Wednesday, September 30, 2009

au cirque.

Next time you get an invitation to the circus, be sure to stop and verify.  That's what I'll do next time.  And we're not talking date or time.  Rather, pause to ask the question : will we be watching or participating ? 

Last night my roomate Annie and I had an invitation to le cirque here in Beaune.  Or at least that's what we understood.  When we walked out of our appartment to meet a French friend, we were dressed in what I assumed to be normal evening/circus going attire.  One look from the friend and I knew something was not quite right. 

"You don't have any other affaires (clothes/things) to bring ?" she asked us.  An umbrella ?  Popcorn ?  What does one bring to le cirque in France ? 

"Comme quoi par exemple, what do you mean ?" I asked. 

"You know, anything that you'd be comfortable in.  If you'll be participating and all".  Hold the phone.  Participating ?

Several more worried/confused glances, explications, prodding/convincing followed.  Not wanting to be rude, my roomate and I headed back upstairs to change into... appropriate attire.  Which I decided was leggings and a loose t-shirt. 

We headed out for the second time, admittedly more apprehensive about the whole thing.  I decided worse comes to worst I would just watch, and participate if I wanted to.  Yea. 

We walked about 2 blocks away from our appartment to an old gymnasium across the street, which would have gone completely unnoticed had we not been invited.  We walked in, early for our class, and said hello to the people there.  The room was full of mats, trampolines, juggling balls, costumes, unicycles, wires, ropes, and hoops.  I felt like I had walked into Gymboree (had I ever been) or a theatre dressing room.  Annie and I continued to look at each other nervously, with no idea what to expect, as people poured into the room. 

When everyone had arrived and said their hellos and exchanged their bis we all got into a big circle and started our warm-up.  Which consisted of running around in a chain of people 1. weaving in between people 2. hopping over people 3. leap-frogging over people 4. running underneath a bridge of legs(forward and backwards I might add.  I might also add that I realize how awkward that phrase sounds, 'bridge of legs' but can't really think of a better way to describe it).  The warm-up in itself was enough to have me routing my escape, but luckily it got better. 

The rest of the (bizarre) evening was a time capsule back into my years of gymnastics as a pre teen.  Somersaults, handstands, cartwheels (roues in French), roundoffs.  And when we switched groups and went over to the trampoline, we did straddle jumps, vaulting, and front flips.  Which I found out (to my delight) I can still pull off.  It was without a doubt, one of the strangest athletic experiences I've had, and one I was not in the least expecting.  Oh le cirque. 

At the end of the night the director asked Annie and I if we would like to come back and join the club- they gather Tuesday and Wednesday nights to practice, and generally have several performances "des spectacles" throughout the year.  We said we would think about it. 

You never know, right ?  I guess if one Monday morning I wake up and decide I'm absolutely sick of teaching middle school English, I could always run off (or down the street) and join the circus. 

Was your Monday evening any bit as eventful ?



Taylor said...

I loved your post! But wow, my life is boring. My Monday evening consisted of ginger tea and research for a paper on Mexican national identity in painting from 1867 to the 1920's.... :D

Lindsay said...

Oh my goodness!! I'm dying!!! This is hilarious - especially the warm-up part. I admit, my nights are not nearly as much fun.

food for thought.

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