LCL Exchange Toulouse
In a time of corona virus lock down it seems like another time, looking back in those halcyon days when we were free to roam Europe let alone our own street!
When I received the email saying I had been one of only 2 people to be selected to go to Toulouse to the LCL exchange I was both surprised and excited, in fact I had completely forgotten I had applied for it in amongst the daily madness of running a Circus school. The idea of getting together with other Circus practitioners from all over Europe for a week of learning and exchanging ideas and methods, fully funded and in Toulouse where the iconic Lido is based was like being told i’d won the lottery.
I arrived in Toulouse with a bit of trepidation, like most people I knew no one and i’m not always great at being outgoing in big groups of people, but the way the whole week was structured made it very easy and almost seamless for the group to integrate. We had a delicious first dinner the night we arrived which was a great opportunity to meet some of the people (others were to arrive the next morning). I was excited to make some connections with the people I used to work with in Spain, it always amazes me how small and familiar the global circus community is.
It felt like a great privilege to be going to Le Grainerie everyday and seeing how a great and prosperous circus venue works in a country where Circus is very much integrated into the culture and therefore supported and valued, we had the opportunity to see what this looks like in action in a work in progress show we were invited to one evening. We also had the opportunity of a tour around the Lido and to see one of their monthly student shows. It was brilliant spending our days intensively working through elements of LCL the methods, philosophy, practical application to circus and the issues with it, and then being able to connect that with the art form of circus in the evenings in such an inspiring context.
It was reassuring to discover that we already use more LCL methods than I imagined in our school and it was great to be able to delve deeper into the theory of those methods and expand on them as well as learning and sharing new methods. I was blown away by the openness and compulsion to share and support that everyone showed during the week. It was a very exhilarating environment to be in.
It was very sad leaving Toulouse with the Corona virus looming on the horizon, it had already significantly impacted a lot of the people there but it was yet to come into full force in the UK. In this worrying time where it seems like our whole lives and livelihoods are under threat it is very reassuring to know that we are embraced by such a strong and inspiring circus community out there of people willing to fight for it.