2016 Blog 9 Should I stay or should I go?


Another Friday night of open training and another conversation that had me thinking about the subject matter long after the conversation had ended.

This time the conversation was about trainers and do you stay with them or do you go and how do you decide.

My friend and I had both had to go in search of new trainers but for different reasons. Mine had got injured and hers was not delivering what she needed.

We talked about what makes a good trainer first. Are they proactive about your training or reactive. Do you feel like you’re moving forward or treading water or are you going backwards?

Should you feel loyalty to your trainer or is it your right to go if your training has become stale. I had the Clash song “Should I stay or should I go” while we talked about this.

Maya Angelou, a very clever woman in America, who unfortunately is no longer with us said “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel”. So how a trainer makes you feel about yourself is also very important. If you are not performing well do they make you feel stupid or slow or do they encourage you to try harder?

Should you glom onto the first trainer you find and try to mould them into what you want from a trainer or do you give them a couple of sessions and get the hell out of there if it isn’t working.

I’ve had maybe five trainers since quitting the smokes and taking up fitness and I can now make these conclusions.

My first impressions have generally been right. Trainers who I have not liked when I first met them did not improve as the weeks progressed. I would say now that when you meet a new trainer give them a couple of sessions and if they still aren’t delivering their product the way you like get the hell out of there. I could cry with the wasted time and money I’ve spent on trainers thinking any week now this training is going to pick up. I’ve bought gym memberships and paid for a term of tuition when really a couple of weeks in and maybe even the first lesson in I should have realised this is not the place for me.

My second observation is that my friend and I could have quit altogether. I was going through trainers who weren’t delivering the goods and she was staying with her trainer who didn’t seem to be putting in any effort. We both could have said ok this is too hard, enough is enough, let’s take up macramé. I know people who have had rotten experiences and have stopped. They have not returned to fitness because trainers turned them off. I get that part of the responsibility is theirs but you put your trust in a trainer and I think there’s an obligation to act in your student’s best interest. So she and I sat there talking and it was like we were refugees from difficult situations. We both could have quit but we didn’t and now we were in much better places.

The third observation was that the trainer could be a good trainer but are they good for you? Just because other people have had great success with them doesn’t mean they are great for you. My friend liked her previous trainer and that is why she stayed so long but now with a new trainer she has progressed well beyond what she was before. So maybe changing trainers isn’t an indictment on the trainer it’s just that there isn’t a good learning chemistry between you both.

My fourth observation was the idea of loyalty. You would hope that if a trainer wasn’t able to provide you with what you needed they would be happy for you to try elsewhere. Bruce Lee said you should try different trainers and different styles. If a trainer doesn’t work for you, you just bow out politely and seek another one. Hey if it works for Bruce who am I to argue.

The last year has been a roller coaster and now I feel like I may well have found my spot. I’ve gone back to crossfit and the people there are lovely and I’ve found a circus school that just has this wonderful vibe. If you’re in a fitness situation or maybe any situation that you’re not happy with you need to ask yourself why you would stay there. I’ve been through the wringer but now I’m as happy as a clam and moving forward at a great rate of knots. I’m still grateful for where I started just like my friend is grateful but I’m also proud of my friend and I for taking control of our lives. We are living lives directed by choice not chance and that’s a cool way to be.



2016 Blog 7 Let go of the person you think you are to become the person you want to be.


That is possibly one of my longest blog titles ever but it really suits the subject matter.

Before I get into that though my adventures with a flying trapeze have continued this week with getting a ride in a cherry picker and my goodness was that fun. I got to twenty feet and that was as high as the trees we were trimming I was higher than Venus (that’s what we call our flying trapeze) and I could see the tops of my trees. I have always wondered what it would be like to be up there and now I know. How lovely were those tree trimmers that they let me have a go. It’s amazing what you get if you ask for it. May I have a go in your cherry picker, yes they say, you may.

I try to make an effort to go to Friday night open training at Circobats because things keep happening on the Friday night that I don’t see when I just go to the Saturday class. On Friday nights I quite often see people practising routines and a couple of times now I’ve had these really good conversations with people that have made me think about what they’ve said on the drive home.

