A little story which happened when I decided to train contortion….
In March 2015, I mostly spend time training martial arts in a dojo and I learn to be able to fight on camera and do some choreographies ( it’s part of the job for an actor/ actress especially the ones who want to do action movies and this is of course a specialty of stunt performers). Besides, I also want to practice contortion (a circus discipline which is focused on flexibility) in order to be more flexible and to be able to do some good high kicks.( my ideal being the stunt performer Chloe Bruce, a really talended woman who manages to combine flexibility and Martial Arts.)
At this time, I’m so happy to train contortion that it quickly becomes my new obsession. Gradually I began to be able to achieve a few basic moves of contortion (the result is very close to what you can see in some styles yoga) and I give myself a few challenges , inspired by some breathtaking pics of contortionists.
One day, one of my teachers ( who initially come from the Opera / Circus of Peking and that I admire a lot), tells me:
“Ok, keep training seriously and you’ll join our little troop at our next show.”
– When ?
– In September . (We are then in July)
Woaaa seriously ?? I feel invaded by a sensation mixed with shame and pride. Of course, I am honored by such a proposal, it’s a real sign of encouragement and a mark of trust but … I know that I am far from being competent enough, both for my level of technique and flexibility.
“You will never be ready enough, just do it. “
-Well… ok … »
Three months later I’m on stage to perform not one … but two contortion acts (yes I can’t refuse anything to my dear teachers!): One solo where I play a disarticulated doll, and a duo with Yang, who is specializing in hand balancing (he’s also an acrobat, a stuntman and a very good friend), mad and patient enough to also trust me (since I am carrying him as a base while he’s on gis hands). No needs to say that we spend long hours suffering, laughing, creating together, the complicity and our common passion making the work sessions into fun.
The fateful date arrives. In the evening of the show I find myself literally sick from stress, an anxiety so intense that I nauseus; I’m very close to cancel at the last minute. “What if I fail? What if I lose my balance or get a cramp? What will happen it if I slide, that Yang falls because of me and hurts himself? What if the audience recognizes me from my past career knowing that it’s a show family? What if, what if …?” I know, that sounds ridiculous.
My teachers, Yang, everyone smile to me and comfort me but I am like a small frightened carterpillar in the middle of butterflies.
I have a many friends who work at the Cirque du Soleil. They must deal everyday with 1000 things so much harder than mine; so much more weight of expectation sits squarely on their shoulders, but they are real profesionals who perform on stage since years.
The risk is still there, each representation is unique
but they own their art and discipline, and I have a feeling of being a scam, and I’m already hearing the audience protesting:
“It’s bluff! She’ s not a real pro! She’s even not Chinese!”
(Yup I might take part of a Chinese troop, i’m sorry but I’m still French/Vietnamese!)
Well … All these argumenrs still don’t give me the excuse to cancel. In the end I go enter the light and I have no other option than doing my best, my heart full of fireworks … I am aware that my performance looks more like a cute draft, the embryo of a show, but it that doesn’t prevent me from feeling happy when I find out that the audience has enjoyed. Besides, my burlesque duo with Yang, voluntarily comic, brings to my ears the laughter of children. And this, my friends, is priceless!
The show is over,( after having also performed in the famous 1000 arms Dance and the Dragon dance (I told you, I can’t refuse anything to my teachers!), A group of guys and girls, about 25 years old, come to me and ask me for a picture, each of them having a big smile:
“It’s cool to see you here, what a surprise, you’re on tour with the circus then? “
Yes. People may be unpleasant sometimes but they can also be surprisingly open-minded. Many questions, many doubts and tremors for such a few things. I have not performed contortion since with this little troop since then, but the experience was worth taking the risk.
There is always something to learn! But for now, without a doubt, it’s time to go back to training!