Teacher Feature: Daniel Patrick
Sky Candy: How long have you been involved in the circus arts/your chosen discipline? How did you get started?
Daniel: My start into the circus arts is a unique story which would take a novel to fully explain (look for that book in the next decade or so). The short story is that I had a difficult adolescent life which was fueled by depression and self-destruction. I went down an especially dark path after my father passed away when I was 16 and I lost sight of what was important to me. When I was finally able to focus and ask for help (around age 20), I began a transformation to a happier and healthier Danny. I was able to find a highly disciplined training program which allowed me to focus my attention on healthier lifestyle choices.
I began my own hand balance training to help clear up my depression fog (that was about 5 years ago), but then when I realized I had some good skill, I dreamt more and more about performing. My dream since I was 13 years old was to pursue performing circus as a career choice and I knew after seeing “Quidam” that my passion was in hand balancing.
SC: What has been the hardest thing about being a circus artist? What challenges do you face?
D: For me the process of training and creating is a true physical art form, but what a lot of people misunderstand is how this journey is quite emotional. An audience sees us on stage for such a short period of time, so they don’t get a good feeling of what our minds go through before we get to that performance point. As I said, coming from a background of depression, there are days where my mind interferes with how capable I am of following a disciplined training session. That is the true struggle: to consistently tame my mind to make the physical training possible. While many days are frustrating and lack a sense of encouragement, I am learning to turn that into motivational fuel that pushes me closer to my dreams.
SC: What is your favorite thing about being a circus artist? What is your favorite thing about teaching the circus arts?
D: This dream of mine has taken so much time to develop and polish and I really feel that I am at the very beginning of my journey. Up to this point, I am just enjoying the unique lifestyle of a circus freak. I’ve always strived to standout and let the world hear my voice; I want to make my mark on this world and so far the path has been unbelievably great and rewarding. I love constantly training to discover new skills so I can show off to friends and family; I love creating acts; I love working with talented arts who inspire me to do better; I love traveling for the job; I love being weird and silly and obnoxious… I love it all!
Teaching has given me a wonderful sense of fulfillment, probably because I work with some truly amazing and hard working people! When I get to start work with a new class or individual and see how they excel over a certain period of time I feel the biggest sense of pride. I firmly believe the circus world has to be a collaborative environment and I think we better serve each other if we can share the knowledge.
SC: What do you love most about teaching your favorite discipline?
D: Well, my classes are fun and hard-working and I love how they work out bodies! When I am teaching, I understand and value varied levels of skill in my students; I try to adhere to their specific needs so they don’t feel pressured or unwilling to try something new. My greatest focus is always to help individuals polish what knowledge they already have. I look to perfect your skills and make them as beautiful and technically pleasing as possible. The classes I teach all require a huge level of body awareness and I very much so enjoy directing students on how to learn and improve their body placement in acrobatic form.
SC: What classes will you be teaching at Sky Candy?
D: Creativity with Flexibility, Hand Balancing Conditioning, and Tumbling (beginner & intermediate)!