‘Watch your Back’ and ‘Get A Head’ in the UK Acro Scene

Our first significant stay in the UK for a long time has given us a chance to play  ‘catch-up’ on a number of things. One link carried bottom right for a long time has been to the original ‘home’ of the acrobatic group ‘Spelbound’ which won ‘Britain’s Got Talent’ 2 years ago. Known for a long time to be the number one acrobatic gymnastics club in the UK, it has been based in Spelthorne, West London for a very long time.

A local coach and friend who knows some of them advised us that there has been some misunderstanding in that club, possibly not unrelated to the arrival of ‘stardom’, controlling agents and all the trouble that can bring, and the entire cast of characters – coaches and acrobatic gymnasts including the World Champion Men’s Four and the World Champion Men’s Pair – have removed themseves a few miles to the Heathrow Gymnastics Club, a fantastic site with three separate gymnasia, one devoted to acrobatic gymnastics, plus two dance studios.

So, I’m removing the link to Spelthorne Gym Club and replacing it with the new one. And, of course, that gives me an opportunity to post some pictures of Spelbound. In rehearsal:

…and in performance during the BGT competition:

Since they won that, the prize money has gone up by a factor five – but still, £100,000 between 13 (and some for the coaches and club I hope) is still a respectable amount each, not least with the UK tour and appearance fees all over the place. But, as we know all too well, being ‘on the road’ when trying to hold down ‘real’ jobs is stressful. And they have been tipped to appear in the 2012 Olympics opening ceremony, so we shall see. Anyone who publishes anything speculative about that gets cursed and turned to stone, so I say nothing more. Can’t afford to get people’s backs up where big money and impresario egos are involved!

‘Backs up’. Ah, now there’s a good idea for a couple more pictures:

Definitely some work gone into developing that one. This one too:

One more:

Lats and shoulder development: just what you need for parallel bars.

Going back to ourselves, finally, we were amused to get a call from a UK TV company wanting us to do our ‘head-balancing act’. Whilst we do include head balancing in what we do, it’s hardly an ‘act’ whereas others specialise in that sort of thing:

I don’t think that just doing a few of those would have been enough for the particular production team: they had seen (and sent us) a vid of a Japanese guy who does free head jumping up a line of ascending platforms. I’ve seen a Chinese guy who did free head-balance skipping end up crippled with a crushed spine, so we’re definitely not going there, and we put them in touch with some friends on the continent who would be far better than we would.

OK, I knew you would ask, so here it is. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xnq2SopOQh0

We are NEVER going ever to even think of trying that! A real head case.

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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