Fire Pixie

The Rhythm of Japan

January 27, 2013

We are just about halfway through our performances here at Huis ten Bosch, and we've settled into the rhythm.  We usually sleep in a bit, until 9:30 or 10, then get up and have tea, make breakfast (on the unbelievably slow and underpowered hot plate) and then do a little wandering during the day - visiting local shrines, exploring the neighborhood, or taking a train trip into town for shopping.  

Our work day starts at around 4, when we pedal our bikes into the park and start getting ready for our shows - makeup, lots and lots of stretching, prop repair, etc.
The first show is a mini (solo) at 5, then we've got shows at 6, 7, and 8 and sometimes 9 and 9:40.  We all like that they're pretty much back-to-back so there's not a whole lot of waiting around.
We are becoming absolute masters of efficient shake-off and show prep.  We can prep all 14 props in about 8 minutes, give or take.  
We are also becoming masters of performance in inclement weather.  Who needs to be able to feel their fingers while fire dancing?  Not us.  30MPH gusting winds during fire eating?  Not a problem.  Last night I found myself balanced on Darrell's shoulders, leaning waaaay back while a terrifying gust of blizzardy, snowy wind nearly put my fire poi right out.   I just smiled and gave the crowd a wink.
The audiences are troopers, huddling in their coats and braving the conditions to see us out there in the storm.  It's a little rough on us, though... they clap, with their gloves on, and we can't hear them.  They're too cold to cheer and they're all covering their faces so we can't even see them smile.  But they stay to the end, so I guess that means they like us.
We pedal home in the moonlight, and the next day we wake up and do it again.  The sameness is strange to me.  I ran away to the circus partly because I want each day to be different, and here I am, reporting to work at the same time every day, following the same routine.   I'm trying to let it relax me.  No worries about where to be, no decisions to make, no problem.  I must admit, I will be happy to get back to a life where the day of the week actually matters. 
It's also fascinating to me how accustomed I'm getting to the absolute weirdness of our environment.  Electric disco swans and people in giant tulip costumes no longer get a second glance.  It's just Huis ten Bosch.  
It's still a challenge, and we're still dragging home exhausted every night, but it's manageable.  The main variable of each day is still the weather.  Fire dancing in a blizzard is really no fun at all, and if the temperature gets way up into the 50s we all find ourselves grinning like idiots all day long.  Muscles and joints are not made for below-zero-acrobatics, and while the heat of the fire helps make it possible for us to do this at all, it's still not much fun in the bitter cold.  

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