So this Friday’s conversation was with Vashti and she just said quite casually you and Chantelle should do a routine in an upcoming show. Now Chantelle and I have already said yes please to doing a show case at Christmas but this was another type of thing all together. My first reaction was no way could I do that but then when Vashti had left I kept thinking about it. To perform is a natural extension to circus training. When you know that you will be performing it makes you work harder and really nail down your moves and think about what you’re doing. My long term goal was to perform occasionally so Vashti got me thinking. When I train I have fun and I get fit but I don’t think about how it would look if I had an audience so in a sense even though it’s my long term goal I’m not doing anything to get closer to it. So on my drive home I thought even if I don’t perform in this show I need to be ready for when an opportunity arises. It would be incredibly cool to get up there and show what I can do. So thanks Vashti that was a very nice piece of direction for me.

Saturday class heralded our first session with the triple trapeze and oh my goodness. I’ve done trapeze for a while now but hey there is still heaps I can learn. We went so far out of my comfort zone that I would need GPS to get back.

Our first job for the lesson was to show that we could do a pull up and I’m not a novice at this game. Don’t let your trainer walk away and if you’re going to do one do it early before you get tuckered out. Honestly I was like one of the kids I teach, “Alex! Are you watching? I’m going to do it now’ Chantelle and I did the pull up. Poor Alex, Chantelle and I are adults in name only.

Then the rest of the class was doing all of this amazing partner work that I had not done before. It was challenging, fun, magical and confronting. My mind and my courage got a workout at the same time. I do not understand how people can do fitness and not enjoy it, if you are not enjoying your exercise class take a circus class you’ll never look back.

One really cool thing about partner work on a triple trapeze was that for a couple of the moves because you are both on the trapeze you lock each other in so doing some of the moves I’ve never felt more secure. That was cool.

I did however have a couple of difficulties with the activities. The first difficulty was that up till now all of my partner work has been on a double trapeze and has pretty much been one person on top of another. With a triple trapeze we were doing side by side stuff and I was working overtime to get things straight in my head. This leg goes here and this arm goes here and then time what you do here and I thought Help! We figured it out but my goodness it was a mental workout.

The second difficulty was a difficulty I have had previously when working with others. We were doing this move and I can’t remember what it was called but Chantelle and I had to balance off of each other and I wasn’t comfortable with that at all. I am bigger and heavier than her and I thought I’m going to send her into orbit. She assured me that I wouldn’t and when we did the move she didn’t go into orbit so maybe next time we do it I’ll be able to relax and just enjoy what we’re doing.

So my outcomes from this weekend were. I have a renewed direction with my training. If I want to get to a certain point I need to let go of the person I think I am to become the person I want to be. If I perform and I stuff something up it’s not the end of the world. Hell they stuff up in the Olympics it would be worse to not have a go and what would be really cool is to perform and enjoy performing, hmmm that’s certainly worth thinking about.

This triple trapeze is obviously going to open up a whole new world for us and I am one happy camper about that. Trapeze never gets dull.

2016 Blog 6 How did I end up here?


It’s been an amazing couple of weeks. I have just completed two weeks of training in dogging and rigging and I’m now a qualified dogger and rigger. Soon I shall have a little plastic card with a somewhat gormless face on it to prove this.

I have no handyman skills. I have very little in the way of mathematical skills. You know that expression measure twice cut once? I’ve rarely been able to get two measurements to agree with each other but that’s ok we are all here for different purposes. So how the heck did I end up in a room with all of these construction workers learning about loads and weights and maths and trying to remember to swear every second word because it’s pretty much their language.

It all started when I quit the smokes. I took up exercise to deal with the withdrawal and the loss of stress coping mechanisms that quitting the smokes produced. Exercise made me want to learn handstands, handstands took me to circus, circus took me to flying trapeze, flying trapeze took me to buying one because we didn’t have one in South Australia and buying one took me to running a flying trapeze business to pay for the darn creature and that took me to dogging and rigging.

So here I am in my school holidays with my steel capped boots in a room full of blokes learning about stuff that I had almost no prior knowledge of. The learning curve was astronomical. The thing was though everybody in the training facility were so nice to Nick, our trapeze’s head trainer and me and I mean everybody.

