Have had a couple of weekends away from the tightrope, as it’s not been up, so have spent the time working on other balancing techniques and exercises. I’m still working towards doing a handstand, and the exercises I’m doing are definitely increasing my upper body strength- albeit slowly, as I’ve never really done any form of physical performance/sport. I have a vague recollection of doing gymnastics when I was little, but I wasn’t very good and I HATED going upside down! I realise now that a lot of that had to do with having bad eyesight and wearing glasses.
I did some more balancing at Fabrica for the experimental life drawing class last week, and it was interesting how quickly I was able to walk along my practice beam without falling- 5 mins, as opposed to half an hour! Also great to see the kind of drawings people made of a moving, balancing figure. It’s really good for me to practice balance skills whilst not on my own too- doing anything in front of an audience, whether they are drawing or just watching- is really challenging.
I’ve also been working more on my shoe balance performance- it’s an idea I liked and keep returning to, and I wondered how improving my balancing skills may change things. Turns out I am able to stand on one leg, in a high heel, for some time, and to step in and out of shoes more smoothly.
I’m unsure if the visual of someone stepping in and out of shoes is a little too obvious a metaphor for the ‘precariousness’ of performative femininity, but it’s a good place to start. My wish to start balancing practice is rooted in theory anyway, so it seems to be a natural progression.
A friend of mine, who is currently doing a practice-based phd based around circus, lent me a really interesting book by Dr Camilla Damkjaer, ‘Homemade Academic Circus’- about the writer (an academic) learning circus as a non-performer, and exploring how she can learn and explore theory and ideas through the process of learning physical techniques.
I came across this youtube clip of one of her ‘performance lectures’. It would be great to speak to her about this, if at all possible.