Final year student Charice Rust delivers an inspiring slam-poetry-style speech for Presentation Day 2016
Transcript of speech:
"I didn’t know how to go about writing this speech, so I decided, perhaps somewhat misguided, to try Slam Poetry style, and try to compile my reflections, recollections and retrospections, a cross section of the three years and 15 peers, to give you a taste, of what it’s like to be here, be part of this place.
We spend three years here and some of us more, if we were the suckers who did cert three or four. From basics to ballet our average school day, consists of trying and training, bailing and failing, and sometimes prevailing over the skills of a craft we call the Circus Arts.
Upside down, spinning around, in the air or on the ground, balancing still, doing drills, theory, drama and dance, there’s barely a chance to catch your breath, assessments are impending, unending, testing your progress, the skills you possess, how you whether the stress of performing under pressure, or if you measure up to the standard they need, but as I’ve been told, trapeze get degrees.
Why am I doing this I ask my brain as I fail again while I try to attain, the skill I’ve attempted every day for weeks, I can’t seem to nail this elusive technique.
I’ll never get it, I’m useless, why did I choose this, I’m trying my best but my efforts are fruitless. Just hold the shape longer, be stronger, get it right, try again, do it better, don’t get left behind.
In these moments, frustration owns us, self-deprecations, low esteem, thoughts of giving up seem like the easiest way, will I ever be good enough, is this path just too tough, should I give circus a miss, … Why am I doing this? What makes us keep trying, push through the pain and the fear, what makes us choose this as our future career?
Were they right those people, who when asking our profession, question our selection, with an eyebrow cocked, shocked, they mock us, in a patronising voice, say it’s a ‘lifestyle choice’, call it unfeasible, that we should think reasonable, a career like this, they dismiss, say why would you do this?
Well how about this, did you know as a fact, that Australia’s arts industries have a big impact, continually contributing distributing 90 billion bucks from the industry annually to the economy. In one year more people like you and me, visit an art gallery than go to the footy, I’m serious, it’s true, more people view art than its sporty leather ball counterpart. The arts in Australia happen to employ more people than mining so I get quite annoyed when they say why do you do this, what good are the arts? And circus? Is it worth it? Why do you do it?
To start with there’s the highs that we feel when we nail a skill, the thrill of the payoff after slogging away at the same set of actions day after day. There’s nothing more honest than facing the shame of just not getting it again and again but pushing on anyway, overcoming the doubt, and suddenly, unexpectedly, we’ve smashed the trick out. There isn’t much to rival this feeling of surprise, the feeling of making it, of achieving it, painstakingly revealing that yes you had what it takes, you kept going, to and froing, throughout mistakes, retakes, heartaches, and you did it, you’re worth it, you made it stick, then starting the process again with a whole new trick.
Then there’s the performance, that feeling’s enormous, a mixture of fear and pride, nerves amplified, you’re ready to get out, be the standout, just let out all the fun that you have when you stand on the stage, cos it’s there in that space you can really engage with the audience, the crowd, who have come here to see the diversity of what a human can be. With circus we explore the human experience, from the resilience and brilliance, to the hilarious, or precarious, the serious, delirious, mysterious, ideas of strong or wrong and right, life magnified. And standing there at show’s end surrounded by your friends, these people that you’ve trained with, strained with, bled with, shed tears and sweat with, we’ve caught and fought, supported each other, through three years and numerous trials, 500 miles, and the show’s closing night, standing in the spotlight together in that feeling of bliss, you think, this is why I do this.
On behalf of my year of wonderful peers I‘d like to thank NICA, our education provider, the guider of the start of our careers, our waking life for the last three years, where we’ve shown up, grown up, soaked up everything you could teach us about the industry, we are truly lucky to receive this degree and that a place like this exists, our circus university. Sincerely thank you to our trainers who put in hours to make us decent entertainers, who’ve given us skills, encouragement, creative nourishment, who’ve helped get us started in the market as artists, for seeing us through, we thank you. Thanks to our families and the support that you’ve given us, it’s driven us, permitted us, to keep trying, keep training, keep performing, keep exploring this passion, bring it out of abstraction, you’ve helped us get where we are today, graduates, performers, artists, here on our circus birthday.
And finally, lastly, my friends who’ve steadfastly stood together, thank you for such a wonderful time. I’ve enjoyed laughing with you, training with you, complaining, misbehaving with you. We’ve sung, danced, romanced, we’ve performed our hearts out and now we start out on our own, after today, this milestone. You’re the best teammates, we made it, now let’s celebrate! I’ve loved our time together in the stage light, all the moments, the pain and delight, remember these years, the tears, beers, hugs and cheers.
So thanks for letting me reminisce, telling you why we do all this."
Article added 25 Dec 2016
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