Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Adventure Continues

Life has gotten quite intense here in Taiwan. We are working 12 hour days and still have a lot to get done before performances begin August 2nd. Each day seems to be epic, and filled with highs and lows for the whole team. Our group choreography is coming along nicely. The theme of the piece is Monkeys, so we have been doing lots of monkey movement research from breakdancing to contact improv so that has been fun. We also got to create monkey masks. This was the first time I have every molded anything with clay. We started out with a big pile of clay and chiseled away, and molded to find our inner monkey. It was amazing to watch the transformation created with my own hands. I really enjoyed the experience of finding the monkey face in the clay.

I am very excited about my new hoop routine that I have choreographed to an original piece of music by Nick Meehan. It is a very dynamic piece filled with all my favorite hoop moves. It is both lyrical and circus, with a space for my playful (monkey) side to come through. I am excited to perform it for the show, and continue working with this piece at the hooping life premiere when I get back to Montreal.

I am directing a huge community project here in Luodong. We have 14 teams who range from trained dance teams, to the farmers association, to city hall. Each team has between 20 & 40 members. Along with 3 of the other circus artists we are creating choreographies using circus props for the parade that will happen August 21st. Yesterday I got to go to an Arts School where I worked with 30 dance students between the ages of 9-12yrs. With the help of their teacher we created a moving choreography using rhythmic gymnastics ribbons and hoops. None of them speak English so it was quite an experience! Luckily I had a translator there to help. I am learning how to count in mandarin and say up, down, right, left, slow, fast, bigger, smaller, from the beginning, all together now. By the end of the month hopefully I will have at least these words down!

This morning we were the rockstars of the Press Conference so we will probably be on Taiwan TV this week promoting the Parade. It is a pretty significant event in the whole country.

I think I am getting used to being here, however every day seems to be a new adventure, and sometimes I have to pinch myself because it all feels so surreal. Most people ride scooters here, and pedestrians definitely do not have the right of way. Aside from the Czech Artists, we are the only foreigners here. Most of us are vegetarian and the locals think that is really strange. The average meal here goes for about $$1.50-$2. We get a food allowance of $5/day so I am trying to curb my coffee habit, because coffee costs about the same as food.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Day 1 with the Circus

Today is my first full day of work here in Taiwan. I arrived in Taipei on Thursday afternoon after an epic journey from Vancouver to Shanghai, where I spent the night in a hotel. And then a quick flight from Shanghai to Montreal.

Shanghai was interesting and I would like to go back, but I am happy to be in Taiwan, where life seems to be a little more open, and colorful.

Taiwan people are very happy, and I feel like I am in a cartoon. Everything is brightly colored, and miniature... even the cargo trucks. We are staying in Luodong which is on the North East tip of Taiwan. It is a bustling city and we are staying in a temple.

I really feel as though I am traveling with the circus. We are 8 circus artists from all over the world, working intensely together. The work has been divided among us in order to create several numbers for 2 weeks of performing in the street, on the stage, and as the central focus of a parade. The theme is monkeys and there is a whole team of sculptural artists here from the czech republic creating giant monkey characters for the parade.

I am very happy and enjoying every moment of this. It is an honor to work with such talented artists. We had a showing and sharing today of talents, it was one great act after another: contact juggling, clowning, contorsion, poi, hooping, breakdancing, fire dancing and on and on it went.

We will be working with 14 teams 25 people from the local community, developing choreography with them and creating props for them to use. It is wonderful to be able to connect with the local culture.

Last night Michele and I performed at the Dream Community in Taipei. It was a once in a lifetime experience to be welcomed into this local community to perform with fire for a very enthusiastic audience. At the end of the evening they had all the children on stage, with Michele and I performing with our LED Hoops just in front with a Jazz Band playing live in the back. I looked around and thought to myself, WOW, I am so lucky to be here!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

recent adventures

me as a 1920's hula hooper! all gussied up for my cirque du soleil gig yesterday!

Guilty Gunn played an awesome set at PEX Summer Festival. Michele and I got to perform with them. We are hoping to get Nick (right) to come play at the Hooping Life Hoop Jam in August.

Mr. Sparkles, flexin' his pipes!