2016 Blog 12 A Clever Trapeze Class

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I read a book once about the art of trapeze and the author said trapeze is designed to be beautiful. Don’t just huff and puff your way through the tricks, every move every look every gesture is supposed to beautiful, graceful and strong. That is one of the things that I love about trapeze. It is a chance to learn how to do something with grace. I’ve been trying for graceful since I was six and doing ballet class but I’ve never thought graceful could be taught I always thought you either had it or you didn’t. I have discovered though that learning circus skills opens up whole new worlds.

Head up look at your audience. What are your hands doing? Are your legs straight? What expression do you have on your face? It’s not a stressful thing running through these elements it’s more like a mental check list. It’s part of the process and I love it. When I first learned to juggle Alessandro the trainer said stand up straight, look forward, shoulders relaxed, be gorgeous. I had laughed when he first said this but why not, why can’t gorgeous be an attitude rather than a physical attribute? It’s worth a thought. When Alex reminded me during class to look up at the audience she took me right back to that first juggling lesson. So if you are a person who does not like to make eye contact, who does not have good posture or is continually tense, this is a way to develop the habit of stand tall and easy and now I almost never have to be reminded to do it.

The clever part of today’s title was a new trick Alex showed us. She showed us a way to go from Back Star to Gazelle and it was so simple but looked so good and we had got there because she had built up the moves over the weeks. You start in Back Star a little closer to one side rather than just in the middle. Then you bend one leg and twist and voila you are in Gazelle and after a bit of practice we didn’t need our hands to help so it looked really cool to be hanging in Back Star with your hands down and then you just move your leg and twist and suddenly, smoothly, apparently effortlessly you are in Gazelle. I thought it was really clever and I thought it was beautiful. Every time I think are we getting to the point of knowing most of the moves Alex pulls another trick out of her hat. She’s a magician!

Chantelle and I did a run through of our routine and I had asked Alex to video it so I had a record of where I was at in trapeze at this point in time. I think it must have been close to the end when I hit the bar with my heel. Chantelle said she heard it and I love her because she kept going. It’s the dancer in her I think, if you’re performing you keep going. Alex was videoing us and asked if I was ok and I nodded and I kept going. Now I can tell you it hurt like a Mother but I really really wanted our routine on video unbroken so I thought I don’t care if I can’t feel my foot I’m finishing the bloody routine. I finished I smiled at the end and then as soon as I was off the mat I allowed myself to feel the equisite pain that was radiating up from my foot. Now I describe this because; 1) I was so impressed that Chantelle kept going she could have buggered up the video by stopping and I wouldn’t have blamed her but she didn’t. 2) Alex either saw it or heard it and asked if I was ok and I liked that. Alex doesn’t say harden up keep going she asks if you are ok it’s a really nice trait she has.3) I had further proof that if I want something nothing gets in my way, I did not care that I couldn’t feel my foot I wanted a complete video and by cripes that’s what I got. It was a reminder of my nature and I like this about myself.

I know (‘ve said this before but I have worked with difficult people in the past and so I am grateful when I have good people to work with. Chantelle is flat out funny she is a hoot to work with. She has this bird call she does just when she feels like it and I love it. Alex is tricky with what she slips into the lesson and she’s funny too. Universe thank you for bringing me to the Circobats crew you did me a very good turn there. These Saturday afternoons are magical. It doesn’t matter if someone is sick or has an injury or if everyone is full of beans and ready to take on Everest, it’s a lovely, funny, kind class and I love it.

 

 

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2016 Blog 11 What is the Purpose of Art? (Please be aware that some difficult potentially triggering subjects are raised)

mortalsins

2016 Blog 11 What is the Purpose of Art?

I was so enthralled by the Circobats Mortal Sins show that I went to both sessions. The first session raised all of these questions in me and I was hoping to get some answers from the second session. I’m still considering the answers a day later.

So far my circus experience has been, look at the beautiful outfits, see the physical mastery, listen to the wonderful music and be entertained. The Mortal Sins show took that experience to a much deeper level and I finally realised that dance and music are mediums that are as powerful as words to convey emotion. Actually to convey emotion and to evoke emotion because I and several audience members were actively moved by two of the acts in this performance.

