Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Chapter 116: It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas...

'Tis the season for Bublé, bubbles and baubles, preferably braided in beards. And the last class of the term at the National Centre for Circus Arts in Hoxton, which means only one thing for those of us on static trapeze: our group performance.

I nearly didn't go. I haven't made a single class this term, and then a friend alerted me to a tempting alternative on the same night: a screening of "Grazing the Sky", a documentary following circus acrobats from around the world. The film would be followed by a Q&A session with the Mexican director, and one of the performers afterwards. Speaking Spanish, chatting to random strangers, I'd have been in my element, so of course I opted for the scarier option and turned up to class.

Aerial gaiters by
Christmas Stags
Walking in through the doors, seeing familiar, friendly faces, teasing warm ups in the lofty Turbine Hall - it hit home how much I have missed this circus space, and how good it was to be back. I didn't intend to join in the group performance, per se, just to touch base with friends from the term before. Still, I pulled on my aerial gaiters. Their snug fit seemed all the tighter now I've taken up running over the past month, and there was a warning tenderness across the front of my right foot, but with their dark silver tongues, grips of suede and stars on the side, they demand to be worn. 

I joined in the rehearsals for the group choreography, thanks to the gently persuasive encouragement of our teacher Layla, and was surprised to find myself learning a couple of new moves into the bargain: the "lamp-post", balancing on one foot on the bar while leaning back into the rope, and the "Julie", a graceful recline in the air. It was fun, and joining in the routine was a wonderful reconnection. What I enjoyed most of all, though, was watching a couple of superb solos in our group, poles apart in style, one touchingly poignant, the other achingly hilarious.  Seeing how much classmates have expanded their repertoire of moves since last term was inspiring, and watching them have fun with that was a joy. As with the improvisations I have watched in recent workshops (see "Clowning Around" - click here), it was an incredible privilege to be seeing performances that existed just for that moment, for them, for us. Decamping to Cirque afterwards had to be done, and as the medicinal brandy and ginger coursed through my veins, so too did the desire to get stronger and make more shapes. Intoxicating stuff. Cheers!

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