So... I started taking circus classes in aerial dance and contortion technique at a circus school located near my apartment. How exactly did I get into this, you ask? Well. That's kind of a long story.
Basically, I've been going on a lot of musical theatre auditions lately in the past few months, and I've been starting to feel more and more discouraged. When I was still attending college at Ohio State, I would find out about auditions being held in NYC, Chicago, or Washington D.C., and would find any way possible to travel there and spend a lot of time and money traveling to take my shot at being seen and to shoot for my dreams of performing professionally. For NYC, my boyfriend and I would buy $50 one-way tickets on a sketchy bus that would leave downtown Columbus, OH late at night and arrive in NYC's Chinatown early the next morning. The driver would often drive like a MANIAC to get to NYC from OH within 7-8 hours. Crazy, right?! Anyways, I've taken the sketchy crazy bus to NYC twice to audition for shows, worked hard to save up money to take a plane to D.C., driven 8 hours to Chicago twice - Somehow I'd always make it to the second round after the cattle call open dance audition, and then get cut after a few rounds. I'm naturally a very competitive person, and so I would feel extremely down given an ounce of hope before being told no. I've tried out for Lion King twice, Aladdin twice, Universal Studios, etc. And of course when you get cut you're never give the reason as to why you weren't good enough or what they were looking for at the moment. It is THE most frustrating thing feeling unwanted and it started getting through my skin little by little. After moving to Illinois, I was still trying to learn about my new home, figure out where things are, and was debating on what I should do here audition-wise. Should I continue going to these musical theatre auditions and keep beating myself up after audition for being too short, too ethnic, not ethnic enough, too muscular, too energetic- you name it, I've beaten myself up over it.
One day, I was riding the train home feeling really down and uncertain about my next step in life... when I look up and see an advertisement above my head. "Learn How to Fly," it says. I immediately perked up. Was the poster talking to me?! It was an advertisement for a circus training school, and to my surprise, it was near where I lived. I signed up for classes immediately. Perhaps, if the world of musical theatre was rejecting me at this moment, the circus world might offer me more opportunities to use my strength, short height, excessive energy and gusto. The things about me that seemed to put me at a disadvantage at general dance and musical theatre auditions suddenly became my advantages in circus. Perhaps we all have to find where we belong instead of trying to change ourselves to try to fit into a certain mold. I'll never be tall, thin, or have a "commercial" look for musical theatre, but that's okay- I'll find where I belong. Growing up in Honolulu, I didn't have the chance to see the circus very often, due to the lack of circuses wanting to travel all the way to Hawaii for performances. I remember going to watch one circus troupe who came to the island and set up their tent in an open field next to a high school. I remember that being a very magical night- I watched the entire show with wide eyes and my mouth agape. I also remember being obsessed with the Mickey's Fun Songs Disney VHS, "Let's Go to The Circus!" which came out in 1994. I wore that VHS out watching it obsessively and imagining myself as the hand-to-hand little girl acrobat in the video wearing the beautiful shiny pink leotard. I've always wanted to take gymnastics as well, but was never allowed to- my mom was paranoid that it was too dangerous and I would break my neck.
Perhaps my decision to start venturing into the world of circus was inspired by my motivation to start a new chapter of life, and giving up the sh*t that weighs me down in order to fly (Toni Morrison). I think circus artists and acrobats are the most hard-working people in the world, and have the highest of respect for them. Despite constant failure and falls, they continue to work and push even harder for their goals to do the impossible- to make the impossible, POSSIBLE. As my circus training has only begun, I am determined to put in every fiber of my being to making something of myself and my life. Is it possible to become stronger, more flexible, and attain skills starting from the age of 23? Stay tuned...