Whirlwind Tour Part 2: Boston

So I managed to get through yesterday, which entitled waking up in Honolulu at 10AM, flying to Chicago (arrive 5:30AM local time the next day), and then continuing on to Boston (arriving 9:40AM local time) going to my dance company’s rehearsal and exploring the possibility of a month’s work with them if Taiwan is truly screwing me out of that fourth month of work; I’d be in there as acrobatic/circus consultant, co-director for a new piece.  Plus, they gave me the personal contact info on all the promoters for the Boston area.  ‘All’ of them amounts to a grand total of three, but it is a hell of a lot more managable than the millions in Tokyo.

Business in the arts is a very strange thing.  When I sit at home, depressed and alone, when I train in a corner of the gym, I feel like a failure; like I am skillless and useless in the world.  but as soon as I have a project; a CREATION project, I feel like I am really doing something that few people can do.  I can look at a piece, at a theme, at an artist, and just know what has to be done to make that piece, theme, or artist effectively move an audience…  but there is that important ingredient of the other people there.  All alone, I am like a waterwheel in the desert.

Then it was off to MIT to meet with my former acrobatics partner from Bulgaria.  Strange, strange, strange.  It is like looking into a mirror in which your image from six years ago is reflected and superimposed over what you now are.  It was very interesting talking about her studies (system complexity), a Balkan’s view of the United States, and Americans and MIT in general, culture, cultural norms… and all in the context of sitting there in America with Americans all around us…   we were able to switch back and forth from English to French to Spanish as the spirit moved us, and as the sentiment required.

In the end, we realized that six years ago, we really had nothing in common.  I was an ignorant American, and she was a culture-shocked Balkan in a new environment.  Oddly enough, six years later, we have travelled to the same countries, both learned French, both started drinking, and are both looking at our “successful” lives and realizing that we feel like we have nothing in our hands…  that our choices have not been choices so much, but improvisations from moment to moment, and we only see ahead to the next junction.

Something that my friends at the Tabata refugee camp can surely relate to.

I can’t stop thinking about The Model and her visa problems, and The Political Scientist and her visa silence…  my biggest fear is returning to an empty or emptier house…

I hope for the best every day, and think of them often!

I ran into an ex-girlfriend completely by chance in the hallway while looking for a bathroom.  Her first words to me: ‘You asshole!  I knew you’d do this!’

I guess she thought I was trying to be cute by not telling her I would be in town and then showing up unannounced at her lab.  later on, I’d realize the absurdity of this presumption, as though I would research the work address of a former lover just to hang outside and stalk her…  but then when I told her that it was just chance, a happy chance, she said that it was even worse.

But come on, we are not best friends, I have only so much free time this trip, and my main reason for coming was to talk about my friend’s death with my two closest friends in Boston and to meet a woman whom I never really got to know when I had the chance…  realistically, I could not contact every friend I ever had in boston and schedule 15 minute coffee-breaks with all of them…

Then it was to the gym where I trained with my former acro partner…  the last time we had trained, she was helping me get into circus school.  Needless to say, I had improved a bit, but we still had a good time.  She had not done acro since our last practice together six years ago, so I was helping her relearn a lot of her moves.

Then it was wine and Indian with her and her roommates.  I had a million things to talk about with her roommate from Hawaii, very introspective, talking about racial identity of the hopelessly mixed like us, the social structure and climate, good and bad, of the islands, old-time Hawaiian pop culture…  history, it was a good conversation.  the other roommate was a little overbearing in the American sense, talking about how her greek friend should stop worrying about her relationships and just change herself to fit with the guy she is with, that love is worth changing yourself for, and that the Eastern European marrying-for-the-right-reasons is too mental, akin to arranged marriages, and that her Greek friend should be able to adapt to the Hollywood romantic ideal of pushing yourself into the mold of a reltaionship.  I got tired quickly of this and smiled.  Finally, at 4am I went to sleep on the couch (9 pm hawaii time… 36 sleepless hours) only to wake up five hours later to drive my friend to class.

