The world is closed. As a circus trainer, muscle and flexbiity disappear very quickly when it is not being used on a daily basis. When you have a regiment that helps you develop specific muscles and flexibility that you use on apparatus in circus, how do you stay in shape when the world is closed and you don't happen to have 20+ foot ceilings in your house or a big tree in your backyard? Having the gyms closed and having the circus program closed is detrimental to the ability to continue growth. This is so hard, especially when what everyone does seem to have right now is time.
Encore is encouraging circus training artists to continue with their circus education in two ways, in body and in mind. For people that are involved in the circus as a career, this is a lifestyle that makes them fluid, adventurous, creative, and open to the world. If you have ever met a successful circus professional, they are different than the world. Something about the invigoration of being "Death defying" make circus professionals kind. They are optimistic and they are kind. They are also in great shape, creative, and have a complete workout plan that keeps their instrument ticking well.
When building the mind and body, Encore suggests taking stock of both.
Starting with your body, if you are serious about the artistry of circus, you need to start with your diet. A healthy circus artist that is building a career with longevity balances a healthy diet with proper intake of water to make the body healthy. The old adage "garbage in, garbage out" rings 1000% percent true in circus artists. If you drove a racecar, you wouldn't fill your car with cheap gas just to make it go. You would want to make sure that the racecar was fueled with the best materials to make the speed of the car tops. The same is true for your body. Think of yourself as a Ferrari or a Maserati and fill your tank with the best materials to give your car optimum performance. Right now, especially since workouts are different, circus trainers should be paying close attention to what they eat. Health is the key to a strong performer.
Next, you need to build a daily workout regiment and stick to it. Contortionists and aerialists can start to lose their flexibility within a couple of days of not working out. Jugglers need to juggle every day or they start to lose the coordination and muscle memory. The average professional circus artist starts their day with a 3 hour workout. Training artists should have a plan that is building cardio, flexibility, and overall strength. This should include several hours of conditioning each day. You may not have a circus rig to train on at your house, but you can still plank, hand stand, push up, yoga, sit up, stretch and hand balance. The "tricks" need to be the easiest part of your day. You need to have the stamina, strength, and flexibility in "your racecar" to gain the ability to move yourself into a professional artist position. Logging on and taking the classes from Encore's circus trainers is part of this regiment, but you should also be seeking out the hundreds of classes that are available online worldwide right now as the world is closed. Take advantage of the time and look for cool people to take class from. Some of the best in the world are offering free classes right now. Do it!
Once you have the regiment for your body set, Encore suggests taking stock of your mind.
There are two very important pieces that you should focus on to help you gain the inspiration and the mindset to be a professional circus artist. Whether you want to be a professional or not, these two key pieces will help you in life no matter what your career is (unless of course you become a shock talk show host. This advice is not for them.) A strong circus brain needs positivity and creativity.
Positivity comes from how you look at things. Life is going to throw you curveballs. People can be mean. People lie. People are jealous. Learning how to push that into a box that you can handle is important to learning how to live in the very competitive world of circus. If you can't figure out how to put this type of negativity into the right box, it will eat you alive. I think figuring out your "magic potion" for rising above it will help you get to positivity faster. There are a quick few things that can help.
1. Don't start it. Your grandma always told you that if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all. If you start with that basic principle, it will be good start to your own positivity. When you don't engage in the negative drama, it starts to not matter as much after a while. When your words and actions don't fuel the flame, the flame will rush to another camp that does. Think of what you can do with your extra time when you aren't worried about that drama. Besides, if you read the comments on some of your most respected organizations and people, they get just as much hate IF NOT MORE hate from people not living a positive life. Try to learn how to let it go. That tactic is different for everybody.
2. Put beauty into the world. You want people to appreciate your act in circus. It is more than a series of tricks and flexibility. You have to put beauty into the world. You do this by being a creative and beautiful person off the stage and on the stage. This doesn't mean three inches of makeup. This means be kind. Say nice things. Look for good. Compliment people every day. Go out of your way to pay a person a compliment and you will receive as great of a reward as the person you are complimenting. That is not why you should do it, but it is very true.
Finally, work on building your creativity by watching and appreciating others' creativity. Right now in lockdown, Cirque Du Soleil is releasing 60 minute pieces of their 43 shows each week. As a circus artist, you should be devouring one to two hours of circus creativity each week on YouTube, Netflix, and on the internet to make sure that your act can stay relevant, you can appreciate the world of circus around you, and so you can build your creative vocabulary. Look up big circus companies and the cabaret circus acts to build your own inspiration. While at home, build acts physically and in your head that you would like to add to your Instagram and YouTube professional site.
Now is the time to take advantage of time. Work on your craft and work on yourself. You have a great big "time out" to be able to work on being the best circus artist you can be. Embrace it.