Last weekend, Tom and I found ourselves trotting through the crooked back-streets of Smithfield, heading towards the night circus.
Smithfield is steeped in history, so is a highly charged setting for any performance. It’s mostly known for its centuries-old market these days, but it used to be a popular site for executions, including that of William Wallace in 1305. It was also largely untouched by the 1666 fire of London, so has retained a sense of its past more than most areas of London. Ghosts brush past you as you wander through it, and you find yourself listening out for their footsteps.
Tom and I had tickets for ‘How Like an Angel‘, a collaboration between the UK based vocal ensemble, I Fagiolini, and the contemporary Australian circus troop Circa. They have been performing at cathedrals around the UK culminating in this, their final run, at The Priory Church of St Bartholomew the Great. The church was founded in 1123 as an Augustinian priory, and though what remains is merely the chancel of a much larger monastic church, it still possesses the most significant Norman interior in London (and was used in Shakespeare in Love as the church where Shakespeare begs for forgiveness, incidentally).
Awesome, what an experience that must have been!
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During the month of May the circus tent in Belgrade will be a place where a lot of shows, organized visits from local schools and workshops will happen, all in hope of educating people about circus arts.
I could only take the time off to participate in workshops taking place from 6th to 9th of May. We could choose 2 from 6 different disciplines of which we had an introductory class on the first day. On the table were slacklining/tightrope walking, trapeze, acrobalance/handstand workshop, hula hooping, clown technique and juggling. I wanted to do something that was totally out of my comfort zone so I choose clown technique and the handstand workshop.
We learned the difference between a circus and a theater clown, that a clown is a sincere being and never lies, never says ‘no’ to any question, isn’t ever mean and most importantly never dies on stage. We went through a couple of exercises, one of them was called “Make me laugh”. Well, this one wasn’t easy at all. Being put on a spot with only yourself and no props,with a very specific aim to make your colleagues laugh isn’t easy. I certainly have a new found respect for clowns.
I got some great coaching on doing the handstand and different variations of it from the master. Philippe is from France, and speaks very little English but he was more than capable of explaining everything we needed to know through a series of sound effects and through mimicking our errors and correcting them. I loved his class although it left me every time feeling dizzy from all the blood going to my head and broken from all the pain going to my shoulders.
Great pictures, and yea, clowns do tend to get a bad rap!
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One of the first days I was living in Córdoba, I was wandering around, as I usually like to do when I am in a new city and stumbled upon Plaza de la Intendencia (which I would go to many more times for the language group English and Mate that I became a part of). I was sitting there for awhile, people watching (which I also love to do) when a large group of people dressed up in all sorts of costumes started filling into the Plaza.
It ended up being a free circus!!
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