could not stand on the side of the pool.  Then that we could not have glass bottles.  Then, that we could not tumble there.  It was funny because The Tumbler was the only one who could speak French. 

We then made dinner at their house and invited The Funambulist, The Aerialist, and The Frenchman.  We had a good time, and I discovered the womanizer side of the guys in our gang and also that casual racism is something I’ll have to deal with here, as well.  I did handstands again.  We compared nicknames that we had all given each other in the first week.  I am “monkey.”  The Aerialist is “mamie,” The Frenchman is “quasi,” and The Tumbler is “tumbli.”  The Funambulist seems cool. 

The Metro had stopped when I wanted to go home.  The Clown told us about all the work he has already done – not without some pride, but certainly deserved.  The Aerialist and The Frenchman walked partway home with me, but it was an hour and a half home.  I got in at 3:30AM.  I got to know The Aerialist better.  It was fun getting to see her open up and be a little looser than normal.  She has a hard belly! 

When I got home my leg was killing me. 

Sunday, We tried shopping again and I got lots of underwear.  My leg hurt too much then, and so did my fingers, so I went home. The Clown and The Tumbler Joined me to watch Dralion, and then I napped until we made an ill-fated trip to listen to some Cuban music.  When we got there, it had stopped, though, and some guys from the school suggested we go to a bar.  At this point, I was thinking of taking the Metro home since I wanted to rest my leg, but figured that a little walk might be good for it.  A good thing too!  While we were at the bar, some sort of explosion happened in the Metro.  I looked out the window at all the police cars, ambulances, and bullhorns; people were panicked and running out of the metro station.  The Clown and The Tumbler had to take the bus home. 

Today I have just been cleaning and relaxing.  I did laundry for the first time in Montreal. I think I will try to save money by drying my clothes on the line.  It takes a day or two, though.  Still, that’s three dollars fifty saved. 

I think I have almost entirely moved in.  This means that most of my settling-in expenses are taken care of. 

The Contortionist has moved in to her place, but I suspect that she will now be even closer to her German friends, and as such will not be as interested in hanging out with the first-year crew.  We will see tomorrow, though.  Night, people.