My Four Lives

8 Jul

Updated 9th July 2013:  SWR Radio Interview

Updated 2nd September 2013:  re-cut video of Ritti’s aerial performance

Today I did a few things I haven’t done in a really long time. I sat in a café for careless hours and wrote until I could write no more. I met up with my best friend and we talked about life. I had dinner with Mark and we didn’t talk about work.

I walked slowly.

I feel like I have been living 5 different lives just this week.

Actually, it was 4.


My beautiful circus friends Marina and Moni were commissioned to give a circus workshop all week; I was commissioned to give a film workshop which would document the circus workshop. I was basically giving my 8th graders a crash-course in documentary filmmaking.

preparing the technology

preparing the technology

Moni giving Juggling 101

Moni giving Juggling 101

We got up every morning at 5 am so that we would be at the school on time. I’m a night owl. Getting up at that hour was pretty exhausting. I was sleeping 3-4 hours every night. By the end of the week, I felt I had the rhythm in my system – and then it was over. I still wake up at 6 am wondering why my alarm didn’t ring…

(l.t.r) Ritti Soncco, Marina Colovos, Monika Kolb

(l.t.r) Ritti Soncco, Marina Colovos, Monika Kolb – Charlie’s Angels, right down to the hair!

There was a lovely newspaper article about our work in the Schwäbische Zeitung, which you can read here:,-Die-Foerderschule-Munderkingen-macht-Zirkus-_arid,5462832.html

It was a beautiful, beautiful week – though tiring – and I’d love to tell you more, but when you teach at a school, you sign a contract in which you vow not to reveal all their secrets and not to post pictures of their students on your naughty little blog. So I’ll tell you instead that I had a great time working with these two very talented, very smart, very worldly circus artistes, who I am very much in awe of. Moni told me a lot about the aerial scene in Sheffield and Edinburgh, which made me very excited about my move to Great Britain in September…


Here is the official Facebook page:

From the Thursday 4th –  Saturday 6th July, I was commissioned by the Strado Dance Company to perform on my aerial silks during a parcours – a parcours which took the audience to various stations in the city center, where architecture or grounds which we normally take for granted, were now used for performance and thus set in a different light.

For example, the walls of the Deutschhaus parking lot:

photograph by Guido Gerlach

Marion Glöggler & Yvonne Graf of the Vertical Dance Company. Photograph by Guido Gerlach

Marion Glöggler & Yvonne Graf of the Vertical Dance Company. Photograph by Volkmar Könneke

Photograph by Volkmar Könneke (Südwest Presse)

A playground:

choreography by Jeanette Füzesi

choreography by Jeanette Füzesi. Photograph by Guido Gerlach


Strado Dance Company at the Roxy

Strado Dance Company at the Roxy. Photograph by Guido Gerlach

The founder of the Strado Dance Company & organiser of the Ulm Moves! event, Domenico Strazzeri, approached me about hanging up my silks at the Ehinger Tor bus station. We had a meeting with the responsible people at SWU who had to tell us that it was too dangerous. If anything happened to me, they would be sued. Even if I didn’t sue them – the state would. They couldn’t risk it. They were very sorry, but they had to say no.

Domenico isn’t a man of “no”s.

Domenico is a man who moves mountains.

A weeks of phone calls and texts later, he called to say he had organised a crane and would I hang myself from it. A crane? Cranes carry things way heavier than Ritti, even Ritti in full-propellor-motion. I said YES. Domenico got in touch with Andreas Dukek-Haferkorn of the Kulturfahrschule Ulm, who agreed to give us the courtyard space.

Domenico had moved a mountain.

My new workspace was a crane.

red crane, red silks

red crane, red silks

Domenico may not know this, but ever since the Fab Fab showed me an epic video of aerialist Seanne Sharpe giving an illegal performance on the Williams Bridge (watch it here) I had wanted to give a silks performance in an industrial atmosphere. High up, with iron around me.

Secret dreams come true.

by FOTOGRAFIE Heike Göltenboth

by FOTOGRAFIE Heike Göltenboth

photograph by Heiko Mozer

photograph by Heiko Mozer

I was at about 8 – 10 meters height. I’m scared of heights. Plus, there was wind: a terrifying, unpredictable factor. During rehearsals, I dared climb only halfway. It wasn’t until Saturday that I finally climbed all the way up and touched the carabiner. An incredible feeling. And a ritual among aerialists: you always climb up and touch the carabiner.

photograph by Sabrina Fischäß

photograph by Sabrina Fischäß

photograph by FOTOGRAFIE Heike Göltenboth

photograph by FOTOGRAFIE Heike Göltenboth

photograph by Heiko Mozer

photograph by Heiko Mozer

More joy at the office: working with an excellent and brilliantly sweet crane technician. Here’s us:

Denis, his crane, I & my silks

Denis, his crane, I & my silks

On the last day, Denis had a brilliant idea. I begin & end my performance wrapped and hidden in a cocoon. He suggested my cocoon be near the ground when we begin, and he slowly lifts me up; when my performance is over, he’ll then lower me to the ground again. I was scared – simply because it was something new. But we tried it out and the movement of the crane was so soft, I didn’t even notice we were moving. When the performance began, I secretly peeked out because I wondered why he hadn’t begun lifting me – and I was already 3 meters in the air by then!

And then the Fab Fab showed up. And as usual when the Fab Fab shows up: he shows up with technology. He showed up with a few GoPro cameras, one of which he stuck to the crane so that it could film me from above. There’s a fancy GoPro app which acts as a remote control for the camera. I had installed it onto my iPod at Fab’s command, and so he was able to manipulate the camera on the crane during my performance.

What a man.

