On the Sunday of the Galway Juggling Convention we gathered some prizes for the games (biscuits, juice, naughty hand drawn pictures, bits of coconut) and as they commenced I gathered my stuff and made for the bus to Letterkenny for the fifth Irish Aerial Dance Fest!

I finally made it to it, after three years! I wasn’t entirely sure what to expect so I decided to approach it from a juggling convention perspective.

I wasn’t totally wrong, but it was similar to a really extreme convention. You get up, you work your ass off, and you party your ass off. Every day was four and a half hours of training, plus warm and cool down, Monday to Friday for two weeks. Not to mind going out, having parties in your apartment, practising for a dance flash mob, and trying to talk to all the cool people.

My undisciplined body was pretty much dead by Wednesday (classic hump day) and I – ahem – had to leave a wall running class 20 minutes early (harness is hard when you’re not used to it! It hurts). I learned so much in the space of two weeks though, even though most of my classes were beginners. It also reminded me what my strengths and weaknesses are.

They offer weekend “taster” courses, too. I was surprised how popular they were. There was a CRAZY number of people who said they’d discovered aerial through these taster weekends. Which is great! Because it’s easy to forget how perfectly hidden the wide world of circus can be when you’re not in it. It might seem clear to someone who sees posts about it on FB and gets emails related to circus nearly very day, but for a long time I had no idea where I could do any kind of circus.

For me the IADF was a great reminder to me, about aerial in general. The trapeze, I’m sure like most people was the thing that really first caught my eye, and at the IADF I saw some amazing stuff that made that trapeze seem kind of magical again. Final impressions; there ain’t no party for like a circus party, and that couldn’t be more true of the aerial-convention’s counterparts. Oh, and if you ever thought women weren’t strong, prepared to be amazed. Aerialists are tanks; tanks in disguise.

Published by Blue Hanley

Galway-based Theatre-maker who loves circus, conventions and travelling.

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