“And that’s it.
And for some reason, that reality and knowing that it just changed everything. I don’t have any time to stay up all night worrying about what someone who doesn’t love me has to say about me.
And here was a slue of people I was devaluing.
My mortality is staring me in the face.”
I’ve been gone for awhile. No excuse really except that I haven’t really done anything worthy of updating you on. I’m at a loss tumblr, I’m at loss. Still trying to figure out navigating my passions and dreams….aren’t we all?
On the upside, I’m currently working on studying abroad in Florence, Italy. They have a program that specifically focuses on physical theatre! If finances work out I will be on my way by the end of January. Speaking of the end of January- I was cast in our school’s production of Chicago the musical for J-term (a three week class in January). I will be a member of the ensemble (imagine I said ensemble with a french accent).
I guess things are happening. Why do I feel like I’m at a stand still? I guess when I returned I was hoping to continue some of the things I’ve learned. Stilt walking and aerial arts specifically.
I’ve been journaling a lot but not taking any real action so here’s my list of things I want to do (with hopes that putting it out in to the universe/cyberworld) some people can hold me accountable to these things.
1. Hula Hoop Dance: practice daily and have fun with it. Create a hula hoop dance video once every two weeks to see my progress.
2. Stilt Walking: Don’t let this skill die! Look into buying or creating stilts and find a space to practice. Deadline: The week of my birthday October 24th :)
3. Stay active: I feel the most alive, whole, and authentically myself when I am moving my body. Keep active and moving with conditioning, acrobatics, rock climbing, swimming, NIA, drum circle and simply dancing. (ties into hoop dancing goal)
4. Aerial Arts: Follow up with person who is thinking about teaching silks/fabrics class in Des Moines. Utilize contacts made from Wise Fool New Mexico for advice.
5. Poetry/Sci Fi writing: Write more. Set aside 45 minutes a day to do it. Look into contests, think about doing NanoWrimo. Utilize on campus writing circle.
I’m back in Des Moines, Iowa. After spending the first week back just sleeping,eating, and going to the bathroom I can happily say I’m back to functioning in the “real world” a world without circus arts but more importantly a world that I perceived to be purely magical because it was world with freedom to me. Let me explain, there is something really nice about going to a brand new place where you can be who you want to be without the pressure from old friends and old situations and environments to be the same person you’ve always been. It was as if the ceiling was literally raised above me in Santa Fe and I was able to stand up taller and move more freely without being ashamed of how new experiences and fresh perspectives were stretching me gently and sometimes forcefully pushing me to grow in different ways.
Now, I’m back in the familiar. It’s like a comfy sweater that I lost in the back of my drawer and find just in time to brave the cold winter. Which by all means is not a bad thing!! But there was something about even the slightest bit uncomfortable in an unfamiliar environment that pushed me to do things I thought I would never be able to do because that was when I was the most vulnerable. I found this quote that really resonated with me about being vulnerable.
“We must not miss our treasured moments of vulnerability. There is where we not only learn who we are, but it is where we are malleable enough to make immediate changes.”
I think ultimately there are still spaces and opportunities here that I will be venturing in to new territory and I think I’m scared of making mistakes along the way because although it’s new it’s in an old place? If that makes any sense at all. Where as in Santa Fe, I make a mistake sure but I can step away from it. Which is a life lesson in general right? I am not the mistake I have made…I am separate from it. (Wow! The epiphanies I’m making in this post!)
Yes! I miss Santa Fe, I miss the new friends I made, the support the love, and allll of the circus arts. It’s time to move forward and take all of the skills I’ve learned and the intricate details of who I really am and what I really enjoy doing to create that loving and supporting space for me here.
-I definitely want to continue practicing circus arts and hone my skills. (Just found out a friend might be offering private lessons in aerial fabrics!)
-Definitely gain some performance experience.
-Spend more time taking care of me and listening to my needs.
-Going off of the previous using my voice more to speak up for what I want.
oakttree asked: I'm newly interested in circus arts and I love your blog :) Just wondering, have you seen When Night Is Falling or Gymnast? Both are excellent movies and feature main characters of colour who are circus professionals (one in clowning and one on aerial silks).
