Tag Archives: aerial

Aerials at Crathes Enchanted Castle

26 Nov


University started back up with a bang. 3 months ago, I was in Peru with plenty of time to blog, structure Qayqa and social-medialise.  Since my return to Aberdeen, however, I’ve been living a demanding, well-structured life full of exercise and aerials. I teach 4 times a week.


Mondays, 7-9 pm:  Acrobatics at the University of Aberdeen

Tuesdays, 7-9 pm:  Flexibility class for working professionals at Studio 202

Thursdays, 6-9 pm:  Aerial Silks & Trapeze for students at Studio 202

Fridays, 7-9 pm:  Aerial Silks & Trapeze for working professionals at Studio 202


I’ve had a few people tell me they stumbled over this blog when they were looking up aerial classes in Aberdeen, and either accidentally bump into me at Studio 202 and make the connection later; or write me and join my classes. So if you’re out there, eager to start aerials or have a good stretch, this is my routine. Come to my classes!

Last week, however, all my classes went on hold because the Circus Society had been booked by Crathes Enchanted Castle to perform for 5 days – and I had been booked with them, on my aerial silks for the very first time in Scotland.

4 performances a night… for 5 days… In November.

I agreed to this in July, when I couldn’t imagine what “cold” felt like. By October, I was terrified. I woke up the morning of the performance at 6am, genuinely scared. I went to an Outdoor Adventure Clothing store and paid a ridiculously high price for thermal underwear.

I’ll philosophise about the Role of the Cold in my life in a bit, but first I would like to show you some pictures of the event. Here are a few I took, but I also strongly encourage you to visit the website of the event’s official photographer, Martin Parker, here. He has some stunning photographs of the castle and its grounds all magically lit up, like this:

Crathes Castle. Photograph by Martin Parker

Crathes Castle. Photograph by Martin Parker

Crathes Castle Grounds. Photograph by Martin Parker.

Crathes Castle Grounds. Photograph by Martin Parker.

Meanwhile, here are a few I took of our team on the first night. Missing only is a picture of Sandra, but you’ll find her in Martin Parker’s collection.

Big Man Barnaby

Big Man Barny

Hannah firebreathing while Emma hoola-hooped

Hannah firebreathing while Emma hoola-hooped

Emma's Mysterious Frolicking Creature, anything from Gollum to... a goat

Emma’s Mysterious Frolicking Creature, anything from Gollum to… a goat

the view to my office

where I danced

My area had Talking Trees, who discussed one another’s growth spurts, the fashion of the audience, and spiderwebs. This was the first time I didn’t have music for my performance, but the conversation of trees instead. It was a challenge. I spent the first 2 days fighting for music, but by the end of the 2nd day, friends assured me that not having music added a somewhat mystical value to my performance. I remembered that a lot of circus performances have begun to take place in total silence, and I accepted the challenge.

did get feedback that it would have been even more surreal had the trees stopped talking entirely while I performed. Personally, I have to agree. Total silence would have been nice. But towards the end of 5 days, I barely even heard them anymore.

I’ll let YOU decide, dear ayllu, and tell me what you think. Here is a video of my performance amongst slight raindrops, courtesy of My Special Man:

There’s a brilliant anecdote to this video.

This evening was was the very first time my man saw me perform live on the silks, so afterwards, I ran to hug him and hear all about it. I was so eager to hear his thoughts. “Did I scare you, in the end?” I asked excitedly, “When I dropped suddenly, did I scare you?”

“Oh, I knew you were always in control,” he bluffed.

“Seriously?” I was so annoyed with myself. “I didn’t scare you?”

“Well, the truth is…” he slowly began to admit, “I kinda missed the drop…”

“What? Why? What were you doing?”

You see, in the seconds before my final drop, my proud boyfriend had turned his back in order to take a selfie with his aerial girlfriend. . .

. . .When suddenly, the crowd shouted in surprise, and he turned, wondering: What? What did I miss??? 

The Selfie

The Selfie

This performance was not only my very first aerial performance in Scotland… It is also my goodbye to my red silks. Over the last 5 years, we’ve worked so well together: in short films, hanging from a 10 meter crane, teaching my very first students in Aberdeen how to fly… They are well over their retirement age and have certainly lost a lot of elasticity. Silks are usually used for 2-3 years; mine are over 5 years old. It is time to say goodbye to my darlings.

