Brazil Holiday: What we’ve been up to so far
Today is the final day of our 2017 Brazil Circus Holiday and as I write, the rest of the group are boarding their separate flights either home to the UK or onwards to experience Carnival in Rio and other new adventures. It’s been a busy three weeks and I’ve been constantly impressed by how much our group have managed to fit in during this short time here (which is incidentally my excuse for not posting more regular blogs during this trip!).
Having assembled our Brazil attendees through last year’s Edinburgh Aerial and Acro Convention, we’re a bit of a varied group who had never actually met each other prior to the trip. I’m Amy, the Head of Marketing and Customer Service at Aerial Edge. Last year I was lucky enough to stay here in Florianopolis and train with Circocan for 3 months. This year I’ve been joined by; Joanna: a graduate of the National Centre Youth Circus programme and the director of Feathers of Dedaleus circus, Stephen: the co-director of Adventure Circus in Perth, Alison: a French financial Analyst who now trains at Flying Fantastic in London, and Holly: a Business Support Manager who trains at South Essex Gymnastics Club.
The prospect of travelling with 4 strangers was a slightly daunting one at first, but supporting each other through intense training in 30 degree heat made us all become close pretty quickly! There’s not an item of clothing between us that hasn’t seen enough sweat, sand and sunscreen for a lifetime! The fact that we were such a diverse group was actually a positive factor, giving this year’s Brazil Holiday a sense of the wider circus community coming together for the experience.
Most of us would describe our main circus discipline as some variety of Aerial (whether it’s Stephen and Holly’s shared love of Silks or Joanna and I’s passion for Flying Trapeze) but here our focus has been much broader. Fitness and Flexibility classes are at the heart of Circocan’s programme but we’ve also taken classes in Acrobatics, Chinese Pole, Handstands and Acrobalance as well as Mixed Aerial and Flying Trapeze. Unexpectedly, it has actually been the ground based classes that our group has benefited from the most here, with the transferrable skills and physical awareness promoted in these making a big difference to our regular disciplines.
During the past three weeks everyone has fallen into different roles in our group: with Stephen helping spot our moves in aerial classes and always having an iphone on hand to record our successes, Alison researching exciting places for us to visit: from fishing villages in the South of the Island to underwater diving in the North and Holly and Joanna making us laugh constantly with Holly’s comedic face pulling abilities and Joanna’s daily post meal regrets: ‘Nutella crepes before fitness was definitely a bad idea…’. As the only Portuguese speaker of the group I’ve been the translator in chief: which has mostly involved chatting with our various Uber drivers (and not letting on when one took a wrong turn and led us through a ‘scenic route’ aka: a rural backwater where we have no 3G or idea where we’re going… Aaand breathe!).
We’ve covered a lot of territory during our time here with our ‘extra-curricular activities’ ranging from diving and snorkelling on the Ilha do Arvoredo- a 1.5hr boat ride away: a fact which none of us had really considered before embarking on the trip (seasickness much!?) to hiking cross country from Ratones to Lagoa where the restaurant we had lunch at is so remote that it’s only accessible by foot or by boat.
A typical day here starts at 8.30 or 9am when we get up and prepare breakfast before cycling 20 the minutes down to Jurerê Sports Centre for morning fitness and flex classes. After these, we take a much needed shower and head for lunch to replenish some of the energy we’ve burned. We then head down to the beach or back to the house for a few hours of relaxing ahead of the evening’s classes which start around 6pm and run until 10. After classes we usually join our fellow students for late night crepes at CineCrepe where all of the crepes are somewhat bizarrely named after Hollywood Actors (I’ll have a Jack Nicholson and Sophia Lauren please…) before our day finally finishes around 11pm with the final bike ride of the day 20 minutes up and over the hill to get home.
If we’ve learned anything in our time in Brazil it’s that nothing turns out exactly as you expect it to. Such was the case with our planned ‘night out’ after the Circocan student showcase last week. We were all keen on the idea of going clubbing, but when the time came to gather everyone and go, the mood of the group was much more in favour of food trucks and fries than busting our moves on the dancefloor.
In this beautiful, crazy country timekeeping and the process of making plans is much more fluid than at home. Your best bet is generally to keep calm and enjoy the ride: you never know where the next turn in the road might lead to, whether it’s in a rogue uber (which turned out to be driven by an ex commercial pilot) or in trying out a new circus discipline that you would normally pass over at home. With an open mind is the only way you should come to Brazil, and I’ve been impressed at how well our group has adapted to this new existence.