Two acts in the first part of the show were so affecting and they lost none of their power when I saw them for the second time. It made me wonder; Is this how art started? Did a cavemen or woman experience overwhelming joy or despair and want to be able to communicate it with the others in his group. Does art allow you to get these feelings out of your system before you are consumed by them. Does it enable you to communicate with others how you are feeling through dance, music, painting, writing or sculpture? Somebody once said to me that I was too sensitive and I thought at the time that he was too insensitive. I know that despite the pitfalls of being overly sensitive I would not want to become a person whose feelings were calloused over and were not able to appreciate what I saw Friday and Saturday.

The first piece concerned grief and it made me ask so many questions. Is this piece a mechanism for making sense of what happened? Is it a way to honour those who have gone or is it a way to simply get overwhelming emotions out of your body in a constructive way rather than the destructive use of self harm or drugs. Is it a way to communicate with others that your world has changed and this is what it looks like now. It was an amazing piece of work and I will never forget it.

Zoe then showed us her year 12 submission and that was another powerful performance. I put an interpretation on it from my own experiences and then I asked Zoe later what the piece was about. My interpretation was different to Zoe’s intention and so arose more questions. Is art a direct communication between the artist and the public or does art stand alone? Does art have a life of it’s own and the ability to teach you what you need to be taught. Regardless of the answers the piece was so strong and moving. What a night hey?

Ok that’s enough of the deep stuff let me tell you about the rest of the show. The Mortal Sins show had two segments. I would like to say it was a two act piece but then there were acts within those two acts and it’s just going to get too confusing.

So the first part of the show had those two amazing pieces that I have spoken about already. We also saw some wonderful displays of acrobatics and juggling. A Circobat called Tara did the MC job for both nights and it occurred to me that her role was pivotal throughout the sessions.

To start with Tara was who we saw first, so she was our introduction to the show. It was like she opened the door to the show and said; “Come in, sit down and here we go”. Her manner and the way she was dressed was reassuring, like here you are, you are about to be experience something and I’ll be guiding you through the process. So an act would come on and you would be absorbed by that act and forget about reality and then the act was over and Tara was back and you would blink and then oh yes this is where I am and then on to the next performance. Now if you really got into an act, it was incredibly nice to have someone bring you back to reality and get you ready for the next performance. I don’t know if that was her intention but that was the effect she had on me. She kept things rolling and gave you the feeling that everything was running as it should. That girl is going to go places if she has a mind to.

They put little jokes throughout the performance. So for Tazi’s wonderful hat act you didn’t just have someone walk on stage and plonk the hat down you had a whole funny little tiny routine to go with it. I really enjoyed those little acts sprinkled throughout the evening.

The acrobatic act was ridiculously good. My goodness you did not know where to look. There were performers everywhere then they grouped themselves together and made human sculptures then they moved apart and made one big balancing thingy then they split up again and made little balancing thingies and I thought nobody is talking to each other but everyone in the act knows what pose is next, where your feet go, where your hands go and Voila! It was magical and joyous.

Tazi did her hat manipulation routine from Spaced Out and that is such a lovely happy quirky piece. She should be really proud of that act. Ryan did a juggling act on his own which was amazing. The way he got the rings to change colour was so cool. I’ve been following his work for a few years now and I’ve just seen him improve and improve. The blonde girl doing the juggling did a great job and was quite dazzling.

So now onto the second act which was The Mortal Sins show itself and yowza what a show. This was a clever show in so many ways. Take one couple, Alex and Sam, with maybe a few cracks in the relationship. Introduce a hoola hooping femme fatale played by Persia and all hell breaks loose. It’s a competition to win the heart of the man and it’s take no prisoners. Oh and you roll through a list of mortal sins as you go.

