So, last month I found myself not being able to do my best in performances, it didn’t matter if before the act I had trained until I dropped or if I hadn’t trained at all, didn’t matter if I had a bad day or a great day, when it came to the performance it was flat and the tricks were all over the place. Not at all great for a Handbalancer.
I couldn’t understand it; I had asked everyone ‘what’s going on, do you get it?’ And no one seemed to have the correct answer.
- In my first act, the more technical act, I was getting unusually tired by the end, wobbling in tricks, not making certain positions solidly, it’s just wasn’t going right and I couldn’t understand it.
- In the second act, ‘Mack the Knife’, I’d take my hat off and come down straight away. At the end of the act I’d put my hat on a audience member, go into a one arm next to them (by this time my forearm is pumped) and I ask them to hand the hat back, (stupid mistake – audience members don’t understand anything and they get excited with hats) but again I’d start to fall and not be able to grab the hat put it on my head and walk down the stairs.
Tricks I used to be comfortable and happy with, just failed me, and completely tired me out.
Then one night I performed in Angel in front of circus friends, it was a bit of a laugh and a joke, and a friend of mine (fellow handbalancer) asked me to put in a certain trick -so I added 3 new tricks. 1 I had never performed and 2 I never had done in this act…Well the music messed up to begin with, which I just found funny but the added pressure of having circus people there gave me an incentive to work hard and I played with the audience and really enjoyed myself and nailed all my tricks. Then I went back to the restaurant and it was the same as always, mediocre. A couple weeks later I then performed Mack the Knife at Cafe de Paris, (I had to change the act around because of the new venue). Again this act was back to the good old days, nice and solid, good performance and character, and felt and looked great.
So what was wrong?
I realised I had got bored, I had got complacent, I had got comfortable and stopped trying, I needed something new, new challenges, something to drive me in my performances, something to make me push hard for what I’m doing – not think about what I’m eating for tea, do I need to cut my nails or wow I hope I don’t smell maybe I should have a shower, while I’m performing.
I have now added in 3 new tricks, 1 of which I really struggle with in training but because of the stage and audience it means I have to work harder because I can’t fall, I’m now getting this move quite reasonably. I have always made myself count every 1 arm for 3 seconds until I move but I had forgotten about that so I start doing it again and its cleaner, it’s more solid it’s what a handbalancer should look like. So I did the same for Mack the Knife, I’ve added in a few little tricks, I’ve added in a few more little character moments and started to enjoy it and have fun.
And last night I performed my act the best I ever have, flat Mana, legs together in a side 1 arm 3 seconds solid and clean. Now this is how it should always be.
When they talk about success they talk about reaching the top. Well…. There is no top. You’ve got to go on… not stop at any point.