I think this was a more than worthy farewell.

During the performance, knowing that this will be the last time we work together, I became aware of how much I trust them. How I reach for them without looking, because I know they are where my hands expect them to be. Before every performance, I touch them gently, look up at their securing point and whisper Please take care of me. We’ll do this together. And they’ve never let me fall.

This is the most beautiful, heart-stopping view to me.

Photo 20-11-2014 00 44 06

Here are a few more images from the nights at Crathes Enchanted Castle:

Photo 21-11-2014 23 15 56

my favourite by Elsie Liontou


And favourites by Martin Parker:

copyright Martin Parker

copyright Martin Parker Photography

copyright Martin Parker

copyright Martin Parker Photography

copyright Martin Parker

copyright Martin Parker Photography

Now I wasn’t too delighted at performing in the cold. If anything, most aspects of my life in Scotland revolve around The Art Of Not Feeling Cold. I arrived in Scotland complete with a UV light therapy gadget. My man has nicknamed me “the Firefighter” because of my winter fashion.

Other girls and me

The cold usually makes me very bad-tempered, unhappy and generally super bitchy.

Photo 21-11-2014 13 31 13

And if you’re wondering where I’m getting all these pictures from, check out this great page: 27 Things Girls Who Are Always Cold Know To Be True. Story of my life.

So I find it interesting that the one time I perform on the aerial silks in Scotland, it’s in the dead of winter. Barefoot. Or that the one time I decide to go to university, it’s in the north of Scotland. Etc etc ad infinitum.

You have to admit that Life really is throwing almost a lot of the things at me which I happen to despise the most. And yet, I’m enjoying my time in Scotland so much.

Life, in its Infinite Wisdom, is throwing the things at me that will challenge me the most. And thanks to that, I am learning.

Learning how to stay warm for 5 days and not get sick afterwards.

Finally buying thermal underwear so I don’t freeze.

Finding the strength within me to suck it up and perform barefoot.

Maybe living in a country that has four seasons (my main complaint) isn’t so bad for the value of the lessons I’m learning. Because after the 3rd night of performing, when it was windy and freezing, I heard myself say on the 4th night: “8 degrees? Wow, it’s warm!”

This is how we change.

Or maybe Life just has a sadistic sense of humour and loves picking on me. I prefer to believe the former!

Yes We Can!

We Can Do It!

Dear ayllu, in 2 weeks, we university students have our winter exams. After this, we’re away on our Christmas break and I will be able to blog more and tell you all about Qayqa. I skyped with Mark today, who is in Cologne, also performing, and we quickly discussed the last bits and pieces. I’ll keep you informed on the process.

Finally, I would like to leave you with a short clip I shot just for you, for this blog. I’ll explain: for 5 long nights, opera music was put in an endless 5-hour-long loop to accompany the hoola hoop fire performances. Pleasant as it was, it didn’t take very long to exhaust everyone’s eardrums. I once did the entire walk through the Enchanted Forest, looking at the lit-up trees, hearing the bizarre and spooky sound effects, and I commented to the sound technician: “If you took LSD then walked through that forest, it would the trip of your life!”

He joked back: “Then maybe on the last night we should have a rave!”

On the last night, after the audience had left, the gates had closed and everyone was taking down their stuff, he put on delicious trance beats that fit remarkably well to the projections on the castle. I just had to film it.

So here it is, from me to you, sending you love from Scotland.


In Which I Doubt Occasionally

20 May
obviously paying close attention in class

obviously paying close attention in class

University life is quickly coming to an end for the summer, which means I will be more active on my blog in the next few months. Hurray! University has been great to me and just earlier, walking through the quiet campus, I felt very happy to be a part of this place. I think it was definitely the right decision to come here.

But I am not without my doubts. Truth be told – especially when I hear about how amazingly well my friend Ben is doing. He moved to Berlin a year ago to do an internship with a StartUp and has been doing amazingly for himself since then. He sends me all his updates and I am overwhelmed and proudly happy for him – with a human tinge of envy. If you want to know what Ben’s been up, check out this great interview he gave for Die Zeit, which really explains it best: http://www.zeit.de/studium/uni-leben/2014-04/selbststudium-education-hacking

I know it’s normal to ask myself if, maybe, just maybe, I couldn’t be using this time better: What if I were focussing on my writing instead of being at university? What if I were giving readings night after night instead?

photo 4


Where would I be instead? Could I achieve more?

