Acrobats setting up for a circus street show in France

Many Problems Abound

Today was the first day of final exam presentations which were a lot more fun than I expected them to be.  It’s not too high-stress.  I managed by best side summies and hit the standing full.  Mario mentioned to the jury that I kept working in spite of my wrist injury which was nice of him. 

Aladdin went, and that’s the most important thing: it’s just done. 

Trampo was fine, I had fun but I mistakenly thought it was two warm-ups and one real one but it was actually one warm up and two real ones and I screwed up on one of the real ones but I still had fun and the teacher didn’t fail me.  I’m really tired because I got in at 1am this morning from Boston where I spent a day or two to see friends. 

Friday night I went out to The Clown’s house which was fun.  I was able to actually shoot the breeze and make people laugh and be interesting in French which is an improvement. 

The Clown and I worked on our juggling number for about 90 minutes today because we present tomorrow.

Circus acrobats doing a tumbling trick at the National Circus School exterior show

Setting Records

The Gang has decided that the seven guys are going to start working on circus projects outside of class next year.   

Estaban had to leave the country due to visa problems and is replaced by his boyfriend Mario but he should be back by September.  Some people think that Mario is too tough, but thanks to him I have fixed my side summie, my standing back full, and I’ve been working rudi dismounts into the pit and backtucks off the wall from trampoline.  I trained at the place where Mario and Esteban’s work during the summer. 

Went to Boston and had a lot of fun seeing friends and doing karaoke.  My best friend from MIT is moving to the Southwest which was a bit of a surprise. 

My wrist is hurting a lot right now and I can’t do any handstands.  I did 31 pullups which is the new school record and I’m aiming to up that to 40 for next year.  I managed 60 pushups in a minute which I think is also pretty good.  The Clown and my juggling piece is getting pretty nice and locked in.  We’re going to hopefully perform it at a juggling convention that is coming up.  

Dance evaluation went surprisingly well, I hope, and we have the atelier presentation the week after this week.  This is the last week of classes and evaluations and then we have big evaluations coming the week after.

My roommate is back and now we have a new pregnant cat that hangs around.  Summer is here with 75, 80 degree weather.  It’s been really nice. 

The Clown and I are getting to be good friends and all of the guys in our class just got matching German submarine sailor haircuts which looks pretty funny.

It really sucks having my wrists not work, but I was able to do my splits without even warming up which was pretty exciting.  But I have my split, pike, center split evaluation tomorrow so hopefully my luck will hold out.

We had a second big working day for the outside show for the annual show and I think The Clown and I saw some of the same patterns as the evaluation concept – no real discipline or order until the camera was set up and then everyone just does all the tricks they know.  This was last Friday which was the first day I did a standing full, but I didn’t get it on camera.

Again it was just the guys who were doing things full-out while the girls were always spotting each other.  I’m getting to be better friends with The Aerialist.  I’m writing a show this summer with Tori and she’s asked me for some notes on how to get in shape for some acrobatic stuff since its so much harder to lift people if they don’t have strong cores.

I went to go see a dance show.  The first one was very physical and quirky with very good balance on the stage which was interesting because it was done in this big open warehouse with windows that weren’t covered up and you could see an apartment across the street where this woman was getting ready for bed with her boyfriend.  Funny seeing someone stripping outside while you’re watching a dance show.  The second one didn’t work so well – it was based on shocking violence and rape with a live DJ and heavy metal music, but the dance just wasn’t that good which was my main problem with it.  

After the show, the guys from school were messing around playing their quirky comic characters at the reception in this art and dance world event clowning around having problems in the men’s room, in the foyer, doing art dance numbers in the street and tripping all over themselves enjoying how when you trip and try to recover people just think that’s funny.  Two high columns, etc – fun to play with people who know how all this fits together.

