Hello and welcome to an exciting new series! One of the wonderful things about circus is the variety of people involved, all with their own unique journeys to stumbling across the circus. We’re featuring stories of a selection of students, performers, teachers, directors and more, delving into their reasons for starting circus and where it has taken them.
First up is Andy Davey, an avid student who has been training for the past 7 years in contortion and aerial hoop.
How & why did you get started in circus?
I went through a bad headspace and rough few months at the end of 2010, and a friend took me aside and wrote some goals, one of which was to learn contortion. This led me to an internet search for classes and to learn about it. And on the 31st of Januray, 2011 I went to my first contortion class, just 3 weeks after losing my father. It literally created a new journey path and became a life changing event for me.
What was your first introduction to circus?
My first introduction to circus was as a kid, and going to see the traditional circus in a tent, I specifically remember going to see Silver’s Grand Magic Circus whenever it would come to visit my home area.
Who influenced you in your early days?
My very first trainer was a lady by the name of Raine, who I still stay in touch with, and occasionally get to a class with when I can. I was most influenced by my other first teacher, Thom Worrell, an awesome contortionist and aerial hoop performer.
What are people’s first reactions when they hear you learn started circus?
Generally their reaction is shock and surprise as it’s such a complete polar opposite of what they see me doing in my current work/day to day work life.
Circus literally changed my life, and it saved my life in so many ways. It turned my health around, from being on prescription medications for depression, cholesterol etc, to being medication free, happy healthier and having lost over 50kg. It has also opened doors I never knew existed and to meet some awesome and fantastic people that have become a second family to me.
Where has that led you?What has been your biggest challenge in your training?
To maintain consistency and regular training without it getting boring, and to overcome personal hurdles to actually want to go and train each day.
What has been the greatest highlight?
To meet and train with some awesome and wonderful people that are just so amzing as performers and as people. Especially those I met early in my circus journey like Elli Huber, Jacinta Rohan, and Lucia Carbines. And my Circus “momma” Jasmine Straga
What have you achieved you’d never have imagined?
Finally nailing a handstand on my own, it’s been almost 5 years in the making! The next step is to make it into a Walkover!
What motivates you?
My desire to feel better about myself, and to see and believe in my own sense of achievement, after the dark times I have had to push through and work on in my life.
What does your training schedule look like?
A typical training schedule for me in a week is something like this:
Saturday – sleep!
Sunday – aerial hoop class, and stretch
Monday – Training during the day including contortion tricks, aerial hoop, ballet and working on routines. Followed by a get together of the Adelaide Contortion Collective.
Tuesday – More training – mainly stretch and tricks
Wednesday – Work with Australia’s oldest contortionist – Christine Danton and work on my contortion routine on her stage. Then home and onto a general circus class
Thursday – Domestic chores and then my ballet lesson, and then aerials class on triple trapeze, lyra and hoop. As well as general training.
Friday – pack and load the car for work, work on my routine, and then tumbling and stretch lesson and then head to work for the week.
What’s next for you?
I’m totally not sure! I have a contortion routine I’m working on, and also working on an aerial hoop routine as well. I want to have both routines ready and polished for the end of the year. And looking forward to performing them in or around the Adelaide Fringe in 2018.
Where do you hope to be 5 years from now?
I would like to be actively performing with circus as a hobby more than a career, and being involved and giving back to a community that has done so much for me on so many levels.
How can people continue to follow your journey?
I will be debuting my contortion act at Circus Akimbo’s student showcase in April. Feel free to look me up and follow me on Instagram – ATD7007, and follow me on Facebook – Andy Davey.