Double Dutch

A lot of my work over the last years has been teaching based, and this month found me teaching for the first time at the circus school in Holland.

I mean, at the circus schools in Holland.

Both Rotterdam and Tilburg now boast circus departments within the auspices of a university organisation. Both offer four year bachelor programmes. Codarts in Rotterdam are about to present their second graduating year, ACaPA in Tilburg their first.

Another difference:

Codarts school hall
Codarts school hall
ACaPA circus tent
ACaPA circus tent

When coming in for a week, I am always torn between wishing to spend the short time available doing strict technique classes, or to rather concentrate on eg choreographical / concept based work. I hope always that I find a balance between these two, but manage always to come away wishing that I’d had more time…

The major difference between the two schools, or rather the one that has the most effect relating to my work at them, is that Codarts has a permanent juggling teacher in the shape of Gregor Kiock. This means that I can trust the students to have, and to keep to, a consistent and strict technique training programme. It also means that my guilty conscience at tweaking people’s technique is made even guiltier…

It feels so good to make tiny physical corrections (hand position, cross point etc) to someone’s pattern and to instantly see an improvement. That work can feel just as creative and valuable, sometimes more so, than seeing the results of a pure conceptual exercise. Hopefully both will make an impression of some kind on my students.

My next stop in the world, after a single and all too brief day at home in Cologne, shall be the GOP Varieté in Hannover, where I shall be for all of May and June. Sometimes my job feels like several different jobs. Which seems like rather a healthy and challenging, if somewhat stressful, position to be in. Come visit me if you happen to be near!

Photos with Photosynth on iPhone

http://twitter.com/#!/CircusGeeks/status/64300179033047040

Technology Tips for Circus Artists – 3

The third instalment to the series which aims to make your hours behind your desk that bit easier.

Tip Number Three: Keep Your Inbox Empty

Having a job where you have to travel all the time can make staying on top of the inbox a bit of a hassle. I use a technique taught in the book ‘Upgrade Your Life’ by Gina Trapani. The method is simple.

Create an ‘Archive’ folder and remove the 1000s of old e-mails from your inbox and move them into the ‘Archive’ folder.

Next create two new folders called ‘Hold’ and ‘Follow Up’.

Now as soon as an e-mail comes into your inbox read it. Judge how long it will take to respond to the message.

  • If it will take less than 1 minuet or is really urgent deal with it then and there. Then move it into either your ‘Archive’ or ‘Hold’ folder.
  • If it’s going to take longer than 1 minuet move it into your ‘ Follow Up’ folder.
  • If it’s an important message that you are going to use in the next few days move it to the ‘Hold’ folder.

Do not leave e-mails in your inbox.

Put any follow up e-mails on your todo list, do not let them linger in your ‘Follow Up’ folder unanswered for more than a few hours. Empty your ‘Follow Up’ folder a three or four times a day.

Empty your ‘Hold’ folder once a week.

If you stick to this method you should become quicker at responding, more organised and feel less intimidated by your e-mail.

If you use a smart phone (iPhone, Android, BlackBerry etc.) then you can probably use push notification with your e-mail account. This basically means e-mails arrive on your phone as soon as they have be sent so you can keep up message by message. The only thing to bear in mind about push e-mail is that it can eat up your battery.

If you want to learn how to set up push e-mail on your phone then I suggest googling ‘push email <the brand of your phone> <the name of your email provider>’. For instance ‘push email iphone hotmail’.

If you found this tip helpful or have any suggestions please leave a comment below.

Housekeeping

I just googled “first blog”, and didn’t find anything to help me out. So, I guess I am on my own…

Except I am not! I was always wary of blogging, partly because I felt it was too egocentric (perhaps a strange worry for a performer to have), and partly because I was concerned with having enough material to keep it up to date. Well, with this new blog collective (a blogollective?) those pressures are gone, and I can, hopefully, write some stuff without too much fear.

A quick housekeeping of the last 4 weeks:

i. 3 days in Barcelona: working as “outside eye” (outside eye is the new directing!) for circus company “eia”.
ii. Berlin: social visit (and a killer poker hand), training.
iii. 5 days in Rotterdam: teaching at the “codarts” circus school (http://www.codarts.nl/01_home_en/04_circ/index.php).
iv. Cologne (HOME!!!): rehearsing magic acts with Ken Bardowicks in preparation for our month together in GOP Hannover in May. Because we won’t see each other again until that time…
v. Berlin: social visit, plus attending a lecture by Erik Åberg on Paul Cinquevalli, and watching Wintergarten show (Paul Ponce!).
vi. 2 days in Bad Pyrmont: visiting the retired (on three separate occasions) juggler Bob Bramson (http://www.juggling.org/fame/bramson/).
vii. Now in Seattle, USA, for the Moisture Festival (http://www.moisturefestival.org/). Sitting in a strange kitchen, watching my replacement iPhone sync, wishing I had shows before Thursday…

OK, so I guess I shouldn’t worry about lack of themes to write about in the coming weeks.

More shall follow!