Circus: One Simple Question

The very nature of circus is one simple question: “Would it be possible for me to [insert trick here]?” From this one question comes every skill and every trick. Every time you master a trick you get to ask the question again. For example:

“Would it be possible for me to stand on my hands?”

“Would it be possible for me to stand on one hand?”

“Would it be possible for me to stand on one hand, on your head?”

“Would it be possible for me to stand on one hand, on your head, with you standing on a rola bola?”

Because, for a circus artist, being able to do one trick in the pub isn’t enough. Circus artists keep on pushing themselves into the next trick, the next skill, constantly making it higher, harder and more exciting.

*Thanks to my student, Michaela, for sharing this video with me



Original Circus

This evening something interesting happened. Something that hasn’t happened in many years in fact. Someone asked me some original questions about what I do.

Usually I get the standard few questions:

  • What circus skills do you do?
  • How did you get into circus?
  • Are you a clown?
  • Do  you have to be flexible?

I get pretty bored answering those questions. But I can’t not answer them; that would be rude. So I have to recreate the questions as if it was the first time I’d ever heard them, and answer them as if I’d never answered them before. But it’s tiring. Sometimes I just think I should make something else up. I long for someone to ask me original circus questions.

And tonight they did.

In fact, not only did they ask me three original circus questions, but they didn’t ask me any of the standard fare. The questions they asked me were:

  1. If I were a trapeze artist, what three qualities should I look for in a catcher to be sure that they won’t drop me?
  2. If I were a trapeze artist, what age would I peak?
  3. What do circus artists do to relax and unwind?

What original circus questions do you have?


Between blog posts you can hear what I’m saying on twitter if you like.

In case you were wondering, the three qualities I said I’d look for in a catcher were 1) strength 2) being present 3) trustworthy.