07.07.2012 - 08.07.2012
I only went to the circus a few scant times in my childhood. I was awed mostly by the animals, and by anything that had to do with flexibility in high places. I also had the privilege of seeing Cirque du Soleil in Orlando a few years ago; but the real talent, in my opinion, lies in street artists. People that have taken on a random skill such as juggling knives or miming in roller skates, just because they can. The greatest physical talent I have is still being able to touch my toes in the morning…which is why I’ve become an enormous fan of Balkan music- one of the few genres that asks little of its followers in terms of dancing skills.
Like big, floppy shoes on clown feet, these two scenes came together last Saturday in a Balkan circus talent fest. Mexico has, in the past several years, become host to the movement of Balkan music, which you can read more about here: Balkan Music in Mexico. As Facebook has taught us, we’re all just one big community, so why not join one nomadic group with another? This evening was the inauguration of an independent circus, inspired by random talents around Cuernavaca. The group is planning a course to teach circus to children (and maybe even me). Abilities include the tightrope, juggling, somersaults, gymnastics and much more. Musical guests included Casa HOY’s very own DJ Gadjio, 2 other DJs, and other local bands. Along to the beat of DJ Gadjio, who was mixing rhythms from his grocery cart DJ booth, people spun fire, hung parallel to the floor from tent towers and swan dove to within a few inches of the floor with their partner catching them at that last moment before impact. It was a night of sharp inhalations as you stared mesmerized, sure that some poor soul was about to shatter their jaw. Or face. Or worst of all, possibly smudge their meticulously applied circus make-up.
Circus talent is one that many people secretly cultivate. Your neighbor, the restaurant owner, turns out to be an amazing dancer, or the guy that waits tables at the cafe you love to go to is the base for a human tower. A fellow, former teacher confessed to being a "fire slut," using her talents to carry her around the world: The tales of a "fire slut". My father, a fundraising executive, taught me how to juggle. All of these personalities come out in the twilight of the circus tent, under face paint and an encouraging environment of acceptance. This Balkan-Circus fusion encompasses the positive elements the two genres offer- creativity, physical training and appreciation, adrenaline, confidence, and release, with participants and audiences that bridge class and culture.
At the beginning of the party, I was quite flustered to realize that in this new combination of Balkan and circus that I could no longer jump around with no rhythm as I am normally wont to at DJ Gadjio’s parties. People took to the stage spinning, pirouetting, somersaulting, and I would have to have something more interesting to do besides standing like a flamingo on one leg if I was to step onto the dance floor. I was suddenly clunky and talentless again. Fortunately as the combination of beer and other circus “elements” slowly took hold, people succumbed to the frenzied trumpets and drums, and I could finally participate by kicking my wannabe combat boots in the air. I vowed to relearn my juggling abilities, ready to take on the next Balkan-Circus party as my own.