Posted by Meredith Benke Bell
Year 12 Sandfly participant and trainer, Aliysah Conopo, recently attended two weeks of intensive training at the National Training Project (NTP), an annual winter circus training opportunity at the Flying Fruit Fly Circus. Aliysah’s attendance was part of an exciting new cultural exchange between our two circus programs.
I spoke with Aliysah after her trip to hear more about the experience.
Meredith: Aliysah, can you describe what an onlooker would see if they walked into the Fruit Fly training space in the middle of the NTP?
Aliysah: Well, it would look like chao at first, because there would be kids and adults and teens doing all different types of amazing things everywhere – constructed chaos, you could say. For example, you would see people up on the lyra [or aerial ring - see group photo] trying out things I have never seen before. In another corner, there would be people trying out amazing tricks and flips and fancy forward rolls.
Meredith: How far had the trainers and participants come to do the training?
Aliysah: Most of the trainers were Fruities trainers. I know we had one trainer come over from NICA for the second week. There were mostly people training from the Eastern States, and only a few from other locations – like Alice Springs, Margaret River, and of course, Broome.
Meredith: What skill areas did you choose to focus on and why?
Aliysah: I focused on tramp and wall tramp because we don’t have that apparatus here in Broome. With wall tramp, you have a tramp on the ground and on the side of it, you have a solid wall of some height – 3, 4 or 5 metres. You land on the tramp on your back and you jump up to the top of the wall, and you do a motion that’s similar to running, then you fall back onto the tramp on your back again, and repeat.
Meredith: I’ve always been impressed with the grace of wall tramp performance – but was it hard?
Aliysah: At first it took me a bit to get used to the running motion, but after I got that down, it was pretty simple.
Meredith: What is it like to come back to Broome after the training? Has this experience affected your motivation or how you view training and performance?
Aliysah: It’s made me more want to be part of the circus community. Besides the fact that 2 hours per week [training at the Act-Belong-Commit Sandfly Circus] doesn’t feel like much training any more!
Meredith: What was your NTP highlight?
Aliysah: That’s personally quite hard, because I loved so many parts of it. But it would have to be the Deck Chair Cabarets, because you get to watch other peoples’ acts. It was fun to get the chance to emcee the show, which I did the second week.
Meredith: What would you tell another passionate circus participant about the NTP?
Aliysah: Just do it! It may seem like a big step, a big task, but you’ll walk away being so glad that you did it. You simply walk away knowing SO much more than you did when you got there, and you meet SO many new people.
Aliysah and Theatre Kimberley would like to thank Anni Davey, Eleanor Tan & Ian Sutherland and everyone at the Flying Fruit Fly Circus for their generous support.