Photo by Lee Woolcock
Nicola Thornton speaks to 35-year-old Argentine, Marcela Diez about her passion for the trapeze.
I came to Barcelona five years ago for Sant Joan. Barcelona was always one of my places to visit. I almost came when I was 20 and didn’t, but at 30, I had another opportunity. I thought I would just come for a few months.
My first experience in a circus was when I was 21 in Salvador de Bahía in Brazil. I was working with an acrobat troupe and I became fascinated with that world.
I started doing trapeze 10 years ago and I love it! I was working on a huge cultural project in my native Buenos Aires and one day a group of trapeze artists called the Aeroniñas came in. The first day I saw them in the air I decided I wanted to do that. They became my teachers and my friends.
Like everything you do in life, trapeze is strange at first, but as you begin to practise every day it becomes normal. I was never afraid, but I have a lot of respect for it.
You have to fully concentrate to work in the air. The confidence follows when you work every day. You become aware of your own limits.
I’ve never lived with the circus. It has changed a lot from the old idea of being a circus family—but who knows? It could still happen.
In Barcelona, I’ve worked mostly on the trapeze bar in small shows that include aerial circus with a more theatrical aspect, working very close with the public.
My last show was Concierto Etereo, a recital with my company, Gente Colgada (Hanging People), on the silks and trapeze along with B-20, a group that includes voice, guitar, computer and sax. We have our own songs where everyone plays their own instrument. Mine is the air. I love working with live music.
I now teach trapeze. I am in the process of setting up a space for training and creating and I have a group of powerful and interesting people starting.
The thing I love most about Barcelona is that it is in Catalunya. I love the Catalan culture, the food, the customs, the traditional fiestas.
The thing I love least is crossing Las Ramblas in a hurry in the middle of the day.
The life of a trapeze artist has high doses of adrenalin, but there is also routine, highs, lows and humour; like any other job. It’s very physical, but it requires a lot of concentration and precision, so it’s also quite mental.
I’ve never fallen, touch wood. Sometimes when you are hanging by one hand you feel as if you could fall. One time when I was performing, the music got stuck and it played the same part over and over again. It wasn’t dangerous, but it was quite absurd!
I’ve travelled a lot and lived in lots of Mexican and South American cities, for short amounts of time. I’ve worked as a waitress, a teacher, a proofreader, a survey taker, a tour manager, a promoter, a travel agent, a model, an acrobat, a musician…I may have missed something…a trapeze artist!!
If I wasn’t a trapeze artist, I would probably be a physiotherapist, a psychologist or a ballerina.