As someone who could never learn how to do a proper cartwheel, I am always impressed with those who seem to defy gravity with awe-inspiring acrobatics like the kind of amazing stunts performed in TRACES. I got to do a Q & A with Bradley Henderson, one of the artists in Traces, opening at Segerstrom Center for the Arts on Tuesday, February 28th. Enjoy the interview below and the winner of last week’s ticket giveaway will be announced at the end of the post!
ESW: What kinds of sports or activities did you do as a child?
Bradley Henderson: I always went to the park by my house to play basketball and I used my skate board to get around San Francisco where I am from. I was in gymnastics for about a year at a young age, but by the time I was 8 years old I started training at the Circus School of San Francisco.
ESW: How did you get involved in this profession?
Bradley Henderson: My parents put me into everything at the beginning, but after elementary school it was my decision to stick with it. For sure my parents helped me find the way. At age 18 is when I decided to go to the National Circus School of Montreal.
ESW: Who are your role models?
Bradley Henderson: One of my biggest role models, in terms of circus, is my old coach from San Francisco Mr. Lu Yi – he does everything the right way, he lives his life so positively, that and the way that he taught me to train, has made him my biggest role model.
ESW: Who and what inspires you to perform?
Bradley Henderson: The biggest influence on me have been the founders of 7 Fingers. They showed me, in a very inspiring way how to impress the audience by the way their shows connect with the audience. The style of 7 Fingers is what is attractive to me – it made me want to be on stage just like them.
ESWa: What are your long term performance or artistic goals?
Bradley Henderson: My long-term goals are to create something on my own, either a solo piece or a small group number – while I am still able to perform I would like to create something for myself. Because I am so passionate about circus, I would like to stick with it for a long time.
ESW: What’s been your best memory/experience on tour?
Bradley Henderson: The premiere in New York City was magical. Performing with the other artists onstage that night; the energy was mind-blowing.
ESW: What’s your most dangerous move?
Bradley Henderson: My most dangerous move in the show is probably when I do the monkey swing from pole to pole. I literally swing like a money between two giant poles, climbing higher with each swing –if I were to miss when I was high up on the pole there is no way of knowing where I would land, who or what I would hit. So yeah, you don’t want to fly off the pole.
ESW: There must be a high level of trust between all the performers. How long does it take to gain full trust of a new member?
Bradley Henderson: If the new member is someone you haven’t known, it can take a while to develop the trust, but you can tell right away if someone has good training. If they do, then you can trust that they will be “there” during the tricks. If it is a very difficult trick and you have to really rely on someone then you do need to get to know them first because it is pretty easy to tell when everything is going to be OK once that trust is established – there really isn’t a big margin for error in most tricks – they either work or it is not going to be safe. When something is not safe, you won’t do it, because you take every necessary step to make all tricks safe. That being said, something can always go wrong so you just have to stay focused.
ESW: What makes this show so great for families and kids?
Bradley Henderson: What makes TRACES so great for families is kids is seeing the balance between the crazy tricks that we do on stage and the humor that comes out during the show. Kids and families also like to see how we are able to pull off the difficult tricks, but keep it fun and light and see us having a good time.
TRACES combines awe-inspiring acrobatics with infectious urban energy. Entertainment Weekly hailed it as, “The most fun and memorable 90 minutes you will have all year.” Time Out NY gave TRACES its highest “FIVE STARS” rating, describing it as a thrilling modern brand of circus with a street smart twist.
Ticket Giveaway Winner: Congratulations, Tommy May. Enjoy the show!
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall
February 28 – March 4, 2012
Segerstrom Center for the Arts – Segerstrom Hall, 600 Town Center Drive, Costa Mesa, CA
Tickets: Start at $15
Online – SCFTA.org
Phone – (714) 556-2787
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