You could almost forgive Sam for being tempted with the hoola hooping scene, it was mesmerising. However Alex fought back with a trapeze routine that was not to be ignored. Her facial expression and her body language left you in no doubt what she thought of the hoola hooping intrusion. I kept thinking but that’s my Alex, funny, patient, lovely Alex. The look her character was giving Persia would have sent me scurrying away. I had to keep telling myself it’s acting Trish just acting. Words are my art form so I am fascinated that all three players exactly conveyed their emotions and intentions without a word being spoken. As an aside the way Alex made her trapeze appear and disappear at the end was genius. It was like she whistled for her horse and it appeared and then it left again when she was done with it. This is an example of all of these tiny little things that just made the show brilliant. Then Alex commenced to walk all over Persia in an acrobatic showdown that was amazing. Sam then comes in and shows how he’s been manipulating hearts all along and then proceeds to hypnotise the audience with his illuminated poi routine. Alex and Persia return with some music that will knock your socks off, honestly the music was another character of the show. Alex and Persia then biff it out on separate silks. Sam watches Persia at the start but he’s watching Alex at the end.

I cannot believe how talented these people are. They could be actors if they wanted to and I’ve barely mentioned the physical mastery they showed in the performance. My goodness I enjoyed this. If they do a DVD I would love a copy and Circobats need to think about having a You Tube channel. seriously guys think about this.

I am incredibly grateful for meeting the Circobats people. They are talented in their performances and they are kind by the way they are willing to share their skills in the classes they offer. I am dazzled by their performances. Well done Circobats you are awesome.

2016 Blog 10 Training is a Privilege

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Have you ever thought about the idea that training is a privilege? Any day, any moment or any second, things could happen and your training could be taken away. You could get injured, your trainer could get injured, you could have to go to hospital, your training venue could get shut down, maybe you have to move or your job changes. People with children, in my experience mostly women, have trouble getting to training because of the difficulty with finding someone to mind the kids.

Some people’s jobs get in the way, some people don’t have jobs and can’t afford the training. Some people have a physical or mental impairment that make training a very different proposition as compared to a person without those impairments. Some people don’t have transport or don’t have a class that interests them available to them.

My point is, that when I have training I move Heaven and Earth to get there. Sometimes I’m tired or grumpy or achy but I always think you don’t know how long this will last you need to make the most of every session. I just wanted to share that.

Another thought that occurred to me today was that why does an interesting training session finish in a nanosecond when I have been in other dull sessions that drag on forever!!!! Doesn’t seem fair somehow.

Doctor Who may as well have come and visited and stuffed around with the time lines today because I would have sworn on bibles that our lesson lasted for five minutes but I looked at the clock at the finish and poor Alex had gone fifteen minutes over .

It was such a great lesson today. I felt so strong. I stuffed up a move. I was trying to do a backward roll and I missed the bar, Alex said go back the other way and I didn’t even panic I knew I had enough strength to hold my own weight and just go back the other way and that my friends is one of the sweetest feelings in the world. To be able to hold your own weight and feel comfortable in it is cool, very very cool.

Chantelle did a move that we’re calling the Python. I really wished I had got it on video but I was so horrified by what she was doing that I couldn’t even move to help her. It was like she did it in slow motion. She did a drop and then kept going but slowly. So her legs were around the rope and then she released her arm and then her legs and kind of curled up on top of the mat below. It was amazing to watch. The freaky thing was that as she did it I was asking Alex what’s the escape clause in this move if you don’t catch your legs and she was saying as Chantelle was doing her Python no you’ll be fine because you’re hanging on with one arm.  It is very fortunate that Chantelle is as bendy as she is.

After witnessing the Python I went right off that particular move and then found any drops hard after that too. Chantelle got right back up and did it again so that was enough for me to suck it up and go otherwise I would have been regretting it on the drive home.

We did our routine on the triple trapeze and that was a lot of fun. Every now and again depending on the move Chantelle and I would meet on the trapeze and the first couple of times it scared the hell out of me. Normally when I do the routine I’m thinking about it so hard I forget everything else. So there I was concentrating hard on some move and then Chantelle’s face looms towards me as she does the same move on the other side of the trapeze. I nearly fell off my perch the first couple of times. It’s fun though doing the routine on the triple as opposed to two singles side by side.

In other news Circobats are having a fundraiser for their next fringe show. They will be doing their Mortal Sins Act and there will be a couple of other supporting acts. The tickets are ten dollars and that’s very cheap entertainment to see some extremely talented people. There are two sessions for this performance this Friday Night at 7.30 and Saturday at 5.30. You can get the details from their website or Facebook page and they also have raffle tickets with some speccy prizes.

Thank you for reading and I’ll catch you in the next blog.