A bunch of bright-eyed and eager Skirball Student Insiders joined contemporary circus performers, Magmanus, on a Saturday morning to learn what it really takes to make it in the circus.
Strength. It takes a great deal of strength in order to perform the stunts required in a typical show of ATTACHED. From lifting to squatting, Manu Tiger and Magnus Bjøru, the duo behind Magmanus, train smart in the gym in order to be in tip-top shape for performance. Circus demands a ton of upper body strength especially when Magnus has to balance Manu on his head time after time. Students took part in a fun and heart-pounding warm-up before having to carry each other across the room as quick as possible while being as quiet as possible.
Teamwork. There is definitely no I in TEAM when it comes to being a circus performer. Magnus and Manu work together and rely on one another in training and in performance. If one person for one second is out of sync then the whole act will suffer, and so does their safety. There are so many instances where something can go wrong or a trick may not land perfectly but as long as the performers are focused and working together they know they will be safe. Students here worked to lift and move each other around the space in a protected and safe way. This exercise allowed students to feel weightless in the air as they put their trust in the rest of the ensemble to safely move around.
Trust. One of the most important lessons of the day was to build trust in the ensemble. Students were asked to engage in exercises that required them to place a lot of trust in the rest of the group. When Magmanus is doing high-risk tricks, such as when Magnus jumps onto a Teeterboard and sends Manu flying high in the sky and landing on a Velcro mat, they must trust in each other, their rehearsal, and that the equipment is set up properly in order for the trick to go smoothly. Students worked together to create a net formation as their peers were called one-by-one to fall backwards. First, off of a small step of stairs.
Then on a higher platform, a 2-foot box.
And finally the highest level, a 4-foot box.
Oh, we almost forgot! The most fundamental skill required of all circus performers, both novice and highly experienced, is…FUN! In order to make a circus performance truly enjoyable for both the artists and the audience the secret ingredient is to have fun. Strength, teamwork, trust, and fun. All in a days work of the dynamic due Magmanus and their fearless participants, the Skirball Student Insiders.
Take risks, be safe, and join the circus!