It’s easy to take on different roles in different kinds of circus relationships. Some friends are more like mentors, some are like apprentices, and others are just sorta friends you hang out with. It all the depends on the circumstances where you meet.
Recently, Julaine Hall and Jordan Rempel-White, both Hup Squad members and students at the School of Acrobatics and New Circus Arts (SANCA), sat down together to talk about circus friendships – with each other and other people. Julaine and Jordan both took a straps class at SANCA not long ago and became closer through it. They also both performed solo straps acts at SANCA‘s annual spring showcase. How do circus relationships differ and how are they similar? Every circus relationship has a story.
Jordan Rempel-White (JR) – Hey, it’s great to see you!
Julaine Hall (JH) – You too!
JR – How’s training been? I see you have pole face all over your neck. (Pole face is when the rubber coating of a Chinese pole rubs on the skin near or on the face making you look like a chimney sweep.)
*We both start laughing and the conversation totally derails, a few minutes later we continue*
JH – Yeah! I’ve been trying to train pole more recently since I came back from the big top tour. I did a rope act there, so I didn’t get a lot of time to train pole. But now that I’m back I’ve been training it more to get ready for an audition.
JR – That’s awesome! Good luck!! How did your relationships with your friends at Smirkus differ from the ones you have at SANCA?
JH – My friendships at Smirkus were very durable. Because we spent so much time together traveling and working together we all had to get along really well. But since we were all striving for a common goal it made it really easy. I’d call every trooper a close friend. They’re like a second family! I think my friendships at SANCA are much more varied.
JR – Really? How so?
JH – Well I befriend lot of people in the younger performance groups and in other classes, but with Cirrus, the performance group I’m in, it feels like a little more business-like than at Smirkus. (Cirrus is the oldest performance group at SANCA (ages 12-18) Nimbus (ages 9 to 12) and Stratus (ages 5 to 9) are two younger performance groups also at SANCA. Julaine has been a member of all three and is a member currently of Cirrus.) But now it’s my turn to ask you! How the tables have turned!
*We collapse into giggles as Julaine accidentally throws a pencil across the room. Conversation continues several minutes later*
JH – Who do you think your first circus friend was?
JR – Yikes, that’s a tough one. I think my first close circus friend was in a couple aerial classes with me, and then a tumbling class, so we really were able to bond over all of our miraculous failings together.
JH – That’s definitely a good way to bond. It takes 1,000 tries to get a skill, and boy, do we know that. Training is a great way to get close with someone.
JR – Very true. That reminds me of our straps class.
JH – And all the bruises too, from all the failed star roll ups we did.
JR – Yeah, I remember after accidentally bending my arm one too many times during a roll up in class, I went home with massive bruises on my upper arms, but unfortunately forgot about them the next day when I went to go see a play with my school.
JH – Ooch, what happened?
JR – I was in a rush leaving the house and forgot to wear long sleeves, so when I was using the bathroom during intermission, like 3 people came up to make and asked me if I was doing okay and my home life was safe for me. They then told me I could borrow their phones if I needed to call a hotline.
JH – Oh, no! What did you say to them?
JR – I tried explaining that it was all from circus, however I think the idea that I willingly let it happen to me via circus worried them more.
JH – Ack, I can feel their disapproving stares from here.
JR – *shivers*
JH – Straps are really nothing to worry about though. They just hurt.
JR – And give wicked bruises.
JH – True true. Well I have to get back to training, but it was awesome talking to you!
JR – You too! It was really fun to catch up. See you around!
JH- You too!