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.

 

 

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

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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 4 Improv!

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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.

2016 Blog 3 We’re gettin’ a Triple!

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There was a lot happening in our little world of static trapeze today. Firstly Chantelle brought in some swatches for fabric for our outfits for the Christmas show and my goodness the pattern we have picked is to die for. Think velvet and the galaxy and there’s sparkle in there too. Gorgeous simply gorgeous. Thank you Chantelle’s mum for making our costumes.

We had Tazi teaching us today because Alex is off being wonderful interstate with Persia. They are doing a show called Mortal Sins if you are reading this and you live in Melbourne I would recommend getting down to see it. I watched them practice and like – Wow!

Tazi is an incredibly kind and patient person and she gave us a wonderful lesson today. It was pretty much a clean up of what you know. How can you make your tricks and your routine nicer, cleaner , where are the tweaks. I got so much out of the session and I took heaps of notes so I didn’t forget by the time I got home. Chantelle and I got to watch each other perform and watching Chantelle was an eye opener. The smallest moves are beautiful when done correctly. Watching her just going up to the ropes from a knee hang she made it look so graceful and elegant.

We did some tissu stuff. Chantelle treats it like fun, I treat it like I’m tackling a boa constrictor. How did this art form ever take off? I do want Chantelle to show me how to get down like a Bond girl though I do fancy that.

Now the big news. The bigger than Ben Hur news. The biggest bestest most fabulous news is that Circobats are moving their triple trapeze from Scotch College to Sir Donald Bradman Drive which is where we train now. To say I’m a little excited would be an understatement. OMG!!!!!!! The things we will be able to do on that baby. I have already googled triple trapeze images and I have plans for the next year of classes and I’m thinking Christmas Show!!!!!! Could we do something for that! Goodness I’m doing a lot of breathing exercises to stay calm and cool but I have to say this news has made Trishy a very happy camper.

Thank you Chantelle and thank you Tazi for making my Saturday afternoon fantastic.