Hello lovely Bold Soul,
Today we have a wonderful visitor… Please enjoy this visit to the circus with my friend, Kate Lawrence, fabulous Circus Performer and Extremely Knowledgeable Teacher (I learn a lot from Kate during aerial yoga classes). Love Meg x o
1 You have many circus, performance and physical skills – general circus, aerial, burlesque, yoga, pilates … What do you love about them, and how do they all fit together for you?
I find that disciplines such as yoga and Pilates are an absolutely essential part of my training as a physical performer. If I don’t spend time on these, I soon find that I get a lot more injuries and more general pain in my body, especially as I get older. Without these exercises, I would soon fall apart and there would be nothing to put on stage.
I love performing, and the reward that you get from that is entirely external, i.e. the applause from the audience when you do something amazing. It’s almost narcissistic in its nature; you’re putting yourself on stage and asking a room full of strangers to adore you. As opposed to this, training my acts gives me an opportunity to reflect inwardly, especially during my yoga practice, a discipline that traditionally has a spiritual element associated with it. This self-reflection allows me to do a stock take on my body, what is sore or creaky, what might need more warming up, am I feeling particularly flexible or strong today etc.
As for all the different apparatus and styles I practice, I get something different out of each one. Manipulation routines challenge my mental discipline to practice, aerial acts are my favorite as they challenge my physical endurance and I love the feeling of pushing and overcoming my limits in this way, and burlesque gives me an opportunity to be creative and show a bit of my personality onstage.
2 How has circus as a calling evolved from your youth into adult life?
When I was a teenager, all I wanted to do was join Cirque du Soleil. As an adult, I’m a lot more cynical of that particular company, I tend to look for jobs in smaller companies or traditional family run shows where I can have control over what I present in my acts in terms of content and presentation. Even most corporate shows are happy to let me make my own creative decisions.
3 Have you had any injuries that have impacted your circus life?
Of course! Ask any circus performer, especially on long tours, injuries and working around them are part of daily life. Sore muscles, minor sprains and strains, bruises, blisters and tears of the skin on the hands are commonplace. One learns to modify their act in order not to aggravate them. In terms of serious injuries, I’ve and a few broken bones that have meant I have had to alter and eventually give up certain disciplines altogether, but the beauty of circus is the variety of disciplines available to learn, so there’s always somewhere to direct my energy.
4 I want to hear – and maybe see pics – of any fabulous costumes you’ve worn or seen. Will you share a couple of your favourites?
Most of my costumes have been custom made for me, some I have made myself, and I have found a surprising number of them in Op shops. (Meg: I’ve interwoven the pics from Kate through this interview. US readers: Op shops = Thrift shops).
5 I enjoy reading your blog. Your writing sounds exactly like you talking – what a wonderful skill! I also love that you’re not afraid to have a strong opinion. Do you enjoy writing? Having an opinion? Discuss.
I have actually loved writing the articles for my blog – which surprised me, I never thought of myself as a writer before. I guess it’s a good way to express a lot of frustration that I have towards the issues that I write about, whether they be about safety, training and performing etiquette or anything else circus-related. I don’t necessarily start writing with the intention of presenting a strong opinion, but because of my experiences on and off stage with a vast spectrum of different styles of circus and performance in general, I hold views that may appear opinionated, even controversial to someone without those experiences. However to me, they are the obvious standpoint to take.