In-Depth Post #6

Hi everyone!  Since my last post, I had my interview with Kimmie, and will post it below.  Besides the interview, I’ve continued to attend aerial conditioning and flexibility classes and have started to prepare for my final presentation!  The online classes I’ve been taking are a great help for me, as they allow me to exercise the same muscles that I use for aerial hoop, and some of the flexibility classes have focused on areas where my flexibility could’ve been improved such as my back and feet (I have naturally flat feet so it’s hard for me to point them).  The classes also require very little equipment, and the equipment that we do use (yoga blocks, yoga strap, etc) I already have at home.  The only problem that I encountered with the online classes was that I had to do them in my brother’s bedroom as my own bedroom is quite small and narrow (when we had to do a straddle split, for example, I couldn’t open my legs all the way).   

For In-Depth night on May 25th, I plan to present 3-5 of my progress videos to see how my skills have advanced over the past few months of my in-depth project, and also make a poster/presentation about circus and talk about taking circus lessons or pursuing a career in performing or teaching.   


Interview Q & A 

Why did you choose circus?  What’s your favourite circus apparatus? 

I wanted to find a fun activity to do that was fitness related, and I thought that circus was more creative, fun, and interesting than other forms of exercise class.  When I started out with circus, aerial hoop was my favourite apparatus, but presently my favourite apparatus would be either aerial silks or contortion.   

Do you prefer teaching or performing? 

I honestly love both!  With teaching circus classes, you’re more involved and it’s cool to share your knowledge with other people and watch their skills grow.  With performing, the fun is in the moment and the adrenaline rush that comes with sharing your talents in front of an audience.   

What are the best parts about a career in circus?   

The flexibility of a career in circus is the best part for me.  You could choose to be a performer, teacher, or both, and you can take your career into almost any direction you want to. Your career could focus more on the artistic, musical, performance aspects of circus, or you could take your career into a more athletic direction that focuses on training and teaching other people.   

What are the more challenging parts about a career in circus?   

The main challenge I encountered when I was starting out is that circus isn’t very mainstream.  While it is very cool to be part of something unique, it’s not very easy to find a job as there aren’t too many circus schools in the lower mainland and there aren’t really any official certifications you can get for circus like in similar sports like gymnastics.   

How do you usually go about teaching group lessons?   

When I’m teaching group lessons, I normally start up with a quick warmup and then conditioning since everyone is usually more able to do conditioning at the beginning of class.  After conditioning, I teach everyone a few new tricks and at the end of class we work on sequencing (routine-building). 

Did you have any prior volunteering or teaching experience before you started circus? 

I did a lot of horseback riding when I grew up, so I volunteered at the stables a lot.   

What is your advice for when someone isn’t getting a particular trick? What do you do to encourage a student that’s struggling to learn something?  

Practice, practice, practice!  The repetition is very good for your body to get it to understand the position required for a certain trick – you can’t just try to do the trick once and then give up because you didn’t get it right away!  However, it’s still important not to push yourself too hard if you’re tired and take breaks in between trying to learn those tricks.  Something else to try would be filming yourself doing the trick so you can see where you’re going wrong.  When a student is struggling, I remind them that circus isn’t easy, and then break the trick down into little steps so they won’t feel discouraged that they didn’t get the whole trick all in one go.  If flexibility or a lack of strength are preventing the student from getting the trick, I’ll take them aside and work on conditioning or stretching again for a while or allow them to have a break to regain some strength.   

What do you do when someone is scared of a certain trick or apparatus?   

I usually bring the apparatus lower to the ground for the student to practice until they’re comfortable with that height, then slowly raise the height as they grow more comfortable.  To let the student know that they’re safe, I spot them and be encouraging and supportive.   

How do you deal with stage fright when performing?  

When I just started performing, I was always very scared and nervous and would practice my routine repeatedly before the performance until I felt comfortable.  I would be so nervous that sometimes I wouldn’t even remember what happened during the performance!  Nowadays, I still practice a lot but work more on building stamina, so I won’t look exhausted while performing. 

When performing, can you create your own routine or do people create routines for you?   

Both!  When I can pick my routine, I think about the theme for the performance if there is one, then decide on my music and formulate my routine around that.  If my song is more fast-paced, I’ll usually involve a lot of spinning in my routine, and if it’s slower, I’ll use threading a bit more and make sure all the tricks I show transition together seamlessly.  I usually tend to pick tricks that I’m more comfortable with but are still impressive enough for an audience and avoid new tricks that I haven’t completely mastered yet.  I do enjoy the creativity that comes with choreographing my own routine, but it’s also nice to see what other people come up for me.   

What do you do if you mess up during a routine? 

The main idea is to stay calm.  If you couldn’t grab onto your apparatus at one point, for example, add an extra hand flourish to make it seem like you did that on purpose.  Try your best not to look shocked, and if you forget part of your routine, the best that you can do is to continue through the rest of your routine rather than try to start again from the top.   

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