Two bottles of wine between the two of us, but consumed over 5 hours of good conversation with roommates, and I had my first allergic reaction to American Indian food a la what happens every time The Political Scientist takes me to an Indian restaurant in Tokyo!

I try to find a place to nap now, maybe get a haircut, something to eat.  It is strange being in America, my friends.  It is like walking around Disneyland after working backstage for years.  There is no magic left, or what magic that is present is too easily understood.

Business is good, company is good, and I feel busy… just the way I like it on vacation!

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.

Circus school friends

Working Hard At Not Working Hard

Lousy evaluation in Jeu: C for being tired and either late or arriving just before class starts.  I also need to work more on writing for various projects instead of sticking with the simple things.  I guess i agree with that but as I was telling The Clown, I haven’t felt comfortable doing harder things yet because I don’t feel I’ve mastered the simple stuff, but if she’s indicating that i need to try harder things i will take that as a sign and work at it. 

Preparation physique was fine, not too tough today. 

It felt like spring and as one of the first year girl’s has just broken up with her boyfriend which always changes the chemistry in the school I found myself at my charming and flirty best today!

In Equilibre i did some one-arm work with Larissa for the first time and she had me do cool drills where we actually held each other for the one arms to actually feel exactly what you have to do to hold it. 

Worked with Esteban on crosses again.   

Trampo was trampo and my pike barani is not too bad.  At the same time i was trying to work standing back fulls with Straps Guy and another of the upperclassman.  I meant to do back fulls but kept doing back full and a half so they were teasing me for that. 

Finished up the day with tightwire – I got A’s and B’s but the evaluation got weird when the teacher asked me why all the girls are trying to switch out of his acro class. 

I’m really exhausted I didn’t get much sleep last night because there was a big dinner with my roommates but it’s still good. 

I’m definitely eating better which boosts my energy.  since so many teachers said i was working too hard and tired all the time i’m going to take a couple of days where I don’t do any additional work just to give it a rest anyway and take some time for myself.  it’s against my nature, and the first time i’ve done it since starting the school, but they insist that its better so I’ll give it a shot.

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.

Acrobat juggler and clown training at the National Circus School of Montreal

Burnout and Creation

Okay, Friday:

Flexi with Russian woman was fun, but was redundant with Tuesday’s.

Dance was fine, but I had to sit out of a lot of it.

Larissa’s class was good, The Clown is really getting quite good.

Acro I just lifted weights, Trampo I just did stuff on my back with fulls, etc.

Byamba equilibre was fine, but not spectacular.

Work was work.

The Clown and I wrote most of the evaluation concept in the afternoon.

Saturday:

Work was hellish, but the first really productive evaluation concept meeting took place.  We all went to the Eccentricus show together and saw John Gilkey and the short clown from Dralion.  It was fun and a good show to see.

Sunday:

Saw the result of the stage with the director of the show on Saturday.  It was pretty good, but again with the motif of violence.  Did not seem too creative.

Today:

Slept through Jeu after a late night.

Acro I did ½ way.

Trampo was the same, but I did all the beginner crap just fine.

Fil de fer ended early because The Contortionist was not there, but we got to do stuff with juggling and jumping on the wire.  It was fun.

Did a lot of last minute work on the evaluation concept with The Clown since we need to present to the artistic counselor tomorrow, and it all went well. I presented the whole of the new first act and stuff like that, and the people seemed to like it.

The two first years who are rarely there were there today, and one of them came to The Clown and me saying that he was really not thinking of coming back, but that he wanted to be in the evaluation concept all the way.  I told him that we would work him in if we had time, but that it would be a low priority after writing the rest of the show.

A lot of people left early, but we got a fair amount of work done after them, and I’ve been spending the whole night finishing up the first half script.

The Clown and I took a sauna, and he is really pushing this idea of us doing a show together.  He was really impressed with the show I did this summer.  He said that he is learning a lot by watching me be the boss and that he is not as jealous of people who are good at things.  I told him that I was learning a lot from working with him too. 

That’s all good, I think.  Jeez.  I’ve got to sleep.

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!