8/31/14 – Loving Limitations

Loving Limitations


So I recently booked a Wheel gig in Houston, hurray! However, the space is 12×20, booo! For those who may not realize how fully limiting 12×20 is, it means it’s actually impossible for me to complete a full revolution in the wheel without rolling off the stage. Thus, 90% of the tricks I regularly use are not possible. Here I found myself, overwhelmed, but then I turned, slapped myself in the face, and said, “Chris, stop whining, you got this.” I started playing and making lists; what tricks did I know that were less than a turn? How could I change existing tricks to make them fit? After a few training sessions, I found myself with a list of elements that I had either forgotten I knew or just made up recently. It took some work, but suddenly I found a whole slew of new tricks. It’s easy to get complacent and keep going with what works, but it is exceptionally rewarding to come up against something that is hard, and revel in the glory of BATTLE! 🙂


This is a post less for people beginning their path with German wheel (or any circus art) and more for those in the plains, the badlands of our training. The place where things are pretty much good, pretty much working, but maybe they are sagging a bit. Maybe you’re not feeling the drive to train as much, or may you’re feeling bored working on the same tricks. Give yourself a challenge: how small can I make this trick, how big, how slow, how fast? Can I do an act with one hand? Can I do an act blindfolded, with my feet tied together, while reciting a poem? The weirder, the better, (kinda like this upcoming metaphor…you ready?)
I like to think about the Wheel tricks I know as my little Wheel garden. Anytime I am training, I am pruning and watering these beautiful plants. But I can’t just make a new plant out of nothing, so whenever I want a new orchid, I have to go forage for it in the deep dark woods. I have been plant-hunting for quite a while and I have many established paths I regularly travel. Unfortunately, the same paths yield the same plants, so I am forced to venture out into uncharted territory. One way of doing that is building a wall across the path and forcing myself to meander. The woods are filled with brambles but while there, you will undoubtedly stumble across some exotic species of tricks (I mean, plants) that others just trodding along their manicured paths will never find. Then you can take these sweet new plants back to your garden and you will have the most badass Wheel garden EVER! So, do that wheelers, do just that. 🙂

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *