I guess this sort of relates to the last post. If you care to read about what I got up to in Nepal in general, it's here. Anyway, in 2012 I went to Nepal to teach circus, which was super-amazing. And then I gave up circus. Which is, typically, the opposite of amazing.
What happened was that I found I really loved teaching the drama games to the students in Kathmandu. I found there was a sense of play and freedom which, for the valid reasons of good techniques and safety, are often neglected in circus training.
When I got back to the UK I tried to concentrate on creating narrative work, stuff that I could use my skills in acting and imagination in. Stuff that wasn't a choreography to some emotive music, but that was grown up from a source I cared about, devised personally by me. I took part in the amazing Volt Scratch Night and had some good play sessions and discussions with other circus performers interested in devising work, something I had really been craving and relished.
I tried to stay fit and interested and playful and motivated, to be audition ready for the few and far between roles in circus-theatre and create a piece of work that was long enough to propose to theatre studios... and I couldn't.
A few practical things happened, the pricing structure on my training space changed to monthly rather than hourly, meaning all the times I would prefer to stay in and write a song or hadn't had a decent meal at the right time and bunked off training were going to cost me. I was living off a tiny, tiny income in order to make time for training (as well as other performance work) and be available to take on work when it came. And if I had to get a regular job to make regular payments, I probably wasn't going to go training. I also developed bursitis (an inflammation) in my hips, which would only go away with rest and was exacerbated by most of the basic vocabulary on rope.
I had to really think about whether I had the money, time, motivation and (most crucially for me) energy to carry on putting into it. And I didn't. I've always held this guilty idea that if I was really passionate about making the personal, artistically led stuff that I wanted then I should just train like a maniac and do corporate work to fund it. But I'm just too moody to smile at strangers for a living. Especially drunken strangers working for vast corporations.
I wanted to get back to theatre, I wanted to do some work in the charitable sector.
I had started acting again. And I felt like I a much better actress than I was an aerialist, and that the strengths I had in my aerial work could be exploited in acting just as well. And after my experience in Nepal I realised how valuable and fulfilling it is to work for others and do a job where you really get to see the difference you are making. I had started volunteering for a charity whose cause I passionately care about.
So in the balance, rope lost. Onwards and upwards, right?
The thing is, it's not easy to give up on something that is so based in a culture of working hard, no pain no gain and all this stuff.
Possibly if I had given up singing I would just be saying 'Oh, I wasn't really getting much out it any more. I can always start again if I want to'. But with rope, where starting again is a very big deal, I still frequently feel guilty that I 'quit'. Even though it was a very hard choice, it was a choice. I'm not going to go into the health reasons my training was sporadic, I'll let you use your own levels of compassion to judge that, but I wasn't especially disciplined and my fingers have always been in too many pies. I was proud of how much I achieved physically though, and feeling strong did a lot for my self-belief, that's a scary thing to let go of.
So things have moved on positively, which was actually the point of this post. To be a chirpy "look at what I've been doing" update. And they are pretty great, I've been lucky. I now have a temporary post with the charity and it's one of the best jobs I've ever had. I've played the lead role in a play and been in my first feature film this year.
Things are moving on and very well, I think I just realised by writing this post and going on such an excuse ridden tangent about stopping rope that it's just a big deal and it might take me while, or a massive absorbing project, to feel totally okay with it.