Circus artist doing a one-armed handstand in the desert

Comfort and Habituation

One of the upperclassmen fell on her head today and people were really worried about her.  The EMT’s came but at the end of the day she seemed fine.  Just one of those moments unique to circus school that reminds you that it’s dangerous and that we’re mortal but that you have to keep going. 

Movement today was good, I got an A for my evaluation which he said he gives out very rarely and that I seem to have a knack for it.  It’s fun doing well in something and getting appreciation for it even though this was not a class that I thought I would enjoy.  Did the stick exercise today where you have the ends of a stick held between the fingertips of two partners.  We also did a giant round robin at the end because both classes were together.  Good trip hop music and enjoyed playing with some breaking-style movements. 

I also got to be a flyer in hand to hand because we were joined by The Frenchman and another first-year guy who could port me.  Also was able to work with The Clown and we’re starting to have a good rapport. 

Alex just got back from Belgium so he wasn’t in ITA today and two of his students won three gold medals at the Piste d’Espoirs Festival which is great news for them and The Contortionist’s boyfriend won silver.

Today I intentionally didn’t do any supplementary strength since so many teachers have been telling me that work outside of class isn’t good for my body and might make me sick, etc. etc. so I’m taking a couple of days with no extra strength but I did do a heck of a good flexibility workout today: my splits were better than they have ever been in my life, or at least since doing gymnastics at MIT.

I have this new technique for working flexibility now.  I have my oversplits so I do one with correct form as a warmup and then do one with overextension for one minute each, and then I do “comfort” or “habituation” training where you sit in a medium position of a split for 2 minutes.  I’m doing that right now for splits and pancake and center split but not center split pancake.  I think it will be useful for stalter on highbar and presses on equilibre.

I got to hang out with people while working on standing backs and standing 1 1/2’s again.  I also pulled around a couple of standing double twists to my face in the pit – not beautiful, but fun.

Byamba wasn’t here again today so I worked with The Clown again on some juggling.


Circus acrobat doing a handstand trick at the National Circus School of Montreal


Bon.  The meeting with the artistic counselor went well.  People and he were very appreciative and impressed with our efforts on the script that we were up working on last night.  The Trapezist said to the group and the counselor that we are lucky to have The Clown and me in the group.  Trampo was on my own, I played around with my bug walking on the wall stuff, The Frenchman said that he likes my trampo style because I do not do hard stuff, but I do original and stylish stuff.  That was cool to hear.  Alex was gone for ITA and the trapeze instructor has I guess quit the school, so the funny ex-student who does trapeze with Natalie is taking over at least for December.  For barre fixe I am really finding my giants again, so I am going for speed and numbers.  I want to do muscle ups on the barre more.  During this class I lost my left contact lens, which made juggling next to impossible.  In main a main I was spotting again due to my knee.  When one of the porters started screaming in the air as usual, I could not stop laughing.  Movement is always cool after I get into it, like everything else in performing arts, it really is just about performing for people.  I decided to go for the comic route tonight.  Doesn’t change that the class is a bit weird sometimes, but it makes me learn something good in it.  I like playing with the other people I present with.  I also like that we all learn from each other and incorporate it into our pieces.  I need to find some music for the new dance assignment tonight.

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.

Circus acrobats backstage at Paleo festival next to their costumes

Midterms 2

First meeting with the artistic counselor for our Evaluation Concept today.  We tried to set up some semblance of a schedule, and assigned characters.  In my mind it was perhaps a bit too premature, but on the other hand, what better time than now?  I am a little surprised at how hard a time some people have at creating a character.  I guess it’s one of the advantages of coming from a theatrical background.  I had to do an improv sketch in French, though, and it was only moderately successful.  I think part of it was that it was the first time I’d ever worked with the professor.  The Clown is really happy to have his direction because he is ‘really good’ at theater stuff and has ‘a lot of experience.’  Be that as it may, I am worried that the director is using this as an excuse to railroad his ideas.  It is a danger to impose your ideas in group work because you will eventually run out of those ideas and feel as though you are doing the same thing over and over.  I don’t like anyone’s opinion to override anyone else’s.

Trampo was good, and I started work on back layout today.  It’s hard because with correct trampo form it feels like you are arching like mad.

I have an evaluation in my trampo minor also!

ITA I learned the other form of cradle today and had my barre fixe assessment, which was a piece of cake.  I finally got the hang of the porting, though, which wasn’t bad.  You just need to not bend your back at all and use your arms.  Being small is a huge disadvantage for me, though.

After juggling where we just did our assessment and I didn’t do too bad, we saw the Jeu III students present.  They were pretty good!  A few were a bit less interesting, but it was nice seeing people’s stage presence, though.  Straps Guy is really good at it. 

