Starting Out ‘Late’ in Circus: Paths for Success and Motivation

The circus arts are amazing – any circus person will tell you so. Part of the reason that circus arts are so amazing is because circus is performing strange feats of strength, flexibility, character, and stage presence. However, many circus students start out younger, and for an older student it can be hard to to catch up to their years of training. Here are some essential tips for starting out late and paths for success.
Start with small, achievable goals
Cirus is grand, that is for sure, and when you start out you may want to fly through the sky right away. That can happen, but you need to remember to be realistic with your goals. It takes a lot of strength and practice to fly, base, ride, and juggle with ease and grace. It’s more common for beginners to grunt and wobble their way through. Trying to push yourself too hard without experience can lead to mishaps and injury. Start with small goals and work up from there. Having smaller, more achievable goals will make your experience more rewarding as you can accomplish them and then move to the next one, instead of struggling and never quite getting it.
Ask for help
Never be ashamed to ask for help! No one is amazing at first. Silently suffering doesn’t help you improve and it doesn’t help your trainer understand where you are struggling. Communication is always key, in life and especially in circus. Your spotter and trainer need to know how you are feeling. Plus, if you ask, you can be rewarded with the change of learning something that will make it all click.
Learn from others
Really take time to observe your peers, watch them to find minute movements and tips. Watch for form and timing really visually, to see what your goals are. When someone gives you advice, really listen and hear what they are saying and try to apply it to yourself. Some advice will be good and other advice will be less helpful. You are the one who will inevitable know what is good for you – but it is important to try everything.
Keep a positive attitude
It is really hard to accomplish something if you have a bad attitude. There are people who have the “Whatever” attitude: if they get frustrated, they act like it doesn’t bother them. This will only shut you off from really working towards improvement. Others have the “I JUST SUCK” attitude: as soon as something gets hard, they take it as a personal stab to all that they are. This will only make you feel bad about yourself and hold you back. The best attitude to have is the “I can, and I will” attitude. Support yourself with kind words and thoughts. Everything takes practice and you will eventually succeed. Have confidence in your abilities and push yourself to greater things.
Your circus community is here to support you and lift you up, literally! Try and fly!
– Hannah
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