Yesterday, June 9th, was the first day of classes for the troupers. It was an early start, with breakfast at 7:30 instead of the previous 8:30. Feelings of nervousness had dissipated, and the troupers’ chatter over french toast and eggs at breakfast turned to what classes they’d be attending that day- should they try something new, or go with the apparatus they’re familiar and comfortable with? Most went with a mixture of both, wanting to practice their specialty but also interested in branching out.
After warmups, all of the troupers stayed in the academy tent where coach Sellam taught acro and pyramids. Everyone brought different strengths to the ring, and it was exciting seeing the troupers working with people they hadn’t worked with before to put the skills together.
Perhaps the best part of a circus is its’ ability to bring people of all different cultures together through a common language- laughter! Though we may speak different languages, we all laugh in the same way- at clowning class the coaches demonstrated slapstick, and I was impressed to see how serious they take being funny. Meanwhile in the wire tent, wire coaches Estelle and Mila taught two students in a mixture of Spanish and English, and everyone picked up a few words in a new language (like that “brazo” is Spanish for “arm” and “pierna” is leg).
Of course, every class had a different rhythm and tone to it. From chinese pole to ball juggling to fabrics, it amazed me to see the troupers displaying their talents in so many different ways. These kids come from all over the world- three other countries (Cuba, Mexico, and the UK) and nine different states- and I can’t wait to see how all of the acts come together for the first performance of Oz Incorporated in just a few weeks.