Nobody treated us like who the hell are you and why are you here. Their reaction was oh you run a flying trapeze how cool. I loved these guys. They swore all the time which is kind of relaxing you don’t feel like you’re bottling anything up, if you’re cross just cuss even when they weren’t cross they cussed.

I wore a hard hat and a high visibility vest which in the trade we call high vis. I seriously considered reinventing myself as TM, I quite fancy that. I drove a fork lift, directed a crane, drove a scissor lift, did stuff up, undid other stuff. I had such a good time. I relived all the fear of my high school maths experiences, I didn’t enjoy that bit but I wouldn’t have had any of these experiences without my beloved trapeze and boy has she tested me on my love this year.

So thank you CITC training your instructor was fabulous, a very funny and knowledgeable man and I am a huge fan of the all you can drink coffee facility.

On to other circussy news. I got to see the final performance of the Circobats Spaced Out show. I had seen the dress rehearsal before but wow the show was amazing. Music, lighting, timing, it was all just wow. There was an OSHC (Out of School Hours Care)group in the audience and those kids were entranced. I had missed seeing Persia the first time round and her performance today was phenomenal. Everyone involved should be proud of themselves it was such a cool show.

I’m going to finish this blog with a little dedication. My little cat Byron is not very well and I think he’s off to the rainbow bridge very soon. I want to say thank you for coming to live with me and I have adored you my little monkey man, say gidday to all of those who have gone before you.

Thank you for reading and I will catch you next week.




2016 Blog 5 Spaced Out is Out of this World



So that’s a yes to I’m doing a review of the Circobat show Spaced Out and that’s a yes to the fact that I’ll be milking this review for every planet, universe and space pun I can think of.

I was cheeky enough to ask if I could come and watch the Circobat final dress rehearsal before the show opens tomorrow. I’m currently doing two weeks of training and that means I can’t make it to see any of their actual performances this week. Nevertheless coming to the rehearsal meant that I saw a little of the enormous task that putting on a show like this entails. It is predominantly a young cast and it made me think that their director Alex Charman was amazingly patient and on point as it seemed like a million things had to be co-ordinated. She was assisted by Zoe Franklin Charman and Tazi Jeffries who kept peeling off to complete a job and then seamlessly reappearing each time to keep on rehearsing. It was amazing to watch the pre checks, how they manage the costume changes and from what side of the curtain do you come on stage and where do you leave by. I found all of that fascinating.

I was astounded by how that amount of young people in the Circobat troupe with all of the distractions of lights and costumes and props sat there and listened to their director before the start of the show. I have often said that how you talk to children is how they will talk back to you. Their director was respectful to them and they were respectful back. It was impressive and let’s be straight here – there was no space for error- yeah space you get that one? I didn’t even planet. Stop me please!

Ok so the show began and I had a great position for viewing. The atmosphere was electric! Hmmm? I have to be careful here as I go through each act as I don’t want to give away the exciting things that happen in the show but I do want to tell you how wonderful it all is and that you’d be crazy to miss it. Wish me luck as I apply the correct gravity to describing each act.

As I watched the first act I thought I’m going to need to consult a thesaurus otherwise I’m going to call everything exciting and that’s tough because everything was exciting.

The show starts with a silks act, the boys had cool tops and the girls had these beautiful glittery dresses. While I watched this act I thought I want to take up silks. Now anyone who knows me knows that I’m no friend to the fabric but this act made me go ooh and aah as they did stuff and I thought I want to do that. Never in my wildest dreams would I have thought that any act could make me want to do silks but there you are the first act did. The act was so clever in how everything was co-ordinated. Four silks, four performers and you don’t know where to look as they all do dazzling stuff. This probably means you should go and see the show a couple of times to make sure you don’t miss anything. Fortunately tickets won’t cost the Earth so you will be able to afford to go several of times. Yes that was a shameless plug, how on Earth did I get away with it.

Next was an acrobatic routine that changed the pace and the music. All of a sudden these boys were flying through the air and it was almost hard to keep up with everything they were doing. The act was slick and polished and I was out of puff at the finish. I think I must have been holding my breath during some of it.

