A blank slate. As an artist, never is something so equally exciting as it is terrifying. A chance to reinvent, or an opportunity to make a complete ass out of yourself. Then again, does that even matter? Do I really think that I have enough of a reputation to smash to smithereens? This is the problem – I take myself way too damn seriously. I think I’m risking blowing up the Coliseum when in reality it’s a tiny crumbling cracker (a salty one at that) that can be crushed and replaced in the blink of an eye. I have nothing to lose and everything to try. Except everything is a tricky starting point when you have no idea where you want to go.
My name is Xander Taylor, and I’m a 32 year old professional circus artist. I don’t think age has any relevance to one’s ability to create, but I mention it because being of an age starting with the number 3+ in this industry is often accompanied by questions of “So what’s the plan for when you’re old and brittle?” I get a kick from people’s faces when I tell them I’ll still be spreading my legs and busting my gramp-ass until I physically get dragged off stage or my dance belt can no longer contain the level of droop. Haven’t decided which one will be the determining factor yet. The reality is I feel more invigorated than ever to create. And not just softer “age-appropriate” physical poetry. I want epic, hard metal, touching, humanizing, de-humanizing, ball busting, cramp inducing and physically laborious WORK. Sound like a lot? Yeah, it does to me too. So here I am at the end of my second paragraph still unsure of which path to tread.
A bar, a man, and nothing else. Do I look clueless in this photo? Well spotted! For someone who has built his career mainly around work as a duo trapeze artist (I’ve worked with a lovely partner called Mélanie for the majority of my contracts), being alone with your apparatus can be daunting. You’re no longer playing off the deep pool of another person’s gaze, but rather cold, unforgiving steel wrapped in tape. Where’s the fun in that? I want to connect with people. So instead I turn my attention outwards to the public, searching for someone to play with. But what do I want to say to them? Will they engage with me? Unlike Mélanie, they’re not stuck 8 meters high on an apparatus with me. They have a choice to leave. So what do I have to say as a soloist that will encourage them to stay? Let’s see shall we!