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I have spent the last two days discovering a new (ish) skill – counterweighting*. OK, so this isn’t completely new to me. I’ve performed a counterweighted hoop act and have spent the last four years immersed in creating a show where all the aerial was counterweighted.

BUT . . . I was always the one on the end of the line, doing my thing, whilst Dave or someone else did the hard work - climbing up and down a ladder, essentially creating the beautiful effects on stage. Now I have discovered what it’s like to be the counterweighter – and it’s not easy! I have a whole new level of respect.

It’s one thing we always intended to do in rehearsals for Life on Wheels ** – to swap parts so we could all understand what the other was experiencing. I now wish we’d pushed this idea more in rehearsals – I was surprised at how hard it is! But you live and learn. Time is never on your side. No time for dwelling!

I think I have bashed my shins and knees more than when I was a kid and run up and down a ladder more than ever before in my life!! (As with most aerialists, I don’t really like ladders, so I should really call this a tower, as it’s completely vertical and solid and attached at the top and bottom).

I’m sore and tired but happy and will go to bed with a big but very weary smile on my face – the best kind!

* For those of you with no idea what I’m talking about – counterweighting is a technique that is becoming more and more popular in contemporary circus. There are two performers, attached together by a rope that runs through pulleys in the ceiling. As one performer goes up, the other comes down and vice versa.

** Life On Wheels: our hugely well-received show, created with Jessie Rose and our company Bella Kinetica, performed entirely on roller skates: two women revisit the interweaving stories of their past lives and loves – from the post-war optimism of the late 1940s to the domestic realities of the 1950s and beyond. As the years roll by the girls live out their parallel lives, proving that friendship really is what holds us together.

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