Handstands on the Road

Final Feedback Round – The Very Last of the Summer

After the rich and relaxing days off, it was time to return to the Sirkhane circus centres, to teach some more, to share the love and joy we collected each day. Yet, during the last week, it became harder for me to focus. Already excited about my next stop, Budapest, and with the guest house getting emptier almost every day, I had to rely on teaching to call me back to the here and now.

The beauty of instructing physical training, be it aerials, acrobatics, rock climbing, anything with an element of danger to it, is that it is virtually impossible to zone out, to get caught up in one’s own thoughts.

Teaching basic Poi (that stuff is more dangerous than you might think at first glance…) at Spark Circus in Thailand, a little while ago!

During a rather challenging time of my life, teaching rock climbing is what got me through it – even if I arrived for work emotionally unstable, caught up in some personal struggle or other, for a blissful one and a half hours, this wonderful gig allowed me to forget everything that wasn’t relevant right at that moment. My brain simply doesn’t have the capacity to worry about stuff and look after a group of children pursuing a potentially dangerous activity at the same time.

And once time was up and reality came rushing back to me, I still stood a bit straighter and held my head a bit higher with the pride of someone who did a bloody good job: I had taught a kid a new trick. I had pushed someone to exceed their expectations of what they thought they could achieve, made someone’s day. I made a little girl smile a real big smile, made a grown man cry with relief or helped a bunch of friends simply have a good time.

Sometimes, when you witness that moment where it just clicks, teaching can be one of the most rewarding gigs out there. This picture belongs to Sirkhane

That being said, yes, there were still days when all I longed for was for classes to be cancelled. Imagine it a little bit like diving into an ice bath: the start is the worst bit. Once you get going, it’s actually pretty good fun; even on the day when I was given the 5-7 year olds. Not my usual target group, they were really cute, and really cooperative, pretty excitable and had great team spirit. Only their knowledge of the English language as well as their understanding of all things health and safety was somewhat limited.

The smaller ones at Sirkhane. Credit for the picture goes to the wonderful Özüm Baykaş.

After a lighthearted dance and jumping warm-up (The correct Turkish word here, by the way, is ısınmak, which must under no circumstances be confused with ıkınmak, a very specific Turkish verb describing the process of pushing out a number two on the toilet. Yeah, guess how I learned that one…), the small children then proceeded to do a bit of gymnastics, such as doing enthusiastic forward rolls onto a big heap of their peers. Eventually we moved on to the trapeze – one trapeze for about 20 tiny, impatient humans that hadn’t quite figured out how to successfully share 5m2 of space on the mats. Obviously, the concept of taking turns was rather unpopular, limiting the poor children to only two acceptable options:

  1. Holding on to the trapeze. This was obviously the favoured option.

  2. If option 1 was not possible because someone was already on the trapeze, holding on to that person was the next best thing.

Some days, teaching kids is the most rewarding thing. Other days, you celebrate when nobody gets injured and you all make it to the end of the session.

The right to play, to explore, to discover, to learn with our bodies, is so important, especially for children! This is adorns the walls of the Nusaybin Sirkhane centre and I love it.

By the end of my last day in Istasyon, my energy and patience levels were somewhat depleted and I was happy once we made it to the final feedback round – in which the interpreter relayed so many words of sincere gratitude from the children to me that I instantly knew I would do it all over again. And thanks to a last-minute change in centre logistics, I did exactly that. Back for another round of teaching, feedback and goodbyes at the same centre the day after, more than one of my little participants said some variation of “I want to be you when I grow up.” Oh, if only you knew! The love and kindness was overwhelming, along with the knowledge that I had managed to inspire those kids out there in Istasyon. I could barely leave that day, engulfed in an enormous group hug by half the centre’s attendants, all but swallowed up by so much love.

There is so much love to go around at Sirkhane, it is a wonderful experience. This picture belongs to Sirkhane.

This concludes the summer tales, moving on to autumn and winter, leading me via Budapest, Szentendre, Vienna, Totvazsony, Sölden, Steyr, Salzburg, Rodenbach and Frankfurt to Stockholm where I am now.

After one of the hottest, longest, most epic summers of my life so far, I am ready for one of the coldest, most epic winters of my life yet.

Sunflower fields forever… this one was one of the best summers yet!!

Stay tuned for news from the handstand course at the Dans och Cirkushögskolan, short DOCH, and my adventures in Sweden.

Kicking off the autumn and winter handstands in Frankfurt at the Palmengarten





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