These are very normal doubts and I am filled with them occasionally – but they are never strong enough for me to consider packing my bags. I love everything my university life has to offer, from the studying to the carefree enjoyment of life (which, if we’re calling a duck a duck, is terribly relaxing after constantly worrying how to pay the rent… suffer the antagonism of being the black sheep in the family who just won’t get a normal job… wonder how to get more gigs… and how I’m going to buy food).

My greatest joy in Aberdeen is the Aerials & Acrobatics group I founded.

silks hanging

A few weeks ago, I invited my friend Philipp (who I met at the EJC in France last summer) to give an acrobatics workshop to my acrobats. As chance would have it, the hall we had (thought we had) booked wasn’t open to us on the weekend, which forced us to look around Aberdeen for a quick alternative.

We got lucky. Philipp had spotted something on his way in to Aberdeen – something I had seen, and forgotten.

studio 202

A studio promising trapeze and aerial hoops… I gave the owner, Sandi, a call, and asked if we could super spontaneously host our workshop at her studio. She asked when. I said: “In an hour?”

Sandi said yes.

There’s photographic evidence of this moment:



Thanks to this happy blessing-in-disguise, we had a home for our acrobatics workshop and, as it would turn out, we would have a new place to train every week. This is perfect because the hall where we sometimes train aerials isn’t always available to us – whereas Sandi has made Studio 202 always available to us.

photo 4

Sandi on the far right, recognisable thanks to her blue hair

Thanks to Philipp from Codarts Circus School in Rotterdam for coming and giving us such excellent teaching!

photo 2


photo 3

Seeing as acrobatics and aerials has become such a big part of the society, we recently had a meeting concerning the name of the society we are operating under: Juggling & Slacklining Society. We voted to change it. I was voted into the committee as Aerials & Acrobatics president. Yesterday, we met on King’s Lawn at the university and had an official photo shoot for our new society.


photograph by Jamie Hughes

photograph by Jamie Hughes

This photograph will go into the Freshers’ Manual for next year so we can advertise our society to all new students. I think we look like a very fun society!

The people in this society have become my family. I now also have a regular job teaching acrobatics to adults in Studio 202. Things are really coming together.

With all the colours in my life in Aberdeen, I still look wistfully across the water at the Other Life I could be living – but I’ve lived it, haven’t I? Now it’s time for this.

a studious writer

(but like everyone else, I need occasional reminding)

So summer is coming and I’m back on Skype a lot with Mark. I post the occasional picture of our digital conversations, which must be completely fascinating (ah, the sarcasm) but I have no other way of letting you know that we’re hard at work!

this is the one I mean

this is the one I mean

Mark is magical. I don’t know if I have said that enough: we have had our share of ups and downs concerning the ILLUSTRATIONS. Then, last week, he sent me a DROPBOX LINK. “Here it is. Have fun.”



I might have gone crazy that day. All the illustrations were in there. ALL! (Except the cover.)

I can’t publish any spoilers but I do want to share one or two illustrations with you, because you have been so wonderfully patient and supportive all these years. This share is just for my beautiful ayllu – and you know who you are. Here are a few, not-photoshopped.

I once knew a group of flying men and women, and although they were born with their gifts, they worked very hard to perfect it and be graceful in the air. I met them at a time when my head was in a muddle and I walked around looking like a baba, all my thoughts in confused knots on top of my head. After making love to one of the flying women, I agreed to travel with their caravans for a while and see if I could do something about my knots…


by Mark Klawikowski for “Qayqa” by Ritti Soncco

by Mark Klawikowski for "Qayqa" by Ritti Soncco

by Mark Klawikowski for “Qayqa” by Ritti Soncco

by Mark Klawikowski for "Qayqa" by Ritti Soncco

by Mark Klawikowski for “Qayqa” by Ritti Soncco

I called him to congratulate him – and we ended up discussing the cover for an hour. This is what it’s not going to be, but a rough idea of what it will look like. If you’ll remember, this was the sketch I gave Mark:

photo 3

And this is what Mark transformed it into:

rough sketch by Mark Klawikowski

rough sketch by Mark Klawikowski


It won’t be this one because he’s messing around with what kind of water colours / ink to use. Why did we spend one hour talking about it? We discussed if Damian should stand still (as he does in my sketch) or if he should be walking (as in Mark’s). We agreed immediately that he should be walking. We discussed the edges of the words, which I want to be natural, organic and full of rough edges. I wouldn’t want them to be clean & clear. Mark said you couldn’t see it, but he had already started giving them rough edges. We discussed if you could see the desert behind Damian, and if not, how to hint at it. We discussed what Damian is carrying in his hand.

You know, details.

Well, my dearest ayllu, I must be off. This week, I’ll be studying for my exams next week and, during my breaks, I’ll do the last digital editing on the illustrations and begin to lay them into the book.

The final stages are upon us… Soon, I’ll blog about the BOOK TOUR.

So please stay tuned.

And thank you for your continuous support, dearest ayllu. This dialogue has been my continuous support to continue fighting for my work to be published – and to fight off my snide little doubts. Some of my occasional Skype chats with Ben have been about our doubts, and yet we continue fighting. As long as we support each other, there’s no need to give up, is there?

Congratulations, once again, dear Ben, for everything you are doing. For not giving up, for believing in your voice, and – above all – for staying so humble. You’re doing a damn fucking amazing thing, and you can really give yourself more pats on the back! There’s a part of me that really believes that everything you touch becomes gold.


Love, Ritti

Anecdotes from the Road

14 Aug

no where now here

Dear ayllu,

For 3 weeks now, I have been on the road. Firstly, I spent 1 week at the JOJO circus school in Gschwend, attending the juggling module: the one module I missed because I was backpacking through Latin America last year, and without this module, my circus apprenticeship degree would have been slightly incomplete and therefore crooked.

It was a great module; it was interesting & lovely to meet the people taking the foundation year after my class; and it was heartbreakingly beautiful to be back at the JOJO school, to attend the rituals, to hug goodbye, to spend days in circus isolation.

Then I met up with my friend Marina, an aerialist, and we drove for 11 hours to Toulouse, France. Here we spent 1 week at the European Juggling Convention, the world’s largest circus convention which takes place in a different part of Europe each year. Last year it was in Poland, next year it will be in Ireland.

the Galactica Playground, where all the jugglers, poi swingers and hoola hoops artists played

the Galactica Playground, where all the jugglers, poi swingers and hoola hoops artists played

kite runner

kite runner

man balancing a contact ball while he rides from the campsite to the main festival grounds

man balancing a contact ball while he rides from the campsite to the main festival grounds

main juggling site

main juggling site

There was acrobatics, aerials, juggling juggling juggling, and a lot of drinking & dancing. I met incredible circus artists who travel the world performing; who just began training at circus schools; who were kind, lovely, and crazy.

I saw beautiful people with long dreadlocks, with feathers. Muscular, wild-looking, living in their vans, living from day to day. Everyone spoke French, English and Spanish. There were 5 shows on every day, from Open Stages to fire shows to galas.

The heat was intense. If you moved a finger, you poured sweat.

aerial tent

aerial tent

The training standard of these people varied from incredibly high, to improver, to beginner, to “I just came because I love the atmosphere”. It was some peoples’ first EJC (I was one of those), some peoples’ 30th.

After 1 week, Marina and I drove another 11 hours to Brighton, England. Here we attended the European Aerial Dance Festival, where we improved our trapeze & silks techniques, we did aerial yoga, and we learnt vertical wall dance and harness.

our training space

our training space

vertical wall dance

vertical wall dance




counterweight and harness

counterweight and harness


it happened on the spur of the moment!

it happened on the spur of the moment!

After 1 week in Brighton, Marina and I said goodbye. I took my backpack out of  her car, and she took the ferry with it back to Germany. She should be back in Ulm by now.

on the road again

on the road again

But wait!

Before we said goodbye in Dover, I have a ridiculous anecdote to share with you. This is from an email I sent to my parents. Have fun:

“I am sitting in a cafe in Dover, waiting until my bus leaves for London. I just said goodbye to marina, who is now taking the ferry to France and then driving to Germany.

In the UK I’ve been driving, because she was worried to drive on the UK side if the road. I was a bit nervous about it too, but I adapted quite quickly. All went really well. I’m a bit proud!

So she asked me to drive her to Dover today. I could have taken a bus from Brighton to London, but I agreed to drive her and bought a ticket from here to London.

We made it to the ferry port safe and sound. I explained at the check in that I wasn’t getting on the ferry and would like to leave the port on foot. The guy at the check in was nice and young and said okay. So we got in, parked, and set off on foot to find the pedestrian exit.

Turns out that was breaking the law!

When I asked someone where the exit was, he panicked and said I had broken several laws and needed to leave immediately. I said sorry and thank you and yes I’d like to leave, actually. So then we were surrounded by a bunch of official port people, all confused abs distressed because a “clandestino” had somehow smuggled her way – accidentally, at that! – into their super secure system.

I explained and everyone was understanding (if a bit in panic) and I was escorted out. My farewell to Marina after 3 weeks on the road together, was through the fence, feeling like one of us was in a refugee camp! I felt a bit deported…!!!

Luckily everyone was nice. I apologized and explained that we had explained everything at the check in. They said it wasn’t my fault, and in the end I was driven to my bus station!! Of course that was them making sure I don’t continue smuggling myself places, but I didn’t mind, as I got a free ride across the city of Dover. The lady who drove me was lovely; she pointed out the sights and told me some history, and now I’m having a coffee and will head to the bus station in a few minutes.”

Dover from afar

Dover from afar

I am now in London, staying with my best friend Rose (who I travelled with through Peru 2 years ago). I am here with the backpack me travelled with, which is my father’s backpack with which he hitchhiked across Europe in the 70s and 80s.

I may have to leave it here, because tomorrow I will get on a plane back to the south of France, and the backpack is too large to take on a Ryanair flight. I’m not keen to be separated from it, but I cannot think of a safer haven for it than in Rose’s flat in London.

By the time I leave tomorrow morning, I will have spent 2 full days in London. I met up with old university friends, caused mischief, and now the road is calling me again. I am returning to the south of France because I have met wonderful people there who I want to see more, who invited me back; and because I need some sunshine and ocean before I move to Scotland.

It’s my summer holiday. As soon as I return to Ulm, Mark and I will meet and see how far along he has come with the illustrations for Qayqa. He is in Morocco at the moment  – or perhaps he is back by now.

This is just a quick catch-up from the road. I’ve packed my Ryanair approved bag and am about to head out of the house. I’m going to visit the Museum of Natural History because I have never seen a dinosaur before. Then one last night in London and I shall spend the night at Stansted Airport. By this time tomorrow, I will be in the south of France.

And when I’m there, I’ll work out how to get back to Germany.

I didn’t plan this. My plans ended at Brighton. I deliberately left August open so that I could decide spontaneously where to go.

If you want a postcard, send me your address: either in the comments or over twitter @rittisoncco

I leave you with a song. It came on my iPod as I sat in the bus from Dover to London, looking out the window, up at the clouds, with my father’s backpack beside me. And I thought: I am happy. This is when I am at my happiest.

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:  http://www.schwaebische.de/region/biberach-ulm/munderkingen/stadtnachrichten-munderkingen_artikel,-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: https://www.facebook.com/events/466583263412456/

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: http://www.swp.de/ulm/lokales/ulm_neu_ulm/Ulm-Moves-Zwischen-Verwirrung-und-Staunen;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.

Our Upcoming Circus Performances & Filming My Crowdfunding Video

29 Apr

You can call this my MIDNIGHT ACTIVISM. It’s what I do when I finally have a few hours to myself. I go crazy on the internet, blog, sign petitions, listen to music, respond to emails and even manage to skype with my parents.

It’s been an especially exhausting weekend. I cancelled my shift tomorrow at the Café Naschkatze because not only does my body need a break; my mind also needs time & a break to get everything that needs to get done, done.

actually taken on a different weekend, but it's still our group!

actually taken on a different weekend, but it’s still our group!

I spent the weekend with my Circus Serrando, where I teach aerial silks and – since two weeks ago – I also supervise the trampoline / gymnastic balls group. What happened with the trampoline group is this: three weeks ago, their official trainer had to take a break from his teaching responsibilities. Reasons: classified unknown. This was one month before the performance premiere, so everyone panicked. I had worked with the trampoline group during our Bonlanden Circus Weekend, so I offered to continue as the group’s trainer.

Unfortunately, I am not a qualified trampoline teacher. Yes, you need a degree qualification to teach it. You have to take courses that teach you safety regulations and only with an official stamp on it can you teach the trampoline. I may be completing my circus teacher apprenticeship at the moment, but that doesn’t include a trampoline qualification.

But we only had 2 weeks to staple together a performance for the trampoline group, so I did what I could. I took away the trampoline but still let them jump. We worked hard and pieced together a little number.

This weekend, my circus met for their dress rehearsal. We went through the two-hour performance on Saturday & Sunday, tackled the unknowns and discussed the last-minute changes. My aerial group is portraying famous scenes from famous films… !My trampoline group is portraying planets in the solar system… Very active, jumpy planets that leap through Saturn’s rings!

And this is where I invite you:


Join us! Tell all your friends!

If you’re looking for an absolutely fun afternoon in the theater COME SEE US. Because these kids are really amazing. We have flying comets on the aerial silks… acrobatic ghosts in black light… wild cloning… butterflies on the tightrope… cheeky little monkeys… and adorable main characters who clone themselves!


I know it’s short notice; it’s all been a bit chaotic, beginning from wooing a new director … to the trampoline trainer’s sudden departure … to lots of other things. In the face of all the madness, our students have kept it together like real pros, and it’d be the biggest thing if you came and applauded their hard work.


rehearsal picture of puppeteers-on-stilts & their marionettes… and our theater director showing his sporty trousers



Our performances are on 4th (Saturday) and 5th (Sunday) of May, at 3 pm, entry is €5. This is how to find us:

If you need more information, check out:  www.serrando.de

If that doesn’t answer all your questions, then write me on twitter (@rittisoncco) or email me (rittisoncco@gmail.com). Those are usually good ways to get my attention.


A few weeks ago my personal life got a kick in the balls, and that’s always good for creativity and self-righteousness. Well, that’s the way it works for me. I sit up late writing poetry, making collages, bothering friends with emails … but … (did you notice?) … I’m doing something.

This winter froze us, didn’t it? I was frozen. The cold & the grey crept into my bones and froze up all my creativity, drive, passion, energy, and artistic output. I have a friend who says she uses my blog as a long-distance-thermometer: when I don’t blog, she worries. She’s right.

So lately I wrote poems, got angry with my furniture, bothered my friends and – in the midst of this – I somewhat aggressively texted Fabiano saying: “Come over tomorrow! We’re starting!” We had agreed, in January, that he would film my crowdfunding video. He’s been waiting ever since.

But Fabiano, being the Fab, to my aggressive messages calmly replied: “Alright. What time?”

Did I have a script? A screenplay? Any ideas???


Sometimes, this is how I operate. I can’t apologise for it. Some things you can’t plan. I’ve gone into several projects armed with nothing but my gut instinct, my good mood and my creativity.

And I’ve been doodling into my journal for two months now with no results. But on the way to meet with Fabiano the ideas began to shoot through my head.

We began with the obvious.


There’s the Fab Fabiano perched up ever so high, looking like Banksy and filming down at me.


A million thanks to Karsten for taking some truly amazing pictures that really captured the moment. I have more but I am saving them for the Qayqa Production Book, which will be one of the rewards IF YOU SUPPORT MY CROWDFUNDING.

Afterwards, we discussed my other ideas at length. There are the basics: filming Mark’s illustrations… having a voice-over of me reading from Qayqa (I decided to take an extract from the work-in-progress audio book)…

And then there’s the BIG QUESTION: How to portray myself, talking into the camera, telling you just why you should support my book.

This is what I thought on the bus:

It should show who I am. It should be unique – hopefully. It should be memorable. It can’t be too long.

How would you do that about yourself???

I thought: I want two Rittis.

