Meet the Cast (5) – Artistic Gymnast Richard

I haven’t done much of this – rings (the ‘Iron Cross’ demonstrated here), high bar – since leaving my school in Oxford ahead of moving to Oak Ridge TN. As you have probably figured from previous posts, what we are into is ‘floor’ basically – acrobatics, tumbling. I wasn’t even terribly good at vault, although I admit to being fairly competent on parallel bars. So we have quite an admiration for those who excel in ‘artistic’ gymnastics:

That’s where Richard came in. One of the last to enter our cosy and closed Tuan Jie circle of gay acrobats – and, curiously, the first to leave (for the very best of reasons) – we met Richard in Penn State University where he was a Phys Ed student and where we entered our very first acrobatics competition. Actually, he comes from Nottingham (UK) – small world! Watching us, he realised what he was missing in his rigorous world of six pieces of apparatus, tried out with us, visited us in Oak Ridge, and the rest is kind of ‘history’.

He was in instant hit with our youngest – Ethan – and they quickly evolved static trapeze routines based upon Richard’s strength and skills on the high bar.

But what we did we first notice about Richard?

Well, he has the hairiest feet I ever did see outside of Hobbiton. I suppose that sounds weird but, being a profoundly body-conscious lot, we notice these things – especially when you are training in the gym barefoot (as most gymnasts do) – in fact, as you can see from the previous pic, gymnasts in private sometimes train naked – it is ‘the naked art’, after all. Curiously, as Ethan has gotten older, he seems to have developed very hairy legs and feet too – not quite to Richard’s style – maybe it has ‘rubbed off’ on him as he hung from Richards ankles…

Dave and I had a large role in helping Richard to ‘come out’ to his parents, who somehow saw us as a source of advice and reassurance! His mum even ended up making ‘little devil’ costumes for all three of us to attend what was our first ever gay party!

And so, Richard became a stalwart of Circus Extreme for a couple of years until one day, back in the Turkey Creek gym near Tennessee, where we all help out on occasions, he met his true love. Now they live in Florida, but we see them both quite often. That’s all in Vol 3 of the forthcoming epic – you’ll have to wait a while for that because I’m still sitting in Wild Wales writing that, although we’re back to the States at the end of next week.

Forgive the little ‘plug’ here again, but it is getting rather… I was going to say ‘exciting’, but I probably mean ‘scary’. And with Vol 2 following a few weeks after and Vol 3 committed (or the publishers cut my life-support system), its all getting a bit ‘full frontal’! Never mind the naked gymnastics…

I’ll end this one with a couple more nice pictures of artistic gymnastics and trapeze.

That’s Josh and Ben. Josh is an aerialist who lives in New York, and I guess Ben does too. Now, some training in the big top…

And finally (for now), back in the world of competitive artistic gymnastics.

About tonycavanagh

Born Northampton UK; school Oxford UK and Oak Ridge Tennessee, where I met my wonderful partner Dave, also from UK. Oak Ridge is our main training base for acrobatics and circus stuff, but we also established a base in Wales (UK) to serve us when we are working in Europe. Our 'story', of finding gay love, learning the acrobatics trade and then of how we got shot at during our show (and worse was to follow - just to prove that the risks of being an acrobat are not always the most obvious ones!) are now available in my three books 'Loving the Boy', 'The Power of Love' and 'Against All Odds'. Links available on most blog posts. Actually, waiting for the imminent arrival of the first printed copies was far scarier than anything we do in performance. A fourth book - not about us but exploring the sadness of a gay Native American boy denied his true identity - is currently with an agent for evaluation. watch for 'Let The Future Find Me' in due time. And now to book five... another boy, another quest... seems its always boys...
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1 Response to Meet the Cast (5) – Artistic Gymnast Richard

  1. Pingback: Sex and the City « Tony Cavanagh

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