25 Nov 2016

A year in the life of a Circus Performer

My name is Gina Morales, I’m going to start with pointing out that this is my first blog, so I think I should give you some background before telling you about my year;

My parents met while touring on a three ring circus in Mexico - My mother, a dancer from the UK and father a Mexican flying trapeze artist. After marrying they moved to England where they continued touring with various shows and introduced their three children, Rosalia, Jaqueline and myself to the exciting world of Circus.

I started performing full time after completing my A levels and now Jacqueline and I perform a Rolling Globe act which we began training for in 2005 during school holidays and have now been able to tour with this skill across the UK.

When travelling full time the years blend into one. There is no exact start or finish to the cycle its constant moving, training, performing, build-ups, pull downs and before you know it you’re onto another year!

Now, this year has been a different story. Don’t get me wrong, every year is a mix of emotions; exciting, exhausting and extremely enjoyable but this year I have been able to work abroad for the first time and not just a two hour flight to France or Spain (although both of these are also on my list!). This year I took a whole 15 hour trip to Hong Kong to perform as part of The Royalles British Thrill Circus in the TungWah Charity Carnival for four months. What an incredible experience this was! Spending Christmas, New Year, Chinese New Year, Easter and so many other celebrations in a whole new environment with different traditions, customs, food etc,  all while performing up to four shows a day… it truly was an incredible experience!

Now some of you may be thinking; “does she ever see her family?” well I can assure you the answer is yes… my dad actually tours with us! After moving to the UK he swapped the trapeze for a red nose and large shoes and became the circus clown (that’s a whole other story). Although my mum is based at home in Essex and my youngest sister studying in London, they will definitely come to stay with us at any given opportunity –especially during our Hong Kong adventure.
I came back to the UK late March and would start the next tour in April so it was lovely to have a couple of rest weeks enjoying family time, catching up with school friends and preparing for the next adventure but saying this, Circus artists - in my experience, aren’t used to much time off, so after the first three or four days I was already itching to get back to work!

Well before too long it was time to pack the bags and head off onto the next tour. This time I stayed in the UK and toured for my second year with Circus Starr, a non-profit organisation that moves to a different town every two days. Now this is serious touring… this is arriving at a new town, building up the big top, training in the evening of day one then performing two shows and taking down the tent ready to move again by day two. Sound like a lot of work? Well, it is. The time working goes by ridiculously fast and with a company that feels like family it’s impossible not to love.

I realise I keep mentioning training without explaining what exactly it involves. It’s a bit of everything from general fitness workouts and improving current skills as well as learning new ones. For example, at the moment I am working on a low wire act so practising this takes up most of my morning and before I know it it’s time to get ready for the show!

So being a circus performer doesn’t just involve a bit of a parade, your 5 minute act then a quick goodbye finale. There is much more to it than many would believe. An excellent example of this would be my October half term job with Gandey's Circus at Merry Hill in Birmingham.
Of course rehearsals take place prior to any opening of a new show and this was no exception, what with dancers, incredible lighting and sound plus lots of performers it was a huge team and lots to arrange before opening. Some of you may know being part of a team means being a team player…what you may not know is for a circus performer it means being a storm trooper one minute you're dressed as some form of mascot the next then back to glitter and glam for your act, this is all while making sure you have enough popcorn and souvenirs ready for the intermission of a sold out show. It’s this type of manic chaos and rather unpredictable day to day challenge that I enjoy.

When touring with a Circus, working over Christmas is always an option. However, with my winter tour on Circus Starr having finished in mid-November and my next contract starting in January, this year I’ve decided to go on a family vacation because, as you may have gathered, it’s been a busy year. 

18 Nov 2016

The Recipe For A Perfect Christmas Advert

In the last week or two big names such as; John LewisSainsburysMarks & Spencer and TK Maxx to name a few, have been striving to pull at the heart strings of the nation with their emotive, feel good adverts that get us feeling all warm and fuzzy inside but most importantly, ready and geared up for the countdown to Christmas.

In the midst of all this festive joy, we’ve put together a recipe for the perfect Christmas advert.