Circus clowns at the National Circus School of Montreal's annual show

Things That Are Interesting After 7 Months Of Circus School

years of failure at a trick can be fixed by a russian coach telling you ‘do it with no falling.  is much more beautiful for the public that way.’

after you control your fear, anything is possible.

there is nothing that is physically difficult in acrobatics.

flexibility is the most important thing in the world.

juggling does not suck.

unicycle does.

if you do a trick correctly the first time, you will never, ever, ever forget how it is done.

there is no expectations on a person that cannot be raised by their success.

sometimes, you are right.

sometimes, you even know it.

a one-armed handstand is just holding yourself up with one hand.

a standing full twisting back somersault is just jumping really high, arching your body, kicking yourself in the chest with your knees, hugging yourself while looking over your shoulder, and then straightening out.

strength is the most important thing in the world.

if you feel the responsibility that goes along with holding someone over your head and then throwing them for a back flip, there is no way that you will let them fall.

if someone you trust tells you that you can do something you have never done, they are right.  So do it.

charisma is the most important thing in the world.

if skill is developed by learning, then creativity is developed by playing.

people like seeing you do something you enjoy more than they like seeing something that is difficult.

show an acrobat a skill they have never seen and they will try it.  if they fail, they will fall in a funny way.

when a russian tells you to do a double back salto from a wall, do it. 

even if he is kidding.

sleep is the most important thing in the world.

good night!

 

Circus artists in the National Circus School of Montreal's end of year show

Dead Cat And Monkey Style

All day I think about things that I want talk about and when I get here at night I can never remember it. 

Byamba was back and had a really nice couple of hours of handstands interrupted by a trip back home to pick up rice, which I had forgotten, whereupon I discovered that our cat is dead.  Probably sometime two nights ago.  It looks like he was hit by a car.  Poor guy.  Dead.   

Today I thought it would be fun to do equilibre all day, doing handstands against the wall, feeling the position, and sliding easily into one arm with legs together, one arm with legs apart, etc.  Felt good.  I held about 2-3 seconds on my right side in one arm with legs together and on my left side with legs apart. 

I saw a tape that Larissa had brought me of the Russian circus school.  Interesting to see them, their technique is really really really good despite some weird artistic stuff.  Some great Chinese pole kids from China were on there and rolla bolla acts.  Two of us in the first year train together and seem to have a natural equilibre mindset.  Another first year trains a lot with us, but has a much more relaxed mindset – this seems to make a big difference in speed of progress. 

I only did aerial cradle today and Alex had a new move for us which he called “monkey style” but which The Clown and I are calling “monkey sex” because basically on the upswing in front I pull up on his arms, grab his body, and push off into a back somersault.  Alex says we can do it without the line if we want and that it’s not hard.  It was fun but The Clown kneed me or hit his head into my groin like 4 times today, which you can imagine felt great. 

Juggling was normal and in hand to hand I got to be a flyer again; The Clown is glad to work with me because I’m not afraid to fall and don’t panic. 

I’m definitely slipping into more of a morning schedule, I woke up around 5 and went back to sleep but still woke up at a reasonable hour without an alarm clock.  Going to bed at around 9:30 or 10 at night.  

I really need to start writing things down during the day when they seem interesting so I have more to write about at night!

Head Above Water

Just trying to keep my head above water because I didn’t get to bed until around 2:30 last night and had to get up at 7:30.  I am not sleeping well at all – wasn’t up late or anything i just couldn’t sleep.  I’m sleeping like an old person.  After a really good day of flexibility yesterday flexibility class was ok, not great, but everything keeps rolling. 

In dance we presented the 2×8 piece that The Hotshot and I did.  It wasn’t too bad but the music was faster than I remembered so we had to combine some of the things and cut some of the things which all worked out for the best in the end. 

I was thinking about skipping equilibre with Larissa based on what Isabelle had said about not doing extra work if you are tired, but in the end, i’m glad that i did because i got to do a three person high handstand column with The Clown and The Dreamer.  Byamba wasn’t there again today but Larissa also showed us some of the things that we’ll need to do and said that she wants Daniella to view our class at this evaluation. 

Acro and trampo were typical, and had equilibre with Byamba’s student whose girlfriend was a student at the school who was the victim of a car accident.  He gave me some things to think about when holding handstands against the wall like keeping your hips against the wall and not having your arm moving in space but rather moving your body relative to the arm while the arm stays completely parallel in space – that was helpful.  He also suggested that I not remove my finger when doing one arm drills on the canes. 

