This summer I stepped way out of my comfort zone and accepted the opportunity to cover for my friend and fellow Pilates teacher Helen, who, as a former trapeze artist with Cirque du Soleil (in Varekai), is currently travelling with the show “Kooza” with her ‘rigger’ husband.
Wow! How could I say no!
I was to teach for 3 hours on Tuesday and Thursday from 3-6pm, before the evening shows. My 14 year old daughter accompanied me on the trip, for which I was extremely grateful…both for her company and for her reassurance/guidance while I was driving!!
What a journey … in the physical and metaphorical sense.
We flew from Heathrow to Madrid and then on to Asturias in northern Spain. (Thanks to Michelle Waters for arranging the flights/ car hire etc.) The cirque tent had been up in Gijón for a couple of weeks, after moving from Valencia…and has already moved on again to Malaga.
Although the reformer/tower was contemporary style (Balanced body Allegro) rather than the classical apparatus I usually work with, I was familiar with the set up and the springs; however, it was only during the sessions that I realised that the apparatus was incomplete (not to mention dusty and in need of some oiling) which lead to some quick thinking!
I was pleased that the percussionist decided to sign up for the last free slot on the Thursday, and I also taught the lovely hula hoop artist (who asked if she could book more 1:1 sessions…unfortunately we were flying back the next day…), the lead male dancer, a teeter board jumper and two of the contortionists (one was ill, as was one of the teeter board jumpers). I’d seen a performer come through the tent in tears to the physio from the rehearsal on the main stage…she came to me for my last session. She’d been winded after being caught on the ribs rather than her abdominals…we did lots of work to help her breathe more freely, and I like to think I helped her to get on stage that night!
What was interesting to see was how much the artists needed the frame of the reformer to connect to, and how the framework of the mat workout helped to highlight imbalances … just as it does with us all!
Feedback was good from the artists to both the Physio and the Creative Director, who said he’d be happy to have me work on other shows…I’m not going to run away with the circus, but I’d really love to, so fingers crossed!
What was clear was how much value was placed on Pilates to help them to keep their bodies in top condition, along with their training and physio.
Our final treat was to be given “artistic passes” and we were taken through to our seats to watch the show. We have seen three shows: Varekai, Ovo and Amaluna, but this felt very different, after working with some of those on stage, and witnessing life back stage.
Very special memories of an amazing adventure!