The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly: How to Choose a Trapeze Partner

Posted by: on February 26, 2013

I’d like to say that Laura and I conducted long, well thought out interviews with each other before joining forces, discussing in depth our views on commitment, marketing, and Febreze.  In reality, it happened something like this:

Ring ring, ring, ring, ring..”Hello?” (Remember when we only had home phones?! Yes, that’s how old we are, shut up.)

Anyway, “Hello?”

“Hi, this is Laura, the other redhead you performed with last night. Join me or I break your legs.”

“Wow, I’m flattered. How does Monday look?”

No prenup was signed, no references called, just a not so vague threat of violence and it was love at last. Some might tell you to sign a contract with your potential partner and to work out who gets the costumes and the trapeze if one runs away with the circus. That is probably the most prudent thing to do, but I honestly don’t know that it will lead to a successful partnership. Maybe we just got lucky, but we’ve never had a contract, nor do we plan to.  I like knowing that we have enough faith in our communication to say honest if awful things to each other in strained tones, then hug it out without fear that one of us will empty the coffers and make a run for the border (although truthfully, our coffers might get you a nice dinner in Texas, but doubtful you’d have enough gas to actual get to Mexico).

Can you make it work if the two of you are completely different people?

Yes and no. on the surface, Laura and I are very different. She’s dramatic, I’m cool-headed. She’s a Christian, I’m a Yogi. She comes from theatre, I come from modern dance. She’s from Carolina, I’m from California. You get the idea.  At the end of the day, none of that stuff matters.  Here is what is important to us: commitment, honesty, sense of humor, sense of priorities (cup o’ joes before throws) and a flexible schedule. All the rest can be negotiated.

*An Aside on Drugs and Alcohol. 

If you are Russian, skip this section because all bets are off for you people. Russians can drink vodka all night and it only makes them more precise.  Freaks.

However, nobody in the rest of the world actually has those abilities. They only think they do. So if you aren’t Russian (grandmothers don’t count) and neither is your partner, you will have to keep it in check.  If your significant aerial other is doing blow off a someone’s belly at 4 am and showing up to rehearse at 10 am, you might not get a lot done.  Or worse yet someone gets bounced on their head which isn’t a head’s general purpose.

*Okay, thank you Nancy Reagan for that uplifting message. 

The good news is that the honeymoon period where you think you’ve found the best partner in the entire world lasts exactly a minute and a half. A few nights in the middle of Indiana in a hotel room that smells like your grandmother’s nightgown and you should find out pretty quickly if you have what it takes not to kill each other in your sleep.

Use the first few rehearsals as a way to feel each other out.

You never know what they are into until you try each other out.

You never know what they are into until you try each other out.

Have plenty of mats underneath you and listen to your gut. Your life is quite literally (and I do mean literally) in each other’s hands.  Notice how your partner reacts to your fears and your creative ideas. Start with one act and make it really good. Don’t invest a huge amount in costumes and websites until you think it is going to work. Figure out you work together, who is in charge of what. Time and experience will only make you better, but it is worth taking some time to refine your process. Laura and I worked on our first act every day for about a year.  It is the one that we have also performed the most and remains probably our best act both choreographically and in performance quality.

Well, Aren’t You Two Just so Awesome?    Wait until next week, when things get down and dirty. See, this is better than Jersey Shore.

Our First Act:


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