NY Circus Arts – Did the Circus Leave Town?

I’m not sure what happened to the NY Academy of Circus. It seems to have become Circus Warehouse. I’m curious as to what’s happened as I was quite impressed with what I saw back in February. I know one of the teachers at the old NYAC and one at the new Circus Warehouse so I’m gonna try to find out.

NY may have lost its Academy but at least it hasn’t lost circus. With Circus Warehouse, Streb and the Trapeze School New York circus isn’t going anywhere just yet.

***UPDATE***

NY Academy of Circus has become Circus Warehouse. I don’t know the whole story but apparently it has something to do with NYAC not being run very efficiently/practically/properly/professionally, and it has been taken over by two ladies who are said to be doing a great job of it.

More news as it reaches my wiggling ears…

Thinking About The Future

Living in a swamp

I’ve not been here in a while. I’ve been busy. It’s not that I haven’t thought about writing a post, or haven’t had stuff to write about, it’s simply that I’ve been SO MASSIVELY BUSY it was unreal.

I’ve had a good friend visit from abroad – twice! Petra was an old flame many years ago and she flew through London on her way to South Africa from

Vancouver and then again on her way back.

I’ve also started training for a 4-day cycle/hike at the end of May. I’m raising money for Norwood, who support people with learning disabilities and their families, particularly in the Jewish community. I have  a disabled aunt so Norwood are one of the charities that would support her.

Anyway, what with being so busy, I’ve kind of let myself slide. My flat has suffered. I’ve not cleaned or tidied in quite a while, and have been tolerating living in a morass. Living in a morass is easy – you just have to get used to the smell.

But having an environment like that kills your vitality. It literally makes you more tired.

This week I’ve had most of the week off so yesterday and today I’ve been cleaning, clearing, tidying and organising. It’s not perfect but it’s a damn good start, and it’s enough that I can start to think more clearly, accomplish more, and have the energy and vitality to keep going.

One of the things I wanted to accomplish this week (apart from writing a blog post) was to continue creating my future – where am I going? what am I doing? where do I want to be? This is something that is never far from my mind; even more so in the last few months since turning 30.

Just after turning 30 I visited NY for a family reunion. While I was there a few things happened. My cousin was in the final stages of opening the Alpine Arts Centre, I visited the new circus school in NY (see my earlier post here), a fairly new circus school in Philadelphia and then went to see Ringling Bros Barnum & Bailey.

I really liked the Philadelphia School of Circus Arts and I really liked seeing what my cousin was doing with her new arts centre.

“Ballet is ballet, gymnastics is gymnastics, acting is acting, but circus has everything”

In the UK there are two major circus schools: Circus Space in London, and Circomedia in Bristol. There are any number of smaller circus training centres or spaces, such as the Hangar Arts Trust, or circus schools, such as Wookey Hole Circus, and circus clubs.

Circus is on the up. It has been for a number of years, with the growth and popularity of Cirque du Soleil, with circus being a regular staple in theatre, opera and dance, as well as becoming billed in its own right for entire seasons such as the Circusfest at the Roundhouse in London. As a sector circus is growing and every year it gains credibility in the public eye as an art form. Whereas once circus was the poor bastard cousin of dance, theatre or gymnastics, now it is seen as an art, a skill, and a talent in it’s own right.

If circus is going to keep growing every year it will need a huge base audience in the same way that dance or gymnastics has. Any child anywhere in the country can find a dance school nearby. The young and talented students progress and move on to the larger dance colleges, and then on to the national school(s), which produce some of the best dancers in the world.

Both France and Canada have this kind of infrastructure. France has hundreds of circus clubs, dozens of small schools, a small handful of professional training schools and then the Centre National des Arts du Cirque. It’s no wonder that France and Canada are the number one for circus.

But the UK isn’t there… yet. We will get there, it’s really only a matter of time. After all, circus started here in England!

If that’s the future of circus in this country where do I want to be in it? I know I don’t want to perform anymore. Some people live for performing. I always think of my old friend Aaron Walker when I think of people like that. I can take it or leave it. But I do love to teach.

So if I love to teach, and the UK needs circus schools, isn’t the thing to be doing starting a circus school? It probably is but there’s something stopping me. I can’t see what it is yet but it’s there, like a splinter in my mind.

I guess I need to keep on tidying.

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If you want, you can follow me on twitter @CircusBoy1

If you’re nice, you can support me on my Norwood cycle/hike via JustGiving here.

And if you want to know who said “Ballet is ballet, gymnastics is gymnastics, acting is acting, but circus has everything” it was former Soviet circus acrobat Evgueni Baranok.

The Gig of The Decade

I’m sitting on the train heading into Penn Station in NY to meet my Uncle Robert.

Robert is giving me my 30th birthday present tonight. He’s taking me to Madison Square Garden to see Eric Clapton and Jeff Beck, one of six gigs around the world (London, USA, Canada) that are being billed as the gig of the decade.

Personally I think it’s a little early in the decade to be making such claims but still…

Now, I’m not massive fan of either Clapton or Beck (truth be told, I hardly know anything of Beck’s) but I like what I know – and I like enough to have some Clapton on my iPhone (which I’m currently listening to) – and I know that this is a gig I shouldn’t miss. There are just some artists that you should see no matter what.

Bob Dylan I’ve seen twice, Michael Jackson, well, I missed the boat on that one.

But not tonight. Tonight I get to see two musical greats.

And celebrate my 30th Birthday with my uncle.

A Small Post-Gig Update

I can now tick two musical greats off my list. But that’s not all. I can now say that I am, in fact, a fan of Jeff Beck. He can REALLY play a guitar! I’m no music critic, or aficionado, so I won’t attempt to write a review of the gig from a musical perspective. What I can tell you is that it was great. Beck’s 45-min set was purely instrumental and included a thoroughly enjoyable cover of the Beatles’ A Day In The Life.

Clapton’s set was half acoustic, casually sitting in a chair centre stage, and half electric. I wish I was a bigger fan as there were not many songs that I knew. No Layla, no Tears In Heaven. He did play Cocaine and Bob Marley’s I Shot The Sheriff which was beautiful.

After Clapton’s set Beck returned to the stage to play a joint set with Clapton, and made Clapton look like an amateur guitarist playing around a campfire. But what a show! Maybe it really will be the Gig of The Decade.