Performing in paradise
Trip Start Jan 14, 2011
1Trip End Mar 01, 2011
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After a 36 hour journey including 3 planes, a ferry and a
water taxi, I arrived at Had Tien beach in Ko Phangang. As soon as I checked
into my dorm and ventured down to the beach, I felt a wave of relaxation come
over me. Crystal clear water in front of me, thick jungle behind. And on the
side? An amazing place called the Sanctuary, where I immediately sat down to a fresh coconut
shake and a raw pad thai (papaya instead of noodles). Heaven.
I met up with the Spark Circus team after lunch. It was
great to finally meet the amazing ringleader of the group, Andrea Russell, as
well as seeing some old friends from England (Emily and Bags) and people I had
met at Hoop Camp USA (Ariel and Serena). Plus all the new people I was about to
work with. We were 18 in total – a mixture of hoopers, jugglers, poi-sters,
staffers, clowns, magicians and much more. And we had to put together an hour
fire show in the next few days to perform at 5 star hotels around the island
and on Ko Samui.
And so we did. We spent time checking out each others acts,
deciding what fit together, what music we needed and we choreographed a group
My LED hoop act was chosen to go in the show and I was also
involved in a group rope piece (ropes are like poi but longer and with much
more fire). Costumes were decided and we rehearsed in the coconut grove – all
Between rehearsals there was plenty of time for play. We did
lots of acroyoga to chill out and stretch (google it if you don’t know what it
is, it’s amazing!). Emily and I set a goal to do 3 handstands a day (I can hold
mine for about 1 second, max, so working on staying up longer). We swam and
lazed about on the beach. We ate incredible food – fresh coconut shakes, papaya
salad, pad thai, fruit salad and more, all super fresh, delicious and cheap. I
trained hoops in the morning, putting in some good practice sessions (4 hoop
split nailed! 5 hoop on its way). And we checked out the amazing wildlife in
the area = roaming bison, baboons
foraging for coconuts, big colourful birds and enormous butterflies.
For our first show we were super excited and a little
nervous. It was a small show outside a local restaurant called Big Blue and
although we didn’t have the biggest audience, our performances went really well!
We fire jammed afterwards and danced in a local bar, riding high on the energy
of the group. It was amazing to be among such talented professional spinners,
and I felt inspired and motivated by their fantastic work.
The following night we did a second show, a big one this
time! The lovely restaurant I mentioned, the Sanctuary, held a big auction to
raise money for Spark. People from all around the island donated their goods
and services (massage, clothes, yoga classes etc) and we auctioned them off in
between fire acts. We raised 80 000 baht, an amazing achievement, which will go
straight to the kids in Mae Sot. The show went really well and once again I was
seriously impressed by the professionalism of my fellow performers – they rock!
After 5 days on Ko Pangang, I was sad to leave the island
the following day. It’s a totally chilled place, it’s cheap, the people are
lovely and the food is incredible. I know I’ll be back there sometime soon.