Liza Rose at U.S. Aerial Championships: Ready for take-off (Field Trip)

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New Orleans circus-arts performer Liza Rose continues her journey through the U.S. Aerial Championships as part of our “Field Trip” series. Today (Friday, May 13) might be a two-parter. Here’s today’s¬†first installment:

Max and I are sitting in a coffee shop in The West Village, waiting out a spring rain shower. I’m sitting in a window seat, watching the people pass with all their different umbrellas, and totally not feeling antsy. T-Minus 2.5 hours to call time.

I had my one rehearsal in the theater today. It was not without hiccups. The way this act is constructed, it relies on a pulley system to hoist me and the apparatus up and down to different heights throughout the performance. The system is operated by a team of four crew people who literally pull or let out a rope, and who must anchor the rope at all times, or the whole thing will crash to the floor. My life is literally in the hands of a couple of strangers.

Max knows the act and when to pull. He stands in the wings, watching and cueing the crew members, who are standing in a line down the hallway backstage, unable to see a single bit of what is happening onstage. The timing, the communication, must be precise. And I had one 30-minute rehearsal with them this morning.

Circus. It takes a village. A really smart, competent, highly focused village. I hope …

Video clip of my rehearsal here.

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