Main a Main was cool because we did planche and I finally got my timing down as well as being able to be the pusher on the running form of planche.  You need to bend when the pushers’ first foot hits, and finish your jump as soon as they touch the end of the board.  I jump too far, but Sylvain let me do a double (“just for fun; this isn’t track and field”).

After main a main, it was time for a half hour of free equilibre with Byamba.  I was pretty exhausted, and I think he could tell, but this is experience I need to gain.  3 hours a day is the goal.

Movement assessment was weird, we just did the standing there humping thing, and then did the four people humming and one person following thing.  The Trapezist told me that she thought I was good at the moving freaky thing.  My only goal was to be entertaining using breakdancing moves, silly noises, long pauses, and the like.

Then I got a pretty good massage from one of the girls in the first year who has gender issues about how the group immediately saw the Boss in our show as being a male.  I think she worries too much.  At first, the group wanted me to be the boss, but then I said I’d prefer being the troublemaker, and they agreed.  This exact first-year was being pressured into being the lesbian boss, but then because the wife of the boss at my suggestion.  All of it happened too fast, though, and she is now maybe unhappy about it.  Good massage, though.

Flexi assesment tomorrow.  Oh my god.

Poster for an acrobatic circus show in Holland

Decided To Like It

Trampo was frustrating, ITA was typical, juggling was typical, and another first year moved into our hand to hand class now because we were missing porters.  Movement was fun because I decided to like it today.  Need to do that more.  We did a thing with one person of a pair humming and the other punctuating it with crazy motions and percussive noises.  Then we did four humming with one leader and one being the percussive guy.  Everyone wanted me to be percussive, so I did it and tried to play as much as possible, and people enjoyed it a lot.  I played with The Tumbler because he is always so scared in that class.

Had a fun talk with the three girls from the first year that don’t hang out with us as much.  They’d all be really fun friend.   I told them to hang out with us more. 

Free training was fun.  I invented the pike drill with blocks today and hit a full pike for what I think is my first time on my own!  Yee ha!  Also decided to start drilling back tucks.

Four acrobats doing a circus street show as they travel through France


Got an okay amount of sleep, I thought, before the cable guy came to install the cable TV and Internet access.  Trampo started out okay, but I am still really flaky when it comes to back drops.  ITA and juggling were as to be expected, but I was so hungry by the end.  I was also picking up vibes that The Trapezist and one of her friends is frustrated with me for some reason or another, they are both being kind of cold. 

Hand to hand was tough without a left arm, and I decided not to do any supplementary equilibe today.  We did do neck to neck balances today, though, which was fun.

I felt really slow and dumb today, which was weird.

Started thinking about how to teach circus in the context of theater for the Masque kids today.  Basically, expanding the body’s limits so that you are well prepared to undertake anything you might want to.

Movement was weird.  After the yoga stuff, we put blindfolds on and wandered around the room with weird sounds or whispering or yelling in made-up languages.  Kind of fun, but I was not in the mood for it.

The Aerialist has a torn ligament, and will need surgery.  Makes you take stock, you know?  I told her that she needs to stay happy and these months will still prove to be productive for her.  I told her I had surgery too, and that it is not as bad as it initially seems.

Of course I would not have believed it at the time, either.



The World Trade Center Collapsed

 Woke up to the world trade center collapsing, and the rest of the day was very surreal.  Nothing interesting happened in circus training, and I was pretty cold in general, so there isn’t much to say there except that it looks like tissu-tramp is a no-go. 

As for the towers, there is a lot of cynicism there.  American policy is definitely to blame if it is in fact due to terrorists, so that leaves blame on the American policy makers.  Could these towers have collapsed just from the plane impacts?  Bush’s address felt awkward, like he was uncertain of what his role as president is here. 

There are amateur videos coming out documenting this event from every perspective.  People can’t admit to themselves how fascinated they are with this stuff.  Ebay will be auctioning pieces of the world trade center soon.  George Bush looks like he can use it to get the nation riled up to back any offensive move he can make.  Movie directors will be combing through the footage to make better disaster scenes.  TLC and Discover channel will be running “Terror Weeks” talking about terrorist attacks through history.  In five years the first conspiracy documentaries will come out. 

The drama is brought to the forefront – we get details about people falling out of elevators with no skin, terrorists armed over with knives, people jumping out of buildings looking like they had ‘melted into the sidewalk’ after they hit.  

Blah.  I need to sleep.  Didn’t get to bed when I wanted to and slept too late. 

At school things kept moving forward.  Movement was fun, and the teacher said I enjoy it because I like to play.  Caroline said I am good at a lot of different things and that this is my problem – finding focus.