ASK Project Rotterdam October 2019 Kim Lazonby, Leeds Children’s Circus
I was surprised and excited to be selected as one of of the 2 participants to represent the UK for this Circusworks project, it felt like an enormous privilidge.
After some quiet reflection on a journey from Leeds to Amsterdam and then on to Rotterdam, spying on an owl and a cormorant from the train window, it was a short walk to the hostel which was easy to find.
It was cosy and friendly. I had felt a bit strange about going to meet a group of strangers in a city that I had never visited before but I remembered that they were ‘Circus people’ which are my kind of people!
The first night we congregated outside of the hostel and made our way to Whitte de Whit Strasse to meet up for dinner. It was a really fun evening, meeting everyone for the first time and a couple of familiar faces, we had a delicious meal and lots of chatting and laughter, it was a good atmosphere.
It did rain apocolyptically on the way back to the hostel and those of us that picked the wrong moment to leave were soaked to the skin!
The first day we took a water taxi to the circus school it went a lot quicker than I thought it would, hold onto your hat stuff!
We began the day with introductions and Stephen led us through the sessions for the day, it was fun and we played some games to help us come together as a group and learn each others names which I found a challenge as there was 27 of us!
Stephen and Lynn explained the project and our purpose for the rest of the week, to continue the work of the previous ASK projects and contribute to compiling a manual for training assistant trainers.
The rest of the week we split into two groups and one group went downstairs to work on video content and a group upstairs who would work on the format of the manual.
There was much headscratching and deep thinking, I was really in my element because I was talking about the benefits of circus skills and circus play without boring anyone like I usually do!
It was pretty intense in the upstairs group lots of talking and thinking, I learned a lot about things that I already knew, which has extended my knowledge and ways of thinking.
We had discussions about different education models, how classes should be planned, the different needs of the students, there was quite a bit of psychology in there so it was good to find some references to some background reading on these subjects and practitioners to look up, I came across the ‘policeman, nurse, clown’ model for the first time, I realised that I had seen this in practice many times and did it myself but it was great to have it explained to me in that way and it’s a useful tool that I’ll be talking to other practicioners in the UK about.
We had a quick tour of the Codarts building one afternoon, it’s a really incredible place, we watched some students practicing for a performance it was really professional. It would be a fabulous opportunity to study there.
By the end of the week a structure for the training manual was starting to fall into place, we really didn’t see much of Rotterdam as we were working so hard! Shouska organised a walking tour of Rotterdam one evening and it was pretty fascinating what a complex and ever growing future city!
The tour guide was really great and told us all about the history of Rotterdam and see some of the diverse architecture, I still don’t understand how stuff doesn’t fall out of the windows of the Cube Haus!
All in all it was a fabulously productive week with some rather lovely people, it felt really well organised and the structure of the week really worked.
I felt quiet invigorated to have spent so much time reflecting on circus practice, I felt like it had dusted some cobwebs off for me and I returned with a greater enthusiasm to help to get our youth session up and running again.
I’m really looking forward to seeing the completed manual when it is finished!
Thanks for having me!