Be or do? that is the question
In the circus
I’ve been an advocate of “Being with” for many years. This being what it is, creating contemporary circus, a trapeze artist originally, I’ve been “doing” quite a lot through the years. Nevertheless, my one and only trapeze teacher Zoe Maistre and the swinging trapeze taught me the secrets of momentum, rhythm, and process. “There are things only time can do,” Zoe used to say to the impatient 25 years old that I was…
Being able to “be with your element”(Circus element, such as trapeze, juggling balls, etc.) is a key concept for us circus people, the need to get to know your element implies a long-term relationship. Becoming one with your element is a whole other level too.
The past five decades brought innovation and evolution to the traditional circus arts we all know. Research has taken a significant role in contemporary circus creation and, consequently, the need to be able to “be with” elements, people, and processes, thus giving time for new ways of work to emerge and develop.
This reminds me of John Daido Loori, who said in his book The Zen of Creativity: “Once you have located a subject that reflects your feeling, it’s important not to rush into the process of expression… Whether it’s a visual object or a sound, subjects change with time. They reveal different aspects of themselves if you’re able to be patient and allow this revelation to unfold”.
And his teacher Minor White: “Photograph who you really are.”