TEOC Circus: Meet Australia’s favourite female acrobats
Creating gravity-defying shapes in mid-air before adroitly falling on the shoulders of a teammate may seem inconceivable to us, but for the members of TEOC Circus, these antics are a way of life. The four-member group comprising "fiery female acrobats" and their stunning acrobatic performances are taking various festivals across Australia by storm. Their recent act at the Adelaide Fringe earned them five-star reviews, and they are all set to dazzle at Entropy 2018, Perth.
In an interview with TAL, Anna one of the members of the group speaks about the group's introduction to acrobatics and the role the latter played in strengthening the friendship between the group members.
We would love to know about you. Where are you guys from? And, how many members are there in the group?
The original group comprises four girls, but I was nursing an injury during Fringe, so we got another fantastic artiste to join us. We are all from various places! Josie Wardrope is from Melbourne, Alyssa Moore from Ulla Dulla, NSW, Racheal Boyd - the youngest member at 21- was born in the USA but grew up in Melbourne. Maya Tregonning is our latest member who joined us for Fringe, and I am from Melbourne.
We also work as solo artists and perform in other independent shows as. We all are full-time professional artists who make a living through circus!
What excited you about acrobatics? And how did you all meet?
All of us met through different pathways - Soccer, gymnastics, dance, youth circus and cheerleading! Most of us were drawn to the Circus for the two-fold challenge (and reward) that it presents - artistry and skill. Josie, Alyssa, Maya and I went to the National Institute of Circus Arts in Melbourne and completed our Bachelor Degrees in circus. Rachael was an elite gymnast who was introduced to me by a mutual friend when I was looking for a flyer (acrobatic partner).
As someone so emotionally invested in acrobatics, what does the activity mean to you?
I can only answer this question for myself. Acrobatics for me is perfect harmony between artistry, teamwork, trust and skill. I disliked being a solo artist and sought others to build a show with.
I love the close relationships that evolve when you work so intimately with others. Working so close (physically) with each other and having to trust them with your life is no small thing. The performances that come out of this trust is exhilarating and extremely rewarding, and that is what I love about acrobatics!
Who has been your inspiration?
Personally, I idolise Emma Serjeant, an incredible artist and acrobat. A fiercely strong leader and entrepreneur, Emma has always amazed me. She is also honest, generous, warm and talented.
Working together can also bring its share of challenges. How do you deal with disagreements between the teammates?
I know you won't believe this, but we have never had a significant argument. We have a strong open communication policy with each other which is essential to all of us, and no topic is out of bounds.
Please tell us about your Adelaide Fringe experience.
We've had a fantastic response, including multiple 5-star reviews and excellent feedback from individual audience members. Other than the performances, Fringe is nuts! You are rehearsing, walking, performing, warming up, flyering, partying, doing makeup, fixing something, eating or sleeping for five weeks at a stretch. But we loved it!
We anticipate being at Adelaide Fringe 2019, and if you sign up to our mailing list you can stay up to date with our next performances!
What kind of challenges do you face? And, how did you overcome them?
Our biggest challenge will always be injuries. Managing health and bodies of four people over an extended period while training and rehearing is a tough task.
Each of us has had injuries interfering with our schedules. Most recently I suffered a spinal injury which knocked me out for the entire year, and the girls had to teach Maya the whole show in 10 days!
What kind of space do you think Adelaide provides to artists?
Adelaide has festivals like Fringe which provides an excellent opportunity for artists to showcase their talents and network.
However, the current setup of most Fringe festivals, unfortunately, means that it is tough for independent companies to profit. Otherwise, we love Adelaide Fringe!