Not only that… He already finished editing the video! When I began writing this blog, I received an email from him giving me the link. I think the video is BEAUTIFUL. Can you feel the electricity in the air?

Videos sometimes don’t substitute the actual event, but they do act as perfect reminders of amazing moments in our lives. As for me: I am so grateful that the Fab Fab is in my life.

Ulm Moves! was an amazing event. It was fantastic to meet the other performers, to see how much art & culture is bubbling beneath Ulm’s quiet surface. All we needed was someone to string us together and we exploded for Ulm. The audience was great too. I was told we had a total of approx. 400 visitors following the parcours. The applause I received was juicy and a beautiful acknowledgement of my work. I sat in my little cocoon in the end, listening to the applause, the adrenaline of the last drop surging through my veins, and I screamed.

No one heard it, but I screamed. I bowed my head into my knees and I screamed and screamed with joy. This was one of the happiest moments in my life.

photograph by Guido Gerlach

photograph by Guido Gerlach

Thank you, Domenico, for giving me this fantastic opportunity.

The Südwest Presse wrote a great article on the Ulm Moves! parcours:;art4329,2095581

SWR Radio interviewed the performers and audience:

A final anecdote:  I had a beautiful moment in the air that I want to share with you. On Thursday, my first performance, I was sitting up in the cocoon waiting for the music to begin. I could hear the audience coming into the courtyard and I was very aware (and wary) that I was suspended at 6 or 7 meters in the air, held only by a simple knot tied around my foot. I was keeping myself up there – and I wasn’t sure how I felt about that.

In the midst of my nerves wrecking and my doubts shouting, I sat in the cocoon telling myself that I knew exactly what I was doing & that all would be fine… when the sun came out from the clouds. I was sitting just over the rooftop of the Kulturfahrschule, so when the sun came out, it hit my silks directly. The inside of my cocoon was suddenly flooded with light as the sun shone at me. Privately, I sat there. Alone in my height, swaying in the wind like a leaf. Like a real cocoon.

It was a quiet moment before my performance, and I slipped out of my cocoon with a quiet little ecstasy. When I die – if life really flashes before your eyes – I hope this is one of the moments that flash before me. It was a very powerful moment for me.



So it actually worked. Can you believe it? I am astonished. Grateful. Amazed.

I was saying to a friend: “This isn’t a publishing house saying Okay, Ritti, we’ll publish your book. This is 45 people out there saying: You want to be a writer? Okay, we’ll believe in you. Go out there and be the best writer you can be.

That’s how I see it.

For a while it didn’t look like it would work. We were stuck under €1000 for the longest time.

I was exhausted. I had just come back from receiving my circus pedagogue diploma. My mother, who I rarely see, was visiting. It was my 29th birthday. All I really wanted was to sleep.

As you can see from this post so far, I live several lives at once. There could have been a better time to start this crowdfunding thing, but time was beginning to run out, and I knew: If I don’t do it now, I’m never going to do it. 

I was becoming static and depressed. I couldn’t socialise in real life; I could barely socialise online. I couldn’t socialise in real life; I could barely socialise online. I thought: If my crowdfunding doesn’t work out, it really is my own fault. 

I was exhausted.

The challenge about doing something is that you are open to critique, and you will always always always have the feeling that you are not doing enough. 

It made me so tired.

I had a Serious Business Meeting in bed with Power Ranger when we were both hungover. With a groggy voice she pointed her finger at me and said: “You can still do it, Ritti. But you need to do something!”

She believed in me.

I sat in the bathtub and wrote everyone I could think of.

Maybe it was because I posted a picture of legs in the bathtub.

"How much spare time do you have as an artist? Here’s a clue: I’m in the bathtub with my iPod, writing people asking them to support my crowdfunding project. It ends in 4 days! Without your support, I cannot publish my first novel! Please support!"

“How much spare time do you have as an artist? Here’s a clue: I’m in the bathtub with my iPod, writing people asking them to support my crowdfunding project. It ends in 4 days! Without your support, I cannot publish my first novel! Please support!”

Maybe it was because Sarah pestered everyone she knew – and everyone she didn’t know online. (thank you!)

Maybe it was something else. But overnight, we raised €800!!! We were back in the game! That’s when I thought: I’ll be DAMNED if I lose this money now, now that we’re closer to the finishing line! 

I wrote, pestered, tweeted and wrote some more. And in the last 10 days, the money literally poured in. Most pledges came in over the last 5 days. The majority was at € 25 (a copy of Qayqa with your name in the acknowledgements) but there were larger sums pouring in too. I now have 2 dinner dates (they go at € 500); one with a great friend, the other with a complete stranger.

And now, Qayqa will be published. She will be yours.

*shaky knees*

*puts on business voice to hide shaky knees*

Here’s the deal: We raised more money than expected! This raises more opportunities. Mark and I have reserved this week for a lot of business talks, planning and layout testing. We’ll meet tomorrow and discuss everything that needs to be done and set it in a timeframe.

But I do want to say this:  THANKS to your generosity, I have more opportunities to make Qayqa the best she can be. This extra amount will make so much more possible. I have a few ideas, but I’m going to run them by Mark tomorrow and we’ll consider all our unexpected, new possibilities, and I’ll announce ASAP when you can expect Qayqa to become a proud member of your bookshelf.


Today is Sunday the 7th July 2013, and my 3 other lives have ended. Today, I had a calm shower, ate calm breakfast, packed my computer and went to a café with wifi. I had coffee with my best friend. When she left I turned on Spotify, I opened Munay and I began to write.

I wrote for as long as I wanted to.

Then I paid for my cappuccino and I left.


One Response to “My Four Lives”

  1. Sean January 2, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    Wow! Loved the crane video! Very impressed Ritti 🙂

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