Thank you! :D I’ve never heard of/seen those movies but I definitely just rushed to look them up and they look awesome! I’m about to start watching The Gymnast and realized I did a weekend aerial intensive in Chicago with Dreya Weber the main actress in it. Woah! Thanks so much for sharing them :) If you have any questions or anything or want to share stories let me know.
I’m still glowing-I think that’s what you call this feeling-from the three shows that just happened over the past two days. They were so much fun, and I have to say I’ve never so much performing than with these ladies. Literally, it felt like a party on stage and we just so happened to have an audience. *Note:Each audience was so extremely supportive and vocally encouraging, it was truly uplifting!* Plus, my mom flew from Iowa to come see one of the shows! Aaah!
My first act was a physical theatre piece on what freedom means to me and my journey to freedom. I use spoken word on an audio and embodied what those words looked like: living, holding, fear, embracing love, vulnerability, etc It was one of the more personal pieces for me because it directly revealed my soul to the audience and it was kind of a release each time. Like a ritual, mantra, or prayer. It was like each time I did it I let go more and more.
My second act was stilt walking! What a blast! Myself and four other ladies rocked out on stilts to a song I do not know the name of but the lyrics go: “Because I can..” It was simply pure fun and I enjoyed every second of it.
My third act was hula hooping. I was little bit more nervous about this one more than others just because I wasn’t super confident in my hula hooping skills but to be honest having the other ladies my side helped that melt away. It was fun, we each had our little debut of a trick and walked off with sass :)
My fourth act was fabrics which I performed with my friend to a mix I created on garageband. It has sick beats and “pregnant pauses” that make the bass sound really awesome, it’s one of my favorite songs. A lot of our movements focused on the theme of breathe and using our voice. A great release.
I found myself just sitting back stage with my eyes closed for a couple moments just enjoying the experience because this is once in a life time experience. I’ll only experience my first all Women’s circus intensive.
I can’t believe it’s coming to
an end close. Today, we will do our closing circle with all of the teachers and talk about our experience. I already know what I’m feeling, I’m so extremely grateful and gurgling with this weird feeling of nausea and joy for being able to experience the wonderfulness of the teachers, the emotional ups and downs in myself, challenging and fun classes, the awesome and inspiring women, and frickin’ great city of Santa Fe. It’s been real, it’s been more than real, it’s been a eye opening and heart opening experience. Thank You!
*Next, for the absolutely amazing people who donated their money for me to able to experience this awesomeness expect your thank you videos, tutorials, autographed pictures, and karaoke songs within this coming week :D
It’s Wednesday of tech week. We load in the actual venue tonight and practice in our costumes and make up.There’s going to be sword swallowing, belly dancing, aerial arts, acrobatics, physical theatre, stilt walking, and more. I’m so excited and so grateful to be around so many talented and amazing women. I’ve learned so much just being around them. What I’m about to say is going to sound ridiculously cliche but here it goes: Even though my time is coming to an end, it really feels like the beginning. There, I said it. I mean it! Yes, training is wrapping up but I’m going into these performances anew. New skills and a new mindset to be honest. When I go into the co-op down the street some of the people know me as a circus performer by association of other women who I’m in the program with. No, I’m no professional but I am a performer, and I like the sound of that. At the beginning of this six weeks I probably would have said that timidly. At the beginning of this six weeks a wondered what am I going to bring back with me to good ‘ol Des Moines, Iowa. I feel like I have a new awareness of myself that I’ve ignored out of embarrassment or fear of ruffling feathers, and I know this awareness is only going to make me stronger on my personal journey and my journey in performing arts and social justice.
Week Five is almost over and we’ve all got our creative juices flowin’. Sunday is our first run through and tickets are on sale. I know I’ve said it before but time is whisking by. Interning and training I’ve learned a lot about what I like and don’t like. I’ve even learned about things that trigger me, which I have admit, I wasn’t expecting. Which leads me into the topic of today’s blog expectations and perfection.
Before I first arrived in New Mexico, I expected that I wouldn’t raise enough money to even be able to experience: 1. An internship that has allowed me to see the inner workings of a social justice and performing arts organization. 2. Train in stilts, acrobatics, aerial fabrics, juggling, hooping, physical theater, clowning, and trapeze. So, when I did raise the money I didn’t know what to expect.
