Digging Up: The Importance of Cross-Training

Circus, Digging Up

Digging Up is a fortnightly segment that shares advice for building your own circus practise- from a struggling artist just trying to ‘Dig Up’.

One of the most useful exercise tips I have discovered is the importance of implementing cross-training into my routine. If you have never heard the term before cross-training refers to exercising in a range of ways outside of your main training focus. Basically it means if you want to get better circus you need to more than just circus.


So what is so important about cross-training? Firstly it can help to prevent injuries. Repetitive movements over time cause large amounts of stress to specific muscles and joints. For example I have had heaps of hip problems from overworking my hip flexers without paying any attention to the surrounding muscle groups. By exercising with different parts of the body you can reduce muscle imbalance and stress to vulnerable parts of your body. Now I focus more on ab and glut strength try to balance everything out.


Secondly hyper-specificity makes you very strong in some areas but weak in others. For example I do a lot of strength work so am great at squats- but I hardly ever did cardio which meant I would sometimes end up struggle through a routine on stage! Or if you are an aerialist you probably focus on shoulder conditioning- which is fine until you need to use your hamstrings in a heel hang!


The good news is cross training is really easy! I was struggling with glut and ab strength so added some ballet classes to my routine. I thought cardio was the worst until I started playing social touch football and now my cardio fitness is the best its ever been. For me the greatest part of cross training is it’s outside my usual training space. I put a lot of pressure on myself to get better and achieve in the circus sphere, but I can leave that competitiveness behind and really just enjoy the physicality of a run around the oval.

There haven’t been many studies done into the benefits of cross training so this information is coming straight to you from my own personal experience, if you are struggling with a certain type of fitness I would recommend going to talk to a physiotherapist. If you are interested in the science here is a link to a paper from the Sports Medicine Journal.

Photographs from this article where taken at EYWA Yoga Studio in Marbella. If you are ever in Spain go and check them out because their space is beautiful!

Photographer was the lovely Cristo Veber  

Digging Up: How to Do a Photo Shoot

Behind the Scenes, Circus, Digging Up, Video

Digging Up is a fortnightly segment that shares advice for building your own circus practise- from a struggling artist just trying to ‘Dig Up’.

So here is a very well thought out guide on how to carry out a photoshoot….


But in all seriousness taking quality photos is an important part of marketing any project. It can seem like a daunting task but here are a few easy steps to take to ensure that you walk away from a shoot with usable photos (without costing an arm and a leg).

1. Scout an interesting location

Hiring a studio is expensive and finding one with the space to do circus tricks is very difficult. Instead I would recommend  finding an unusual but relevant location to take your pictures. For our ‘Stand Here’ shoot we used the Testing Grounds in Melbourne, which is also the place the project would take place. Often if you have already sourced a venue they will be happy to negotiate a time for you to use the venue for promo pics. Or if the venue doesn’t have the vibe you are looking for choosing a location that fits the theme of your show. For example check out this shoot by Na Djinang Circus– shooting promo for their show ‘Social Staples’ in a cool retro kitchen. 

2. Find a good photographer

You can find a lot of great photographers in Facebook groups like the Melbourne creative network (they have a Facebook group in each state). Groups like this area  great way to find talented photographers who are also at the start of their careers and are willing to work together on a shoot TFP (Time for prints) or at reduced/ student rates. Make sure that if you are negotiating a TFP shoot that it is clear how to credit everyone involved and explain exactly how the photos will be used. Once you’ve found a photographer that you work well with I try and give them priority for any paid shoots that come up. You shouldn’t expect someone to work with you for free every time, just because they did once.


3. The details matter

The difference between an average promo photo and a great one is in the details. This includes things like having cohesive clothing/ costumes, makeup and hair. Check what is in the background of images and clear clutter if needed. Which direction is everyone in the photo looking and what expression do they have? To help with all these little parts I find it really useful to have a mood board and shot list. This is particularly relevant if you are working with a photographer who doesn’t know a lot about circus. having a shot list with pictures of the poses you want gives the photographer a clear idea of what to shoot.

So here is the image we ended using as our ‘Hero Image’ for the Stand Here shoot. We’d love to know what you think?


Captured by EmmelineD Photography