Hoops were next and there were three girls in the act. I could see the two younger performers, who seriously were as cute as buttons, looking to the middle girl for guidance and it was lovely. It was like a display of co-operation to create this wonderful act. I loved this act. I should really see if Circobats are going to do a DVD of this show. I’d watch it again.

A change of pace and music and an exhilarating tumbling act followed hoops. I looked at these performers and I thought where are you going to be when you are adults.  Am I watching people that are going to be stars in the future, ooh I didn’t even mean that pun. I thought this act was almost Cirque Soleish. I know you probably think I’m exaggerating but it was like the act was inspired by Cirque. The performers had so much presence and confidence you could almost think that they were from outer space. I’d be careful Circobats if Cirque Solei haven’t done a space themed show they may get some ideas from your show. If nothing else you have to see this amazing back bend girl, oh my goodness, she is outstanding.

Another tick for this show was that each performer seemed to get an opportunity to have centre stage either for an act or a trick. It gave them the chance to showcase their talents and shine. I loved that.

Persia apparently is doing a hoop act. She wasn’t there while I was there but if it’s Persia you know that’s going to be good.

Duo Acrobatics was next, boy was that clever. First it’s spectacular what they do and then they do it co-ordinated with each other and it knocks your socks off. Very impressive.

Tazi Jeffries does a hat routine and we’re talking art now people. It was like her character had never seen a hat before so she explored it and played with it and then once she put the hat on her head the manipulation she did with that hat and then hats was phenomenal. Yowza!

Rolla Bolla was next, thrilling breath taking stuff all accompanied by music that suits the act perfectly. Zoe had a chance to shine with rolla bolla. She has incredible stage presence and her rolla bolla performance is amazing.

A juggling, poi and tumbling sequence came next, you honestly didn’t know where to look there was so much going on but it was all choreographed so beautifully. This is a showcase for some extraordinary talent.

An all troupe tumbling act comes next. I can only describe this as mind blowing with all of these people doing all of these things in such a tiny area without crashing and without pausing. Yowza!

You’ve barely got your breath back and there’s a triple act in full swing, yes I meant that pun. This was gorgeous. You’d have to see it to appreciate it.

There was some all troupe acrobatics and I’m so sorry I don’t know the names of things but oh my goodness and wow. I know one was a wall and there was pyramids and towers and tiny little people walking on other people to get to the top of people made structures and your mind is just blown.

I actually think that the music and the pace of the show were like separate performers. Kudos to the music and kudos to the pace of the show. The music changes for each act and it draws you in and the pace kept changing. So you actually feel almost breathless in some acts and then in some others you take a breath and think oh this is a quiet bit.

I loved this show so much. I really salute everyone involved in it you should be so proud of yourselves. This show is a good way to demonstrate to people that there is more to fitness and fun than established competitive sport. Circus lets you dress up, it keeps you fit and it requires you to work together.

Spaced Out is running this Monday, Wednesday and Friday, morning sessions at 10.00 and afternoon sessions at 1.00. The show runs for approximately 45 minutes. It is astronomically good. Brighter than the sun, cooler than the moon there is no reason on Earth you would want to miss it. I predict a meteoric rise to fame for these performers.


2016 Blog 4 Improv!


The most amazing coincidences keep happening at Circobats. Now I am the most dyed in the wool hippy you’re ever going to meet so maybe these coincidences are nothing special to you but they are blowing my mind. They show me that whatever is going on at the moment I’m on the right track, I’m doing what the Universe wants me to do or maybe the Universe is happy to help me do what I want to do, I shall ponder that one on the next dog walk.

It started with the fact that I am a major bat fan, love bats of all shapes, sizes, kinds, you name it. Dracula – yes, vampires – yes, fruit bats ah ha. Little bitty tiny bats at twilight – yes please keep em coming. Bat Fink – complete legend my hero cannot get enough of Bat Fink. I’m looking for a trapeze class and Circobats have a giant upside down bat on their wall and it’s their logo, mm I thought Universe are you sending me a message?

Then on one of my trips in to class I say to the Universe I want to learn a routine how can we make this happen? I get to class, Tazi is taking the class, she says hey girls I want to teach you a routine. The very day I put the request out to the Universe. Unbloodybelievable.

