Chicago Week 9 : Emotional Endurance

Week 9 was our second lab week, during which the guest instructor, George Orange, took over all our afternoon classes.

George is a clown.

If you know me, you know I’m pretty much a clown in daily life. But you may not know that I aspire to bring that element into my circus persona. Clowny Silks. It’s a thing. Or rather, I’m making it a thing.

Our week started by George explaining that while we have many other coaches working on our physical endurance and skillset, he would be working on our emotional endurance. We practiced being vulnerable a LOT.

Each afternoon started with some movement and games followed by a little bit of miming. Then we moved on to dancing with a partner as if we were totally in love and in sync. But then George would have us check in with ourselves. Were we getting bored with our dance partner? Was the style working? Did someone else’s style seem more appealing?

And then we would switch around partners. I found it interesting to see how my own dance style changed depending on my partners, as well as watching other people adjust to different partners.

Literally the only picture I took last week. But hey, new record!

Literally the only picture I took last week.
But hey, new record!

For one exercise, we stared into our partners’ eyes while George narrated the reunion of long lost lovers. The goal was to convey emotion clearly through only facial expressions. Like the dancing, it was fascinating to see how different pairings interacted. Certain pairs couldn’t stop giggling. Others nearly cried.

We practiced entering the room, connecting with the audience, standing on stage, telling a terrible joke, then leaving. The concept was to embrace “Mr. Flop” and to save the performance.

If you don’t know Mr. Flop, imagine standing on stage while there are crickets and blank faces in the audience. THAT’S Mr. Flop…and it’s terrifying.

We did a similar exercise where we came on stage, said, “My name is ____, and I do this.” And then we did stupid human tricks, trying to keep the audience engaged for as long as possible. I ended up bruising my fingers from my strange clown act, but my brain was (and still is) reeling from all the potential.

Until next time, which will probably cover 2 weeks since I’m a week behind…whoops. XD