Friday, 3 April 2015

Chapter 71: Circus Students Going Places

It was the last equilibristics class at Circus Space and Max, our instructor, brought out all the equipment that we'd been learning on during the term: tightwire, unicycle, rolla-bolla and the globe - I felt like a kid in a candy shop. But in my lust to try the lot at the last-chance saloon, I ended up the fool of all and mistress of none,  getting tossed by my bucking bronco of a unicycle in the corridor of doom, teased by the tightrope and dumped on my arse by the globe. If only I'd just stuck to one thing - that's the first-class lesson I'll be taking with me next term when I repeat the course …

A lesson that was brought home by going on afterwards to watch the end of degree show by year BA Hons degree students at Circus Space. Having successfully passed the two-day audition process "where they are tested on strength, balance, dexterity and flexibility, as well as their ability to learn a choreographed routine" (see the article Where high fliers learn the ropes ) these guys have been sticking to their training of 35 hour weeks for three years.

And the end result? Two shows this year called Fire and Earth and Air and Water:

I saw Fire and Earth and what I loved about the acts, and I'm sure this applies just as much to Air and Water, was the story-telling as much as the phenomenal skill. There was a huge variety of narratives and styles, ranging from the autobiographical to the fantastical. From fiery childhood tantrums and burning, bloody love to a smouldering phoenix and a twisted dragon. They were all legends quite frankly.  I also really enjoyed the group cameo opening and closing the show from the first year students given the stage a clean sweep, and the vaudeville style comedy threading through the evening courtesy of that self-deprecating juggler Ian Marchant

So congrats to all the guys in both shows - to the first years at the beginning of their journey through Circus Space, and the third years who have stuck to their course and are about to launch onto new horizons. You were in your element. 

Cast of Fire and Earth:

Michelle Ross - Swinging trapeze - Silenced finding a voice on trapeze, not one to be slapped down, struck a chord on a visceral level
Kerrie Denton – Juggling - Unfold Me touched by balletic, graceful interpretation of the struggles of developing juggling skills 
Craig Gadd - Hand Balance - Grown up toys phenomenal strength toying around with serious handstands and beautiful form
Fiona Thornhill -  Cyr Wheel - The Tensile Twitch dizzying study in Olympian athleticism, rhythm and timing (one third of Alula Cyr girls)
Natalie James  -  Single point dance trapeze - Phoenix exquisitely smouldering and supine spinning
Claudia Hughes – Contortion - Here be Dragons disturbingly, extraordinarily enchanting movement  in tune with the siren call of Rosie Kohl's violin
Lil Rice - Cyr Wheel - Haima Terrific voice as one with the lyricism of the apparatus she spun, accompanied by Ollie Clark on guitar 
(another third of Alula Cyr girls - the final third, Jessica Ladley, was in Air and Water!)
Luke Hallgarten – Juggling - Jugla "I now know my type: a British guy in a suit who juggles" declared an American friend ...
Humour, rapport and skill reminded me of Gandini Juggling 
Maisy Taylor – Rope Ethereal and effortless grace, utterly spell-binding

 Supporting Cast (Foundation Degree 1st years): Daniel Ash, Charlie Caplan Wilson, Charlee DeBolla, Jason Dupree,  Pierre Riviere, Matthew Wood, Jodie Williams, Kate Shaw, Ben Nicholson, Habiba Noach Herce, Jessica Miller

The Foundation Degree 1st Years
Photo credit: Danny Ash @AmbientAsh

Post-script: I came across the inspirational Josh Billings quote last night in the Twitter feed of Australian musicians Syre & Fresko.
They've written a song called Tightrope (click here) - what's not to love?!

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