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Meet new acrobat Lauren Herley..

Tell us about your background? What were you doing before you joined Circa?
I graduated from the National Circus School of Montreal in 2012 as a specialist in vertical rope, contortion and handstands, but I constantly trained in solo and group acrobatics as well as my curiosity and love for hand to hand and many other circus disciplines. The day after my graduation I began full time creation with Cirque Eloize, where I was part of the original cast of ‘Cirkopolis’ and toured Europe, Mexico and North America for two years. I also took part of Pippin on Broadway, where I was able to work with Gypsy Snider of Les 7 Doigts de la Main and Diane Paulus. Where I was able to do very many things, from singing, Fosse choreography, to group acrobatics, contortion, hula-hoop, show girl stage work, and many other acrobatic and theatrical challenges.

What is it like moving from Montreal to Brisbane?
I am used to living on tour, traveling and adapting to new places in the world. But moving from Montreal to Brisbane is a little different because it is like going from one circus head quarters to another. I already feel as if I have a new family and a place to call home. The people here are all incredibly welcoming and friendly. As challenging as it is for me, my love for working with Circa and Yaron continues to grow each day. It’s also very hot here.

Tell us about What Will Have Been.
For me, ‘What Will Have Been’ is about the dramatic line between the past and the future. Therefore, the present moment becomes a mystery, unknown of how we arrived there. We are in continually needing to be in a state of discovery, asking ourselves, “have I been here before? How can I go back?” For me, the show is about the unknown, that haunting state about those who have left us and those who have been with us before and the nostalgic, beautiful and painful memories we try to find a way back to.

The show will make its world premiere in a Spiegeltent at Norfolk and Norwich Festival in May.

You open the show with a 9-minute corde routine. How physically demanding is that and what is involved in creating an act of that length?
Opening the show is a major challenge and privilege for me. I get to introduce the show and sort of teach the audience how to watch it and embrace it. This act is very different from others I have created in the past (have a look at how I mapped out my rope act in the photo below). It developed from improvisation with Yaron and I and a solo violin piece. Yaron inspired me to go in a direction of always discovering and to be in a state of always becoming, not being. This challenged me as I am doing quite different techniques than I have in past numbers and thinking a lot about simplicity and repetition. In nine minutes I get to know my rope even more.

What music is involved in the show?
We have a live violinist on stage for some of the acts as well as some other classical and contemporary pieces, twisted together with Yaron’s excellent choices of different pieces of electronica.

What’s it like to have live music being performed on stage with you?
To have live music on stage always makes me think of circus in its true authenticity. There is a true beauty in connecting with another human being who is creating the music that drives you from the inside out, connecting you to your art, your body and to the audience. There is nothing like it, live music is a little more dangerous, and especially classical music, old pieces of music that have survived hundreds of years. There is a deep richness to this.

How is it working with the smaller cast of 3 acrobats?
Working with only two other acrobats is incredible challenging and an incredible gift at the same time. Being the only female as well is different. I love working with the two guys. We are able to really take our time to develop some great acrobatic vocabulary of our own and get to know each other’s bodies, and personalities.

What does a normal rehearsal day look like for you?
Usually four hours of very physical training and improvisation with Yaron or running the show at the beginning of the day. This is normally followed by three hours in the afternoon of research, artistic work and more improvisation as well as physical conditioning and taking care of our bodies at the end of the day.

Do you have any pre-show or post show rituals?
Yes, the three of us have developed a show call warm up. Behind the curtain we like to breath together in a circle, I always give the guys a big hug and kiss and always take a moment to close my eyes and touch the ground and give a kiss to it. I’m being thankful for that moment that I am about to share and preparing myself to commit entirely to the time I am on stage.

What can audiences expect to see during the show and feel after they see it?
They will definitely see some very rich acrobatics in groups, duos and solos. I think after the show each audience member will feel different depending on how they have interpreted the show. The audience might feel emotional and also in not know what to feel. I think that they should feel as if they know us after the show has finished.

Have you developed any new skills/acts during this rehearsal period?
Yes, I have gotten stronger as not only a flyer but as a base. I have gotten more confident in group acrobatics and my endurance with my rope has definitely improved. I am learning a lot in improvisation and performance skills and I have improved in some other acrobatic disciplines as well as for future creations… but I won’t say what just yet…

Any final words or comments you want people to know?
‘What Will Have Been’ will be unlike any other Spiegeltent or circus show you have ever seen, it has been the most challenging and yet enriching creation process so far in my life.

MORE DETAILS: 

What Will Have Been will world premiere in the Adnams Spiegeltent in Norwich, UK as a part of theNorwich and Norfolk Festival from May15-23, 2015.  Tickets are available here.
Read more about Lauren and our other ensemble members here.