Now it’s happened again. I’m on my way to class I say to the Universe, Universe I would like to learn drops and stagger me if Alex doesn’t give us a lesson today on drops. It’s freaky I tell you.

Anyhoo before I begin talking about the drops Circobats are doing a show in the school holidays so if you’re going to be in Adelaide in the second week of the school holidays I would recommend you give it a look, it’s called Spaced Out and you can get tickets through the Circobats web site. We’re also going to get the opportunity to see Alex and Persia’s show in Adelaide during November so stay tuned for news on that one.

I normally play Hit Ball on Saturday mornings before trapeze class and today it was cancelled. I decided well I’ve got all of this time I’m going to go for a run and walk the dogs and on the way home from walking the dogs I gave sanctuary to an evacuating race horse and his three carers, (we have floods in Adelaide right now). This was all fine and good but it meant that by the time I arrived for my trapeze class I was pooped and the class hadn’t even started. I decided that I would soldier on because I had already missed my Friday training because of these pesky floods.

We started with some strength work and while we were doing this Chantelle was doing crazy dancing and I said I was a fan of interpretive dance, I mean who isn’t? Chantelle mentioned how nice it was that some of my kids were willing to get up and make up a dance (I’m a school teacher and I had posted on facebook about a cool dance two students made up for Grace’s version of You Don’t Own Me) and she said she had students who hated improv and that was so sad. Improv was a chance to do what you wanted to do. Now file that conversation away for a moment because I’m pretty sure Alex wasn’t with us when Chantelle said it.

So Alex produced these cards which are very cool and show trapeze tricks and I looked at the ones she was looking at and I thought no Alex we’ve done them what are you looking at them for? Fortunately I have learned to hush up and listen up before I put my foot in my mouth which used to be and still is one of my best tricks. Alex says today I’m going to show you drops. Drops I thought, did I hear drops? I’m pretty sure I heard drops.

Alex ups and shows us a trick that she says is the first step to a drop but it’s a little ‘catchy’. Oh Chantelle and I chuckled at that one, ‘catchy’ in Alex speak means it’s probably excruciating, but she had me at drop. I did the move, it hurt like hell, I didn’t care we were doing drops. This move, I’ve totally forgotten what is was called, looks very cool so when we get the next bit I think it’s going to be quite specky.

Then we did a drop from Birds Nest and that was just lovely. You keep your hands on the bar so it’s just a soft drop but it still looks cool. We did drop to Mermaid and I was rubbish at that one, just need some practice I guess.

Have you ever wanted your trainer to get the hell off the bar because you wanted a shot? That’s how the drop to Birds Nest felt. Alex demonstrated it and I thought yep that’s for me I’ll have a little of that please.  One of my legs kept falling off during the drop to Mermaid and Alex said it’s cool turn it into drop to Angel and I thought Static Trapeze is AWESOME.

I could have done drops forever but we finally stopped and looked at transitioning from Rain Drop to Bat Split. That led us into a conversation about transitioning and putting moves together and how we should be looking at how to do that and then colour me freaked and cue the freaky music , Alex says it’s time to do some improv. Unbelievable!

So putting that freakiness to one side she says come up with at least five moves and put them together, on the spot people! (that was my words not hers). We were now totally out of my comfort zone. Chantelle leapt to it and I thought about my options, I could freak out and say I DON”T DO IMPROV!!!!! I could fake a stomach ache or I could do it. The clock ticked, I gave weight to each option, I thought about Mark Twain sailing away from his safe harbour. I thought about Chantelle and her saying how sad that some of her girls don’t like improv. I also thought about ‘move away from the person you are to become the person you want to be”. So I thought sod it, give it a burl. Alex and Chantelle have created a learning environment where you are willing to give things a go. If it doesn’t work the world won’t stop turning and I wanted to be Improv girl, I’ve never been Improv girl.

So today I improvved. I just put some moves together. Alex read them out to me as I did them, she tweaked the sequence and it was done. This means I am on the way to creating my own routine, whoa! That would be beyond cool.

It’s a great class have I mentioned that?

Thank you Alex and thank you Chantelle for magical Saturday afternoons.