Earlier in the week I found myself at the National Centre for Circus Arts in Old Street for a Secret Sweat session with Women’s Health UK and Starbucks. When I bought my ticket nothing was said except the date and that it was going to be in London. I was curious and intrigued. Then when they announced that we would be learning circus skills – trapeze work, tightwire walking and acrobatic balancing – I couldn’t wait. This would actually be me living out a childhood dream. For one evening I would be joining the circus.
Before I start there are two things I want to get off my chest because I want to be as honest as possible on my blog:
- I have massive issues with Women’s Health UK. I have written about it here before. There is no diversity in the magazine, especially on the covers, and they view food and exercise in a way I don’t agree with.
- Alice Living was also going to be there. Clean Eating contributed to a sizeable part of her social media fame. I do not put moral value on food – good or bad – and think she was wrong to do so.
So why did I go to this event? To be honest, I really wanted to. It sounded really fun and I was very, very intrigued. And I am so glad I did. My issues with the magazine and with Alice’s previous food moralising didn’t stop me from having a wonderful time.
After the warm up, we were split into groups and told exactly what we would be doing. There were three sections and first I would be acrobatically balancing.
This was the first circus trick we did and I really wish Women’s Health would share more of the pictures they took. There were trust exercises which are so much more difficult as an adult, working in pairs and threes and fives too stand up when back to back without using your arms, and my favourite thing of all balancing on someone’s things as they stood up.
It was exhilarating!
In the end we created a human pyramid. I genuinely thought I would never ever do anything like this but once you know how, it’s surprisingly easy. I wish i had some pictures of this but none have been shared with us sadly.
I don’t quite know why balancing is so difficult for me. For all the yoga and conditioning I do, I don’t think I am getting any better at it. And this I why I found this part of the class the most challenging. We walked across with two sticks helping us, then one stick, then tried to walk across with none. I didn’t quite manage to walk across with no assistance but I was able to balance on one leg without any assistance, and that made my day.
This was by far and away my favourite part of the class. As a group we did three moves – the candlestick, the gazelle, and a third which wasn’t named. I found myself upside down and completely loving it. Genevieve, the instructor, also said that I made it look easy which made my day. I might not be able to balance but I can definitely hoist and contort my body into cool positions upside down.
The Human Pyramid
Once all of us had had a go on all three elements, we all made our way back into the main hall to create one giant human pyramid. I even managed to feel sturdy enough to not use my hands at all.
I had such a good time that evening and really, really want to practice my trapeze work some more. That evening when I got home I told my mum that I wished it was something I’d discovered when I was a child. But better late than never eh?
I don’t know why I never tried something like this before – maybe I will join and run the circus after all (my parents will be thrilled!)