1.       Firstly, you will need a super cute staring character (allow 15-20 seconds for heart to melt).

2.       To flavour and set the tone, add a slow solemn cover of a well-known song to encourage reminiscence amongst viewers.

(This year’s examples include: One Day I’ll Fly Away by Vaults in the infamous John Lewis ad or Lidl with a cover of Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas by Irish band SOAK.)

3.   Next, stir it up with a story line to really grab attention. Get those tears running – but be careful to give time to let the emotion set in.

4.       Then just as the viewers begin to blubber, douse them with an ending filled with delight and jubilation. 

  And there you have it. The perfect recipe for a perfect Christmas advert.

To find out more about our productions that are on in the run up to Christmas, head to http://www.gandey.com/

11 Nov 2016

The world’s biggest online shopping event.

Singles day is held each year on November 11th in China in celebration of single individuals.
China's Amazon equivalent, Alibaba, decided to utilise this tradition and in 2009 launched ‘Double 11’ a ‘discount day’ where items were sold at a fraction of the price, similar to that of Black Friday. 

When sales quadrupled in its second year, Alibaba trademarked Singles Day as November 11th which has now turned into the world’s biggest online shopping event.

Each year the celebration grows and we see more brands and celebrities from across the globe getting involved with the event.

This year, Singles Day kicked off with a televised gala with appearances from; One Republic, David and Victoria Beckham, Kobe Bryant, Scarlett Johansson and Victoria's Secret models, Josephine Scriber, Alessandra Ambrosio and Sui He.

 (David & Victoria Beckham being interviewed about their new sunglasses range)

(Scarlett Johansson with Alibaba Chairman)

(Kobe Bryant making an appearance at the gala)

(Victoria's Secret strutting their stuff down the runway at the Singles Day gala)

In China, the event is referred to as the Global Shopping Festival and according to Fortune, in 2015 Singles Day had double the online sales of Thanksgiving, Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined and 2016 did not disappoint with 12 billion dollars being spent just in the first 12 hours!

The Chinese have got not only one of the biggest online shopping events of the year, but they have also come to the UK with one of the most spectacular performances – Dynasty, by the Chinese State Circus.

Don’t worry you can still buy a ticket here for this unmissable show – www.chinesestatecircus.com

4 Nov 2016

Remember, remember the 5th of November...

Remember, remember the 5th of November...

Thousands of people every year get out their finest hats and gloves, wrap their scarves around their necks and with sparkler and toffee apple in hand, head to the local fireworks display. 

The 5th of November, or as it is more commonly known, ‘Bonfire night’ falls this Saturday and people all over the country will watch as our skies light up with colour from Fire Crackers and Catherine Wheels alike, whilst toasting their hands near a bonfire. 

Each year we all get together to celebrate this event with great festivities, but where did the tradition come from?

Bonfire night

November 5th commemorates the failing attempts of the 1605 Gunpowder Plot. 

Back in those days English Catholics were persecuted against by their ruler, King James the first. . 

In order to get revenge, a small group of conspirators took shape in a plan to kill hose who were disrespectful to the English Catholics, including their new King.  

On the night between the 4th and the 5th of November, the group planted 36 barrels of gunpowder beneath the House of Lords, with Guy Fawkes nominated to light the match and complete the deed. 

As Guy Fawkes was in the cellar ready to set light to the gunpowder, the authorities caught and executed him.

In celebration of the Kings survival, bonfires were lit across the country and the 5th of November then forever became known as Bonfire Night. The event is commemorated each year with bonfires, fireworks and burning effigies of the legend that was, Guy Fawkes. 

So, what’s your plan for Bonfire night? We know how we’re celebrating… with a whole weekend of festivities with the Chinese State Circus!

The internationally acclaimed Chinese State Circus is currently touring theatres across the UK with dates this weekend up until the 3rd of December. Don’t miss out on this unmissable production of talent, get your tickets here – www.chinesestatecircus.com

Remember, remember.. Whatever you do this Bonfire night, wrap up warm and stay safe.