Trailblazers: Charlotte the Professional Acrobat

Trailblazers: Charlotte the Professional Acrobat

Raise Your Flag (JOLT Fall 2013 Alumni) new Trailblazer series. Read more here.
Charlotte has had a pretty incredible career path. She’s a professional acrobat. Yeah. That’s what we thought. Here’s her story:First Name:Charlotte

What was your first job ever?

Coaching at Zero Gravity Circus for kids ages 4-13 years old in Toronto.

Did you like it?

Yes, nothing better than sharing the knowledge of what I have learned at circus school. I loved inspiring kids to achieve new goals

Most important lesson you learned from that job?

Coaching/daycare at the same time is a tough job and spotting bigger kids when I’m a small girl is hard.

What do you do for a living now?

I am currently an acrobat with my Partner Nico doing hand to hand in the 2013 Tony award winning musical, PIPPIN.

How did you get into it?

I attended circus school in Montreal where I was professionally trained as a circus performer and artist, not only how to perform incredible tricks, but how to create my own unique style and act with my partner and how to sell and promote our material.

How do you like it?

My job is amazing! I can’t believe how many people are touched by the performance. They leave feeling inspired and amazed and all I have ever wanted was to do that.

Best thing:

Knowing that I make people happy, by doing what I love absolutely most in the world, performing.

Worst thing:

I work my ass off… and I’m so emotionally connected to what I do, it can be overwhelming at times. But, it’s still so worth it, sometimes I feel like I wear myself out, though if I didn’t have that feeling, I think I’d feel useless.

Describe a typical work day:

Get up late, shake off the sore muscles, get into work for call time, which is for me as an acrobat… 2.5 hrs before the show.

I have to do my stage makeup and wig prep before I go down for training that is one hour before the show starts. Every day there is a night show at 8pm and the show is 2.5 hours long with a 15 minute intermission.

On Wednesdays and Saturdays there are matinee shows at 2:30pm as well, so I show up earlier those days with the same routine for makeup, wig prep and warm up.

Sundays we have just one show and it’s at 3pm. So from Sunday night ’til Tuesday night I’m free! It’s not a full 2 day weekend but it’s enough to rest up before the week starts up again.

Some mornings where I’m free if we don’t have rehearsals for the show and if there are no new people entering the cast, then my partner and I like to go down to the Circus Warehouse where we like to train and set goals for new tricks. It’s important for us having just graduated school to keep up our technique and continue to improve and grow as artists. As a hand to hand duo we need to keep our work stable and strong to avoid injury.

Has anything wild/crazy/ridiculous happened to you while working?

Ummm I mean it’s crazy how I’m on Broadway… because usually we (acrobats) go towards big circus companies and it’s so recent that circus has branched into broadway that I never new musical theatre was a possibility. So many people in this industry work thier whole lives for thier broadway debut… meanwhile I fell upon it!

What was the hardest thing about getting to where you are now?

Setting that goal and striving for it, cause it’s so hard not to doubt yourself sometimes. But it’s crazy worth it when each step is achieved.

Sometimes the goal isn’t clear. for me, I had a couple role models I looked up to. I told myself, I want to be just like that.. and now, when I look back, I’m replacing one of those very people in the show I’m in, and working across the street from the other one.

When did you know that it was a job you’d like to stick with for a while?

The second I found my passion, Hand to hand. I saw something I was finally good at… not amazing, but I saw that I could push for it.

What would you do differently if you could go back in time?

Nothing. So many times I thought this, I thought I missed out, I wanted to be like some of the popular girls at school and in the summer go to camp, but each step I took lead me to where I am, and I would in no way change a moment of my journey.

What advice would you give to somebody who’s trying to figure out what to do with their life?

Dream a little. I’m a circus performer, think about that.

I told myself there is no way in hell I will sit in an office. There is no chance I will do something academic with my life, because that doesn’t inspire me, doesn’t move, motivate or make me happy. Find something, latch on, and see where it takes you.

I trained to be a professional for 6 years since the age of 15. I moved away from my family to a new city to do it. I learned a new language and was taught only in that language. I set my goal, made my contacts, constantly kept myself inspired when I had my doubts. And no I’m no genius kid. I just have a wonderful imagination, and an incredible desire. I had like a C- average at school, now I’m living something extraordinary.

Want to learn more about Charlotte?

Instagram: @charlottegosullivan

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