Then I did juggling with The Clown.  Both of our legs are really hurting because of movement, we think, so we didn’t do much with the hats but worked on our intro with the clubs.  Alex was back today and it was cool to see him around. 

The Contortionist wasn’t in dance class today because her boyfriend came back from Belgium yesterday and she was sure to tell me that they were up late “not sleeping.”  The Clown and I also talked about the personalities of The Tumbler’s unique Quebecois family.  

I really need to sleep today or I’ll just die tomorrow.  Sleep is really important but really hard for me to keep constant.

Group act in the animation before the National Circus School annual show

Grumpiness And Burnout At Circus School

Slept in again, missing my equilibre major class but with no Byamba, I am not too worried.

Started with ITA where I stayed at the cradle the whole time.  I ported for over half the class.  Alexander is giving me good advice.  He said that he would buy me a huge bag of peanuts at Costco when he goes next.  I almost finished the ones he said I could take from him yesterday right before I almost got a migraine before trampo.

I worked with The Clown in juggling on our number that we have to prepare for the end of the year.  It will be a hat number.  It is funny that it is the two of us and then the rest of the class, most of whom worked with us in the evaluation concept.

We presented to them and I think thought it looked pretty good.  Main a main was ok too, but I was sick of the girls, who would sit in a spot that they repeatedly were almost run into as others of them fell from the barre russe.  Dumb!  People really seem to be getting on my nerves lately.

In movement I got to do my first contact impro class with The Contortionist.  Have to admit it was a little more fun that my second time with one of the first year guys.  Anyways, the technique is making more sense, now.

Then I did a little Byamba equilibre.  I also talked with The Trapezist about Russian teachers and things like that.  We obviously have differing opinions on the matter.  Now I’m tired and not looking forward to dance.

Night.

Back In The Game

Skipped jeu after a night of general malady of the emotions and calling friend after friend to no real avail.  Did preperation physique first, and was a little floored by 5 minutes of jump roping and a 2x rope climb, but in general, I did OK.  I have awesome rope burns on my feet and insides of my knees.

I learned to always volunteer first, which I did anyway, but in the case of the rope climb, I started from sitting without using feet just like we did on the MIT gymnastics team, and then when I could no longer do it, I switched to using feet.  I also climbed all the way to the top, and did a slow descend with one arm at a time.  After, he clarified that we could start from standing, use feet, etc, and could slide down.  Most started from standing with feet and arms, and made it halfway before sliding down.  Would I have done what I did if I hadn’t gone first?  Probably.  But going first allows you to set your own bar without looking like a showoff.

Equilibre was fun, Larissa worked us hard.  I definitely feel like I am back in the groove.  She also gave me the phone number and fax of the Moscow school, which I will try calling later.

I am getting much better at the stumph’s.

She also has me doing the stumph to both blocks being thrown away at the same time.  Oh!  And we saw Larissa’s weird bendy pole act, which she did not like, but it was fun seeing her be a performer.

In trampo I actually did the piked barani.  Just had to take it easy, and be an observer of the trick at the same time as a performer of the trick.  Relax!

Richard was not there for fil, so The Clown and I watched a video of hat stuff for inspiration for our juggling number we need to do.

The Aerialist came in and watched an old school show, and we all agreed that the technical skill was better then, and she was mad when I was critical of technique.  I saw the number of the guy who I might have seen in alegria (equilibre) and commented that I didn’t like all the cheesy discovery of the apparatus stuff, but she said that this might have been the first time it had been done, and so was not cheesy.  I think it was still cheesy.

Then I tricked The Contortionist into thinking that a guy who looked a lot like her roommate really was him and that it was last years evaluation concept.  She believed me so much that I had to tell her the truth.

Then flexi and muscu.  The Flyer wanted me to teach her some martial arts too.  When someone put in the mortal kombat theme, she raced over to attack The Clown and me, but I defended myself reflexively a little too aggressively, and I think that caught her off guard.

During flexi, Larissa came over to me and introduced her Russian husband who spoke Japanese to me, but I do not think he understood my English or French.  Then they left without her introducing him to The Clown.  Niether of us know what this means.  Russian thing?  The Clown says, ‘but I am not really her ideal student.’