15 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
Every night from about 7:30pm onwards, the street vendors setup show outside the school. It’s a simple little setup, a trough with charcoal, a rickety wooden seat, small tiny tables, and cheap plastic chairs. You’d go there and order what you want and it’ll be cooked for you over the coals. Simple but extremely tasty. The most popular item on the menu would definitely be the lamb skewers. Tasty morsels of meat & fat barbecued till succulent perfection, with a touch of chilli powder.
14 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
Feicha, roughly translated into “flying fork” or “flying trident”. At first glance, Feicha looks a lot like contact staff. In fact, when I first saw it, I thought that it was a restrictive and boring form of contact staff. I am unable to find much information on the history of Feicha online. But I have been told that it was once a skill demonstration that the guards at the Forbidden City would perform every morning for the emperor.
12 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
One of the skills that I’ve been training here is Straps (also known as Pitiao). Wang Laushi has been teaching me for a few lessons before I was officially enrolled in the school. He has a habit of shouting alot, not in an angry or aggressive tone, but just loud. Unsurprisingly this has earned him the nickname of “Shouty”. His favorite line it seems is “ing wen jiang, very good!”.
11 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
Yesterday marked the end of my first week of official training and my second week at the Beijing Circus School. My progress seems to have stagnated this week. No big improvement in Feicha, nor straps, nor tumbling. In fact I managed to strain my back from straps on Thursday. And yesterday I rolled my right ankle in tumbling class. It’s so frustrating that it happened while I was walking on the tumble strip (which is just a bunch of scatter mats covered with a long carpet).
7 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
I went though the “jian mian” (see/view face) session this morning. The school wanted to see where I was at physically and what skills I already had. It was pretty simple, a few flexibility tests and a quick demo of other skills that I had. It all went well except for my subject choices. First, the school refuses to let me do Aerial Silks or Lyra. They initially didn’t even want me doing straps.
6 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
The school has finally gotten my medical results and I am to be interviewed/tested tomorrow morning. Looks like formal classes will start soon. But I’m still not going to hold my breath for Aerial Silks classes to be open or available. Today has been a good day for Feicha. I began consistently nailing a Feicha throw into a something like a Steve (both while turning around and standing still) from a vertical Feicha propeller today.
4 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
Today was gloomy, both the skies and my mood. Ended up going over to Coolgers for some tea and Internet access. Still feeling tired, frustrated and overwhelmed, I decided that my contact staff skills have stagnated for far too long. So, I went to the Home Of Poi forums and MCP’s site to see what new in the staffing world these days. I downloaded a whole bunch of tutorial videos from MCP’s site to watch when I got back to school.
4 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
I’m still not an official student here yet. I might actually be enrolled proper in the coming Monday or Tuesday. But so far I’ve been able to observe (and at times participate at varying levels) a few classes. A number of the teachers here are pretty cool with me trying to sneak into classes to learn despite being jerked around by the school administration. Also, I might end up doing Lyra instead of Aerial Silks here.
3 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
Today, at my second unoffical straps class, I held my first side planche! I wasn’t really expecting it but it happened. Basically during class, we start off by doing 5 set of holds. 10 seconds of front planche (Chinese style, palms facing inwards and arms bent), back planche, meat hook, and 30 seconds of side planche. Needless to say, the teacher was impressed, holding a side planch in just 2 lessons.
1 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
One usually finds cool enclaves while on travel. One such place is a little cafe tucked in the upper levels of Meilainmei. It seems also that the staff here love acrobats. Which is great for us since we get discounts. And there’s wireless internet access here. Awesome!
1 September 2009 / Travel / Circus
It’s my last night in the 3 person dorm. I was going to move into the spare room at my friend’s apartment for a few days, but received word that a single dorm has become available. I really couldn’t be bothered to move twice in as many days so I opted just to stay in the 3-man dorm for 1 more night. I think my friends were a little disappointed. But then I didn’t have a change of clothes and toiletries when I was met up with them earlier today.
31 August 2009 / Travel / Circus
I’ve just finished my 2nd day at the school. I thought as soon as I turned up at school, I’ll get to training pretty much in a day or 2. But no, the administration here is appalling! First, they insist that after my 7 days of “quarantine”, I must still be subjected to a medical examination that takes about 3 to 4 days for the results to get back. Surely this could have been done before I even got to school.