During my internship, I was asked what aspect could I see myself in a organization like this: performer, advocacy, grant writer, director…etc I definitely didn’t expect that question and I was caught off guard. Throughout the internship I’ve done a lot grant research, looking at similar organizations to Wise Fool and seeing how they function, listening and soaking in how an organization like this running, asking questions about how social justice and performing arts overlap. I’ve found that I’d expected myself to want to be a part of the office, grant writing and everything like that. But my heart did a little tingle, a little dance if you will, when I thought about performing and creating. So, that’s where I’m at.
Sometimes A lot of times, I have to re-discover and re-learn things about myself because I feel conflicted with things I expect of myself and what other people expect of me.
Letting all of those expectations go is freeing but really leaves you in a vulnerable place. Which brings me to the performances. I will be performing in stilts, aerial fabrics, hooping, and physical theatre. Part of me knows that it is all about having fun and sharing with family and friends what we’ve learned. In the wee back of my head though I hold the expectation for myself that it has to be perfect and there is no room for a mistake. Yikes! No pressure, right? Well, I’d like to close by sharing what the Director of the show shared with us not only to remind myself but because I feel it can be applicable to a lot of different aspects of life as well.
“These next weeks will be full of so much potential and so much work, and there is the possibility that you will feel overwhelmed and stressed by it. That is natural and is always a part of greatness. Often we must move to the edge of comfort in order to realize our essential truths. But in that i want to remind all of us, that perfection does not exist, or if it does and we say it must, then we must say that everything is perfect. That every move you make, every mistake you experience, every thing you offer to this world, is perfect. And it is. So in utter truth there is no need to worry, there is no need to struggle within ourselves. For we have already accomplished light. We are already there.” -Nikesha Breeze
There are two weeks left. Two weeks! Wow, time flies. Last Sunday we chose circus arts to specialize in. I decided on aerial fabrics, physical theater, and stilts. I’m a bundle and nerves and excitement. I’m excited because we’ve been given the opportunity to create. That it’s it. I feel empowered by creating. The theme of the show is freedom and we can mold and form from there. I’m nervous as well. To be honest, thoughts of self-doubt are making me nervous. What if I fail? Am I really good enough to do something like this? Which leads me into the next part. I’ve made a list new things I’m learning about myself as well as re-learning about myself in this amazing experience. I know, my time isn’t over yet but I’m hoping reflecting on some of them will allow me to fully experience the rest of it. I’ve decided to keep this list private for now, but I may share at the very end.
So, simultaneously while training in the circus arts I’ve also been an intern. So far, I’ve been doing a lot of research in grants that would fit the needs of the organization as well as looking at similar organizations across the nation and world. One thing that I would say is unique to this particular organization is the community and social justice component. A lot of their shows focus important on important issues like domestic violence, AIDS/HIV, migration. They also put on a lot of kids camps and make it accessible for people of various abilities and income levels. As for the community component, they offer work trade to keep things affordable for students and transparency in the way they run their organization. They offer an open studio for students who want to train. Produce shows with a group mentality, although there is a director both the actors and directors brainstorm and process through the rehearsals what a production is going to look like.
Overall, i’m learning a lot of skills from the circus arts aspect but a lot about what role I want to play as someone who is interested in performing arts and social justice. I know I want to perform and create and I also know I want to work with kids somehow in conjunction with that.
*what do the next two weeks look like?
-working with “wee kids camp”. Helping and getting an inside of view of teaching circus arts to 5,6,7 year olds.
-Tech Week for performance.
I am coming to the close of my third week in the circus intensive. Meaning, we are that much closer to the final performances (we perform three shows the weekend of the 30th). Meaning, each of us have to pick two areas to specialize in for the performance..,meaning I have to decide! The are four main areas we have the option to specialize in-we can only choose two of the four. Then there are electives: clowning, physical theatre, juggling, and hooping. I really enjoy clowning, physical theatre and hooping! (sorry juggling) For this post I will focus on the main four.
*note to self none of these pictures below are my own. Interestingly, searching for images of circus arts it was really hard to find images of people of color doing them.
The best way to describe trapeze is a pull up bar in the air held by two ropes. Often attached by a double point to the ceiling but can also be attached by a single point for more swing. Speaking of swing, you might be familiar with swinging trapeze in which two or more people swing between multiple trapezes and catch each other and do awesome tricks. In the intensive I attended we used static trapeze (which is also what the image is also what the image above is of). It’s really fun, I enjoy this the most and I am leaning towards this as an area to specialize in. It really reminds me of playing around on the jungle gym in elementary school. So, carefree and curious!
