Step Up – Circus Participants’ Routine and blog post

View our Step Up participants’ routines after only ten days training with Upswing at Circus Space:

Step Up Circus Training Day 9 by Bhawna Bhawsar

“So we’re into Week 2 of this bruising, battering experience. It’s only this week I had a breakthrough with the techniques I’ve been learning on rope, silk and hoop.

When I think back to Week 1, I was convinced that they would ask me to leave because I just wasn’t ‘suitable’. Whilst it looked like others were advancing so quickly, I couldn’t even climb a rope, literally. I just didn’t have the upper body strength required to do this kind of work. I also didn’t appear to have the right body shape in comparison to others on the group. I felt emotionally unworthy and physically battered, bruised and in pain!

Vicky Amedume, the course leader, has been a real inspiration however. I remember her telling us how she would stick out like a sore thumb in an Aerialist line-up because of her look and shape. But, wow, she is amazing and graceful on the apparatus!

I can do this! I was determined not to be defeated by weaknesses. So I began to work at my own pace and persisted through the compounding muscle pain each day. The Body Conditioning exercises have been hardcore, but are so important to build up my core and upper body strength. I couldn’t remember the last time I did a handstand, let alone for over a minute! For those who think it’s easy – try it and see how quickly you’re arms start to tremble and collapse! Oh and the last time I did a handstand was at school! It’s been like Bootcamp!

So Monday morning, this week, was a major achievement for me because I climbed a 5 meter ‘silk’. And went on to do foot locks, vertical splits, asymmetric splits, gazelle, bird’s nest, half-angel, angel, front balance, back balance … on the iron hoop and silks!  I have learnt a lot, especially about pushing myself and finding my strengths in challenging situations. And it’s been great that we have supported and encouraged each other – what a fantastic group of friends! What an amazing opportunity!

We’ve now been asked to perform a sequence of techniques (of our choice) using the apparatus, for tomorrow. I’m not going recite poetry, Shakespeare or use music. I think I’ll do a monologue about my learning curve through this process. After all, it’s been my journey, my process and my achievements – that’s what defines me – us all!”

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Step Up Circus Training Day 10 by Sarah Kameela Impey

“How do you end two of the most amazing, physically exerting, emotionally challenging and friendship bonding weeks of your life? Like this – I don’t think anyone has been so excited to do body conditioning, we are all hoping we can carry it on day after day when we are finished but, just in case, we throw ourselves into it as much as possible and more. I did my first minute hand stand, a personal triumph followed by a very giddy feeling. Today we are showing our pieces, we have chosen our best moves from over the two weeks and put them either to music, accompanying a story or part of a monologue. I can tell everyone is slightly worried not knowing what everyone else has done, Vicki silently supporting at the side while we practice. The room is filled with the slaps of the crash mats as people fly onto the apparatus and the whispers of the creatives remembering their words.

When the pieces start, the room is in awe and I cannot believe how far people have come, I mean these are actual performances done with heart and soul and are completely mesmerising. Phoebe makes a monologue from The Merchant of Venice look like it should have only been performed on the hoop, Bhawna tells a tale called the The Circus Virgin, about her own personal journey, we were all so proud and I have to admit there was a slight tear in my eye. I wrote a poem  which blended with my moves with the ending moral being ‘you just had to climb to make your dreams come true’, Ella wowed us by emerging from her cocoon high in the silks to the song ‘Clubbed to Death’, Jess did a 50’s style dance with the hoop as her flattering partner, Sarah put her delectable dance physique into a montage on the silks, Sabrina’s monologue erupted as she climbed like a wave, Maya’s passionate and booming monologue came from her silk hammock, Sui made us burst into laughter with his cheeky Scottish speech, Milton bought out the Latin in us all as he flowed so easily as if the hoop was dancing around him, Dina climbed up high to tumble down so freely, mimicking her Arabic poem of Love, Kimmy used music and dance to tell a turbulent relationship with the silks as her lifeline, Vanessa played with the hoop combining dance and playtime into a wonderful childhood/love story and with insane insistence from the group Vicki gave us another dose of magic inspiration by performing a section of the show she had just done. She looked effortless yet powerful and we realised that all the performances that we had done had strong elements and the spark of the fire she was displaying.

In two weeks we have all pushed ourselves, come through unbelievable pain for the best and most valuable goal. I think people were almost disappointed at the end not to be hurting as much. I feel strong from my core to every extremity and there is no way I will not carry this on. We sat and ate cake and then went for a drink and although saying goodbye felt so hard, with so many thanks and praises to say, I know it will not be the last time we sit together and smile, this has brought into our lives forever circus and circus friends, as well said by Bhawna: ‘They were circus virgins no more.”

Milton’s routine is also available to view below:


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