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A Field Guide to Circus Performers

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Nov. 10th, 2007 | 03:03 am

Contortionists:  Bone thin, bad skin, biceps and triceps like ropes. Ugly feet.  Always work alone.

Aerialists: Funky tights with funky shorts, funky tops and funky hair. Comfortable with their bodies. Older. Louder.

Coaches: Mostly Chinese. All Communist trained. They don't laugh or smile much unless you really screw up. Know enough English to say "Tight!" "Hold!' "Stronger arm!" and "No no do again!"

Chinese Pole/Acrobats: All the boys in your field of vision. Sleeveless shirts. Messy hair. Mostly straight, but look gay due to abundance of well-formed muscles, lots of bare skin, and general prettiness.

The People From Cirque: Speaking Russian. Not making eye contact with anyone outside their group. Leave promptly at 1.

San Francisco is great. The Circus Center is cold, but great. Our Coach Lu Yi is great. Trading new tricks with other aerialists is great. And having the Cirque people nudge, whisper, and point at mostly Kim but also Zay and I? Well, that's the best of all :)

Nothing says hard work like a stroke to the ego...

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Comments {3}

Purveyor of Madness and Joy

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from: littlehoudini
date: Nov. 10th, 2007 03:33 pm (UTC)
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Cool that you're having fun and being stroked.

Being a magician means mostly be a solo performer, and magicians are by nature fairly secretive (which can be sometimes read as 'cut-throat') - one of the things I often miss and hence love about doing festivals is hanging out with other performers. I don't get enough of that.

I thought contortionists worked in pairs and trios as well.

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whipchick

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from: whipchick
date: Nov. 12th, 2007 07:18 am (UTC)
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Yeah, it's nice just to be in a gym with other people, though a lot of them are in a training vortex where they are working at a high level of skill but still waiting for permission to become performers - permission that will never come, because you have to give it to yourself.

The contortionists perform in groups, but here in the gym they are mostly sullen and alone. We think they're probably cranky from anorexia...sounds catty but also sadly true.

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Purveyor of Madness and Joy

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from: littlehoudini
date: Nov. 12th, 2007 02:14 pm (UTC)
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All physical performers, from card flickers to full acrobats, require a certain amount of physical training. I believe that many of the skills, once acquired, can be allowed to 'lapse' a little - that is, you can coast on the base training, and just 'touch up' your skills every so often.

But contortionists, yah... it always looks like something you have to give your life to. But it looks so damn creepy and cool.

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