Monkey and I got settled in last week for our 4 month autumn adventure at the New England Center for Circus Arts. There are 16 people in our class- all amazing and talented ALREADY- I can't wait to see our progress! Our main teachers are Elsie and Serenity- the "Trapeze Twins"- pretty much the nicest, most graceful and pleasant people you could ever meet...until they make you do crazy things that are insanely painful! Our week consists of 3 group classes (3 hours long), a 1 hour private lesson (with Bill Forchion) and another 3 hour minimum of open studio time- we also have to start running on our own several times each week. The first few days were challenging, yet manageable- full of majorly intense partner stretching and conditioning exercises mostly with Elsie. But then on Friday, Serenity took it up several notches- probably waiting until the last day of the week so we would have the weekend to recover. By the end of the week, I was generally tender and tired everywhere- but we had to give 200%. Some of the more memorable difficult moments included 1.5 minute handstands, followed by 1.5 minute crow (an arm balance), followed by another minute handstand and ANOTHER minute long crow, 30 slow press up headstands- 10 tuck ups, 10 pike ups, 10 straddle ups. Then over an hour of tumbling drills, trapeze and fabric ab exercises culminating in even more abs! Needless to say, I have been walking like Frankenstein with actual tears welling up in my eyes when I encounter a set of stairs (up and down hurts equally) and even laughing kind of makes me want to curl up and die. Having been in the studio all week has been super productive for our partner balancing and my foot hooping has made massive improvements in just this one week- it's exciting!