What are your taboos?
This spring I literally threw myself into a wonderfully mad journey of self discovery with the world-renowned Gandini Juggling.
If you don’t know them yet, the Gandini’s are a company of ridiculously talented object manipulators, whose work has been reinventing and reinvigorating juggling over the past 20 years, whilst challenging people’s perceptions of contemporary circus all over the world.
I joined them for a 5-day, French run of ‘Cløwns & Queens’, a beautifully brave and visceral show that comes with balls, plush penises, exchanges of bodily fluids and horizontal juggling.
‘Full of sex, but never sexy’, the show depicts a mad court full of queens and clowns, engaged in a ‘constantly shifting dance of desire’. With echoes of Stanley Kubrick, Pier Paolo Pasolini and Federico Fellini,’Cløwns & Queens’ explores the nature of lust and imbalanced power relationships in a brave cross over between circus, dance and performance art.
For me personally, this was an incredible opportunity to explore some of my own taboos, both as an individual and a performer. The risk of juggling on stage for the first time ever in my career, after only a few rehearsals with the company and the specific task of hula hooping without the shield of technical tricks were emotionally charged challenges that stripped me down to my most vulnerable… let alone the actual naked scene on the cold, white lit up tables.
The risk paid off. When life offers you the opportunity to manifest your feelings through work and by doing that, learn about yourself, that’s when the most exciting adventures are bound to happen.
Immense gratitude and big respect to Sean Gandini and Kati Ylä-Hokkala, Artistic Directors of Gandini Juggling, all the performers in the company and Le Maillon Theatre de Strasbourg , for adopting me onto this crazy journey.
November 20, 2015
Premiering as a work in progress performance at the Roundhouse in Spring 2016, Pop Circus will bring together a creative team from across the worlds of theatre, dance, music, fashion and circus – a new collaboration aiming to create a new kind of British performance, that is thrilling and glamorous but also anarchic and subversive.
All photos by William Baker.
August 13, 2015
When she transformed into a butterfly, the caterpillars spoke not of her beauty but of her weirdness.
They wanted her to change back into what she always had been…
But she had wings.
The hoops in these images are LED smart hoops by SpinFX. I can program them to change colours and patterns to any chosen music, which allows for endless possibilities to create bespoke acts and fit with specific requirements and special events. You can see more photos here.
I have always had a great interest in animation and mixed media, so when Cirque Bijou offered me to collaborate on a bespoke piece that mixed my hoops with Howie Bailey‘s visual graphics, I dived right into it.
The piece was commissioned as an intro to the John Bishop Show on BBC1, which made the whole project even more exciting.. and slightly nerve-racking.
We knew it was going to be hardcore and risky – we only had a few days to research and develop ideas and then put it all together into a live show for prime television.
Yet, despite the time and space constraints, we just went for it wholeheartedly, feeding off each other’s passion and inspiring each other through laughter and relatively appropriate doses of OCD.
The result was a wonderful work of circus and visual arts that I hope will lead to more opportunities for exploration and collaboration.
Massive thanks to Julian Bracey, director of Cirque Bijou, and Howie Bailey for being absolute legends. True gratitude and respect also for John Bishop and his crew and the BBC.
Now rock on!
More lovely photos on my Flickr.
February 13, 2015
Just as 2015 kicked in, I had the immense pleasure to work with top gentleman juggler Mat Ricardo and perform ‘Atma’ in his End of the world cabaret at the Albany, London.
It was an ‘Apocalypse now’ sort of show, where the only thing left to do before the asteroid hit the earth, was to steep oneself in amazing acts of gravity-defying dexterity, laugh and be entertained by some of the greatest variety acts in London.
Did we get hit? Are we still alive now? One thing is for sure, I am still spinning like Saturn.
February 11, 2015
August 1, 2014
Despite the weather and extreme survival conditions, Glastonbury is always amazing.
This year, however, was particularly exciting as I got to perform not only ‘Atma’, but also 2 of my most recent hoop acts.
‘Black Out Days’ was specifically devised for the Circus Big Top and, although it was presented as work in progress, it received very positive feedback.
The greatest surprise of this year’s festival, however, was that I got asked to perform at the BBC Studio as part of their Friday Night Highlights, directly from the channel’s stage at the Park. This was an excellent and fun opportunity to show my ‘Great Gatsby’ inspired piece ‘Jazzy Daisy’, which went down a storm.
After all that excitement, keeping it up rehearsing and performing for almost 24 hours, after dragging your hoops all day around miles of muddy fields, what do you do when at Glasto?
I don’t know about you, but I go and dance my heart out until sunrise, at the jaws of a gigantic, fire spitting and laser shooting spider. That is why I love it so much in the field: it never stops feeding you its magic insanity.
January 20, 2014
Together with the lovely Jessie Rose, I created a new glow hoop piece that we performed at the Bloomsbury Big Top as part of a series of Christmas shows, produced by Sorcha Ra, last December 2013.
This is a 1920’s, Great Gatsby inspired piece, set to a modern, fast paced and fun electro-swing soundtrack. Any type of audience will be dazzled by the charm and skills of these super cute ‘Flapper Girls’, dancing and spinning up to 8 fantastically bright LED hoops.
Photos taken by Jon Green and Jenny Dale. Costumes by Andie Scott.
December 10, 2013
After becoming a regular performer at The Box, London, I had the pleasure to go and spin my hoops at its Dubai partner club, The Act – the highest theatre venue in the world.
Located on the 42nd and 43rd floor of the Shangri-la Hotel, The Act is a very refreshing antidote to Dubai’s sometimes dry entertainment and nightclub scenes.
It was certainly a fantastic experience being part of one of the most exciting shows in the Middle East.