Playbill

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Boys at play. Could be us, between shows. It isn’t! Our present home (5 of us) is not a neat building like that, but a converted bus parked behind a circus tent.

Several correspondents have asked me what else is on the playbill. Are there, for example, captive animals like lions? The answer there is ‘no’, but there are other animals: four performing horses, which seem to have been watching videos of the Lipizzaner stallions from Vienna – they are very elegant, and their riders (all from the owning ‘family’) are very skilled, leaping around on their backs as they rear up. And yes, they do get exercised  in open country like ‘normal’ horses whenever an opportunity arises, and they all seem in excellent spirits. Then there is ‘the dog woman’ – keeps herself to herself, but her doggies are very clever and she usually brings the house down, especially with kids. The snake lady, on the other hand, trades on some peoples irrational fear of her reptiles, wrapped around her bikini-clad body, working the audience (maybe avoid the front row!) and her piece de resistance involves gulping down a small snake from the tail end until only the head remains protruding from her mouth…, yes, definitely avoid the front row…

There are jugglers, an illusionist and his assistant, excellent clowns, part of whose repertoire involves a disintegrating and explosive car – it takes them nearly 90 minutes to re-assemble it afterwards, which can be a bit tight when  we do two shows in succession on the same day. I’ve previously mentioned the high-wire trio; also there are two young contortionist sisters (again from the ‘family’), plus Pavl throwing his knives at Jody, and swallowing his swords whilst she does a bit of fire-eating. The there’s the five of us – acrobatics and balance, use of trapezes and then, later in the show, Pavl and Jody join us for sessions with beds of nails, glass, a sword bed, and so on. All good fun…

Here’s a scene from another company – Pirates Reloaded, based in Majorca (hence the sailing ship mast, I guess) – a one-arm balance on a moving base means that, unusually, the top guy has to maintain the balance rather than his supporter (sorry, perhaps that’s a bit technical but its the sort of stuff we need to know in the trade!)

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So, there we are. Two more weeks, and then we’re all replaced with other performers for the next six months, after which some of us (to be decided) are committed to another six acrobatic months. Heigh Ho…

…the possibilities are some selection of eight acrobats, two endurance girls and two very talented kids (during school vacations). Now, if there were 15 of us…

acrobat sor

…that is ‘Acrobat Sor’. Quite an impressive array of muscle and skill there!

Anyway, we’ll need to keep training then, both the acro and the weights!

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Spot the camera there… quite a clever mirror picture. All the best gyms have mirrors – all the better to see your muscles at work, and those of your friends as well. Locker rooms too…

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As we are now into our thirties, stretching and maintaining flexibility become increasingly difficult, and our partners have more work to do…

partner stretch

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I would, now, really struggle to do this, for example…

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…ah, thinking of the ‘old’ days… it’s all HERE:

Loving the Boy: ISBN 978-1-907732-30-0

The Power of Love: ISBN 978-1-907732-41-6

Against All Odds: ISBN 978-1-908645-35-7

Gymnastics and acrobatics will always be our chosen ‘thing’ though… there’s a certain malicious pleasure in doing even the simpler things when you watch people who haven’t been training trying to do them! This guy is definitely in training for his ‘Russian hold’:

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…and, if I’m not mistaken, he’s definitely been ‘oiled up’ by his photographer to catch the light. Here’s another oiled dude:

oil and light

Personally, we prefer the ‘baby’ oil and a spot of wrestling! As indeed do sword-swallower Pavl and the circus drummer Rodrigo, as recent posts have told!

The rest of the pix for today are randoms:

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…and, despite the message on the belt, that’s a Czech bodybuilder. Looks like he made quite a good effort!

 

 

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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