I met an old friend today; I didn’t see him for a long time. When I was an emerging contemporary circus director in 2003, I saw him work on a solo performance in Auch, France. His name is Eric Lecomte, and his company’s name is 9.81, the gravitational constant. I know, for years I struggled to remember that name, especially since I had him come to Israel to perform at a certain point. One of these rare pleasures I occasionally had. When you know great artists and bring them over to the circus desert that Israel was for so many years…
Rare because there are no budgets here. Not for the circus. Israel is one of the rare countries that does not yet recognize the circus as an art form. Thus the ministry of culture keeps asking you: ‘… right…. circus… so, what does it mean exactly? What do you need from us really…? The answer becomes so complicated that they usually give up after the first meeting.
Then, a few years later, they ask you again: ‘Oh yea, circus, I’ve heard of that form of entertainment you get in business events, right? I just had a circus artist perform on my kid’s birthday, do you know him?’ No, I don’t know him. That’s not the circus I’m talking about.
My kind of circus is an elaborate creation, with a long research period, funded residencies, professional festivals around the world, and world premieres. Something like a budget of 100,000-600,000 NIS for a production…Not the best budget for kids’ birthdays, then there are the themes we work on…You know what, after 22 years of creating contemporary circus in this country, forget it; this blog is worth more than that old discussion.
One of the first people who got me on my artistic path was Eric. When I saw him working on his solo in Auch, I was awe-struck; I knew I was looking at the future of what circus can be, it was deeply inspiring.
So when I met Eric today, definitely a treat, the question that hovered in the air was, ‘so… Where are you now?’ Not physically, of course, but in life. It was a great question that had us both reflect on what really is vital for us now and agree that we don’t have time for BS anymore. How refreshing!
We agreed that there are things we want to do and that there’s not much time left, so we should go for what we want instead of what’s expected of us. I love that question! Thank you Eric, for inviting me to meet today. Eric invited me to see a show, not his creation, he is just doing the rigging for it. Nice show. Too perfect for my taste… I was missing some imperfection, some humanity, some more profound sense than just beauty, even though beauty is lovely…. but not enough for me…
My point is that I came to see a show, but more than anything else, I came to meet an old friend that inspired me for many years as a performer and creator. The memory of seeing him doing his personal research in that old circus tent in Auch is in my heart forever. It put me on a path I had to research for myself, on which Eric, with a few other precious people, put me simply by being who they are, wherever they were back then.
We have all undoubtedly changed; 19 years is a long time. There is an old bond, though, which is cherished and makes me smile with tenderness every time I’m reminded of it. Grateful for having been there then, and where we were today, remembering, bringing our friendship to the here and now.
So, following Adam Grant‘s advice, that question is a great question to ask yourself at least once a year: Where are you now? And give yourself an honest answer and possibly follow with the following question: is this where you want to be? And possibly also, what about next year, where do you want to be then?
Think of me like an old friend, who’s asking you this question, and take this opportunity to give yourself an honest answer to live by.
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