Firstly, because my zodiac sign is Gemini. When people asked me how I had the energy to juggle several different projects, I used to reply: “I’m Gemini so there’s two of me, really.” When I worked with Mark, who is also Gemini, we’d say: “We can manage all that. There’s four of us, after all.”

Secondly, I wanted to show the two main Rittis: the personal Ritti who is open, excited and talkative; and the performer Ritti who holds back a bit, is slightly aloof and more of a listener.

This is what we did:

our set

our set


my view to the camera

Personal Ritti wears the blue Peruvian shirt that I used for my official picture; a shirt I bought in my hometown Cusco. So a shirt that means a lot to me. Performer Ritti wears the performance outfit you may know from readings.

I talked, we filmed – and then, we did this:

look at that smirk

look at that smirk


We called them the “Split Screen Tussis” (German for “chicks”). The idea is they speak in sync. Obviously not all the time, because other shots will be cut in between.

Afterwards, we did this:


The split-screen effect worked fine on the Fab’s computer, but now I’ve taken it onto my Avid Media Composer editing software and have to teach myself how to reproduce the effect and edit it the way I envisioned it.

I did draw a screenplay in the end:


So the next few days you’ll find me sitting in front of the computer, editing. And preparing the last bits & pieces for my students’ circus performances.

And that’s the story of why I’m not working at Café Naschkatze tomorrow.

Once the crowdfunding video is up, you will, ofcourse, know of it first!

I actually wrestled a bit with myself as to whether I should publish my plans for the video before it is done… But I came to the conclusion that that is why you read my blog: to get the work-in-progress. Not to hear about the successes when we know it’s been accomplished, but to hear about the trials and errors, the technical difficulties, and (by default) the things we learn from the process.

Wish me luck! And if you have any technical advice: hit me.

Google & Avid

Google & Avid

We Can Fly

7 Aug

 Thank you, my dear friends, for your insightful and encouraging feedback on my last post. In gratitude, I decided to share another piece of writing I just finished. I must admit it’s fascinating for a writer to have such a direct response from an audience. It helps me assess if what I am writing is making any sense at all. The challenge is really in creating a new world: either you take the readers by the hand and explain every little step – but that makes me babytalk. Or you have a blog, read the responses and know if your pace is right. Thank you so much for this help!!

The following extract is from the novel I am currently working on… I wish you great pleasure, and as always, am thankful for your feedback.

Aerial Silks

We can fly. As some raise their voices to the sky, we raise our bodies. It is a gift that has always slumbered within us, that with the right path, will awaken and take us on an extraordinary journey. No one knows how many people on this Earth can fly, because there is no way to calculate a sleeping talent. But one after the other, the flying people somehow find each other.

What is it that keeps us from falling? It’s not our two hands that grasp for something to hold on to. Nor is it supernatural; we are all people. There is no parachute hidden in our secrets.

It’s in the ability to turn off our heads. These heads filled with such complexities, doubts and emotional weight. We don’t look down at the ground when we fly because the ground is something we are leaving behind and in order to fly, we need to look up. Ahead of us, waiting in the sky, is our identity.

We bend the laws – not of nature, but the laws of ourselves. The laws of all we thought we were capable of. When we fly, the sky gives us space to face ourselves. We are alone with ourselves in the air, and we can make a choice. To accept the world we have lived in until now, land and never look up at the sky again.

Or understand that we have limited our minds: with each new flight, we will face a new wall we will have to break through. It’s a frightening leap of faith to take, to move in the unknown territory beyond our understanding. Yet when we dare to take the leap, everything we thought was impossible, suddenly becomes possible. We understand our limitation was merely a tainted perception, and we see that we are capable of more than we would ever have dreamed of. Perception changes: up is down, and beneath our feet, a whole new world reveals itself. The sky.

In this world, we are the people who can fly.

Fundamentally, what keeps us from falling is the belief in ourselves. Not a belief we were born with, nor a belief we trained since we were three. It is a belief that can awake at any age and from that moment on, anything is possible for anyone. Simply think: yes.

So we watch the world to understand it because we must learn to exist in it. We must learn about the weather, the trees, the moon; we must watch the sunrises and sunsets. We must learn where hot air originates and when it cools. How one changes the other, how they move as one.

Only when we understand the world’s rhythm, can we fly in it.

Inspired by my circus life