Aerial Silks aka Aerial Fabrics aka Tissues
It goes by many different names. I usually call it “silks” or “fabrics”. Here at the circus intensive most people call it “fabrics”. Basically, it’s a long piece of cloth hanging from the ceiling that a performer is able to dance, climb, and do tricks on. But it’s a special kind of cloth so you can’t just go to joann’s and pick up a fabric and hang it from the ceiling that would be very dangerous. I like silks and I think it is absolutely beautiful! Out of the two aerial arts silks and trapeze, I feel the most comfortable on silks. Also, we can only pick one aerial art to specialize in. Both would be challenging and fun to create a performance on.
Acrobatics can be seen in yoga, gymnastics, and dance but also circus arts as well. It combines balance, agility, and motor coordination. In the intensive we do a lot of partner acrobatics like in the image above. It takes a lot of trust in yourself as a base (the person holding the other person up) and trust in others as a flyer (the person being held up). I actually find this particular art very challenging. Though I enjoy practicing hand stands and headstands, when it comes to working with others I have a hard time balancing listening to my own body and listening to others. The people pleaser in me wants to ignore that my hip or lower back hurts when being a base or flying but I know for my own safety I need to listen. I’m still processing what is challenging about this for me as well. Needless to say I will not be picking this as a specialized area.
Stilts, stilts, stilts. Stilts have a lot of history that is really fascinating. From secret societies wearing stilts to practical historical functions like reaching high places, sheperd stilt walking, jousting on stilts, there’s just so much! There are different stilt styles. There are ones made of wood and then others made of aluminum. At the intensive we practice with ones made of wood. I think stilts is really growing on me. Last class we were to free style dance on our stilts and it was really fun. I really enjoyed. My biggest fear on stilts is falling though. Even though I have fallen a couple of times already the fear hasn’t gone away.
So, it may look like I will be focusing on Trapeze and Stilt walking. I’ll keep thinking about fabrics aka silks though…
Yesterday began my third week here in Santa Fe and my third week as a part of the BUST circus intensive. What better way to kick off the third week than a little hula hooping and clowning!? So, we divided out into two groups. Half went to clowning class and the other to hooping. I did hooping.
Oh, fabulous and wonderful hooping. I love hooping, it really makes me feel alive. We learned several tricks. Tricks that I’d tried attempting in my residence hall earlier this year to Beyonce songs with little success and bruises. There was something about doing it then though was really releasing and care free. Tricks I found difficult before seemed to roll off my body, and when they didn’t I kept trying with little frustration with myself because that is the kind of safe supportive environment that most of our classes are. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had my fair share of self-judgement since I’ve been here. It’s hard. You want to compare yourself to the awesome women around you, wonder why you’re not able to do something after two weeks but you can’t- you have to be present and in the moment and that takes courage, self-awareness, and a supportive community.
Things to remember:
- engage with my core.
- one foot in front of the other
- if you drop the hoop continue on like you did it on purpose.
Clowning was awesome! I was nervous for it, because I didn’t know what to expect. The instructor described finding out who your clown is as a process of finding out who your authentic self is. Well, snap. That peaked my curiousty. Although, I try to be authentic all of the time there are many many many times where I hold myself back or censure myself because I’m afraid of what people will think or because that enables me to be vulnerable. And that’s exactly what happened in class. I was vulnerable but I found very few times that I censured myself. I thought I would be but surprisingly my authentic self/clown was just waiting for the opportunity to express herself and I was surprised every time she did. I almost didn’t recognize her at all. And yet, she reminded me of a childhood Tanaya who was just living life boldly and seeking new adventures. I enjoyed the experience and didn’t want it to end.
Things to remember:
- There’s power in your inhale and exhale.
- just say “YES!”
- remember status and relationship when interacting with an object or another person.
*That’s all folks. Although I haven’t posted a lot I can truly say I’m being changed by this experience. I’m learning so much about myself. It’s a lot to process and put into words here, but when I can I will. Tonight I have trapeze and stilts.(I have some footage of me in trapeze class last week that I will upload as soon as I have the chance.) Also, I’ve been thinking about transferring over to vlogging (video blogging) instead. What do you think?