Emily Kane Horsler
Aerial hoop, trapeze and aerial silks.
Time/years active at Greentop:
2010 – 2021
Where I am now:
I’m studying Spanish at the University of Bangor.
I saw some tightrope Walkers the other day… I thought what a weird flavour for a packet of crisps…!
Quote summarising the impact Greentop has had on your life:
It’s hard to measure the impact Greentop has had on my life… circus is my entire life!
My circus story:
I joined Greentop around 10 years ago, when I was 8 years old. I think I’ve participated in all of the classes and every Youth Circus show in that time! I joined the CAT scheme for aspiring artists at the age of 11, and graduated aged 18 in London. The CAT scheme encouraged me to dedicate more hours of training and to try a variety of disciplines. I’ve studied dance, drama, acrobalance, gymnastics (with Kyle Rance), parkour with the energetic Lorian Biet, and handstands with our Lead Teacher, Dot Hatcher. My favourite disciplines have remained unchanged – aerial hoop, followed by trapeze and silks. To complete the CAT scheme required about 15 hours training per week, so this was tough to complete during lockdown, when I had to motivate myself to train at home. Quarantine gave me a glimpse of what my life would be like without circus. Auditioning for the Youth Troupe and graduating from the CAT scheme have been my proudest achievements in circus so far – oh, plus perfecting my windmill technique, and nailing elbow rolls after two years!!
The staff at Greentop have inspired me every step of the way – I’ve been fortunate to train under such great teachers as Jade Wing, Jessica Abouzeid, Claire Crook and Sue Fee. I still remember Angela Kuster, my very first aerial tutor! The whole community here is extremely supportive and encouraging. Circus is the main thing I do – other than coming to Greentop, I don’t participate in many other extracurricular activities outside of school. Training aerial has given me more energy – I eat for strength and nourishment. I think if I didn’t participate in circus, I’d be a lot lazier! Or I might have turned my hand to another activity, such as swimming, or playing a musical instrument. I think it’s good that I started young – circus captured me!
I’ve really enjoyed taking on some volunteer teaching at Greentop – mostly with the Youth Circus groups on Saturday mornings. At times I focused on teaching the very young students/absolute beginners, helping them to grow in confidence; other times I worked with the older, more experienced students preparing for performances, assisting them to diversify their vocabulary of moves and refine their technique. Switching between the roles of student and tutor myself could be challenging! Jess and Deborah Sanderson in particular gave me loads of teaching tips, and of course these are all transferable skills. I loved coming to Greentop on a Saturday morning, it became part of my weekly routine: Go to the market, eat breakfast, train circus. Somehow it always felt like a sunny morning, even when it was bucketing.
Leaving school and home is a big leap, and it faced me with some tough choices, particularly under the cloud of Covid-19. I was considering doing a CAT scheme progression degree course in London at the National Centre for Circus Arts (NCCA), and was to an extent put off living in the capital by the pandemic. However, pursuing a degree in Modern Languages appealed to my academic side, and in September I will begin studying Spanish at the University of Bangor, with some modules in creative writing – there is every possibility this could feed back into writing for circus. I hope to spend a year in Spain as part of my degree course. I’m expecting Fresher’s activities to be curtailed at Uni this year, and I will find the isolation strange. I’m already thinking of ways to mix and mingle on social media, and activities we can do around social distancing measures. I’m really lucky that I will be able to rig my hoop and continue training in Wales – maybe I will even introduce aerial dance to some of the Performing Arts students? I’ve had so many opportunities through Greentop; with a background in circus if I decide academia is not for me, there is always another route I can take. I hope I’ve inspired my Youth Circus students… I love Greentop so much, I’ve made so many friends here and I will be back, maybe as a guest tutor or performer.