Spontaneity at the Office: Researching Circus School

Do you ever get curious? Really curious? I certainly do. I was sitting at my desk a day in early May 2017, excited about my newfound skill—juggling on a tight-wire—when I considered creating a character for the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. After a bit of research, I said to myself, “Forget that. I should join the circus!”

That led to numerous hours of looking up circus schools, opportunities, and options—not only in the United States, but around the world as well. During this time, I stumbled upon a video of Isaac Hou performing Cyr wheel. I had seen it before, and now I thought it would be a perfect fit for me! I factored Cyr wheel research into my time as well.

Eager to apply to schools, I trained as much as I could. I already had experience in beginner acrobatics, juggling, magic, tight-wire, and dance. I just needed to brush up on particular skills for audition videos. After spending a couple of weeks editing the videos and applying, I excitedly sent them off and applied to SANCA (School of Acrobatics & New Circus Arts) in Seattle, WA, and Actor’s Gym in Chicago, IL. Two weeks later, I decided to take a trip to Chicago and see the students at Actor’s Gym perform their annual showcase.

Shortly after returning home, I found I was rejected by SANCA, but accepted at Actor’s Gym. The only obstacles were cost and relocation by summer’s end. But I was hopeful! After speaking with the admissions counselor from Actor’s Gym, I decided it would be a good idea to get a breadth of experience on aerials (as I had none prior). I enrolled for Xelias Aerial Arts Bootcamp to get familiar with the various apparatus. I tackled a fire course that taught me juggling, spinning, and safety.  I also discovered—after a lot of research—Mickey Dupont, a Cyr wheel instructor in Minneapolis, MN. I enrolled in his course at Expertease Fitness right away.

From day one, I was hooked on Cyr wheel. I took to it naturally, and Mickey was a good teacher. I spent most of the time I was not in class studying, watching, and waiting for class to come around again. As Actor’s Gym didn’t offer Cyr wheel—and because of the financial and timeframe obstacles—I decided that circus school was not for me at the time.

However, I was on a mission. I wanted to be one of the best Cyr wheel spinners. And, by the end of the summer, I had my own wheel to practice with three to four hours per day. I had toned down studies in the other circus arts to achieve this goal. By September, I had my first Cyr wheel performance. At four months, I crushed it. I was encouraged to speak with one of the performance agencies in town, as well as visit Chicago for October Wheel Weekend. With that, I was well on the way to accomplishing my dreams.

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