Tag Archives: a day in the life

Time Capsule

11 Nov

Things I will always remember about circus school:

1) Socks as a fashion statement. Knee socks, ankle socks, thigh-highs, knit socks, mismatched socks… invariably with holes, thanks to twenty hours a week on a tumbling floor which chews through them like a wider version of the sock-eating dryer monster, until you end up with some that are more hole than sock.

2) The camaraderie. I don’t know if this is unique to my class, or if it’s a common theme in circus schools, but the lack of competition is wonderfully refreshing. Perhaps because no two people in the class are focusing on the same equipment or have the same style, there is zero competition among us, even between those who will be auditioning for the same programs at the end of the year. Everyone cheers everyone else on, and achievement is based solely on personal improvement.

3) The lack of organization. In my experience, artists, athletes and veterinarians have been the least organized people I have ever known, generally speaking. Since circus people are a combination of the first two, nobody every knows what’s going on, when anything is due, or what it is exactly that is due. The school calendar and class schedule have been written and re-written, and in Douglas Adams’ words, time is an illusion. We are not the most formal or efficient bunch. And yet it all works somehow.

4) Inadvertently-created characters, such as the Creepiest Caterpillar and the Happiest Torpedo. Others, I’m sure, are in the making.

5) The music. Our background music for training ranges from ’80s pop to Chopin to Quebecois rock to current hip-hop made entirely of four-letter words. I could do without that last one. In fact, it occasionally gives me the urge to bash myself over the head with a juggling club.

6) Chocolate covered raisins and raw almonds. Brought to lunch by a classmate almost daily, and handed around the table with polite requests of “pass the crack, please”.

7) Lunchtime language lessons. With some regularity we exchange bits of linguistic knowledge, mainly in the form of French vocabulary, Spanish grammar, sign language commentary and literal translations of weird idioms from various world languages. I must add that I have neither male nor female camel in this.