Circus tricks have always attracted crowds of excited viewers. People anxious to experience real moments of thrill, as well as the ones who would love to understand complicated shows and magic tricks. Wild animals, acrobats, magicians or clowns seemed to be something coming from a totally different world. The universe, which on a daily basis, was rather unattainable and truly mysterious to an average viewer. When I was a little girl, I was holding my breath while watching various performances, which invariably left my head spinning. While growing up, I started appreciating those shows which required the ability to master one’s body and real self-discipline from the artists. I was wondering how it was possible for some people to cheat the laws of physics and bend at angles causing a threat of losing one’s health or getting unavoidably disabled.
As the television and different kinds of TV shows have developed, circus artists have become more accessible and a little bit less mysterious. They took another form. Now, they are not only people who we can get to know, but also the ones who we can learn from. It occurred that their work has nothing to do with magic, but it’s rather a kind of art – the result of many years of hard work, outcomes of which we can admire during various performances. Today, I’m pleased to introduce you a circus artist for whom there are no impossible things – Julian Waglewski – who specializes in the art, which is still not too popular in Poland. However, you’ll read about it in a moment!
Passion Piece: Could you tell my readers a few words about yourself?
Julian: I’m Julian Waglewski and I’m a juggler, fire dancer, acrobat, stilt walker, tightrope walker, unicyclist, mime. So I’m just a juggler and a circus performer.
I started with parkour, later on I got interested in juggling and fire dancing. In this way I got to know juggler community and people with unusual skills. Finally, there was a time for a stunt school, circus school, as well as my adventure with pantomime. For a few years I was extensively exploring the richness of manual arts, which are mostly about continuous increasing your physical condition, learning how to manipulate, or if you prefer, bringing different objects into life in the most interesting, nonobvious, magical way possible.
Passion Piece: How did you start your adventure with German Wheel?
Julian: When I was halfway through circus school it was time for choosing specialization, the leading skill and the basis to create a degree show. Through discussions with my peers and fellow circus artists, searching the Internet, watching various plays or performances I was getting to know newer and newer possibilities and circus disciplines. Finally, together with my friend, we came up with an idea to learn how to do German Wheel acrobatics. It looked really awesome! It had never been done before! It combined acrobatics with object manipulation! Why not give it a try?
After making our decision, we had to find the place in which we could order the wheel (and there aren’t many such places), choose the right size and wait for our shipment. Everything took a few weeks. As soon as the parcel had been delivered to our gym, the adventure began! No one in our local juggler community had had any experiences with this kind of prop before. We had to learn everything on our own. It was just awesome! I was searching for films and watching them on the Internet for hours, and then I tried to repeat the same actions at the gym, but also learn as many tricks as possible.
Passion Piece: How do you reconcile your private and professional life?
Julian: My private and professional life fuse together. I’m a freelancer, I work with a different intensity and in different places. Most of my friends are also circus artists and jugglers. So, naturally, I don’t divide my life in such a classic way.
Passion Piece: What’s the most difficult for you during your training and then performances?
Julian: The most difficult part during my trainings is learning new tricks. The wheel is difficult to master due to its size and its weight – most of the tricks can be done well only with the proper dynamics, which is quite frightening, especially at the beginning, while trying to learn new tricks. Mastering them requires high concentration, controlling one’s own body and quite often the assistance of another person.
Creating performances is also not an easy task. You need to focus not only on the right implementation of a chosen combination of tricks, but you also need to keep it on the beat and act in harmony with music. Then you should think of the right style for your show and make a coherent whole through choosing proper costumes, music, moves and message to convey. It’s important to keep your audience in mind and think beforehand how to connect with them during your performance. Think how to release their emotions and make them want to watch you.
Passion Piece: Where do you find inspirations for your performances?
Julian: Most of the times from my community. It’s worth going to various kinds of shows and browsing the Internet. The mixture of all these pictures inspires me and makes all the tricks, I keep practicing at the gym, a coherent whole.
Sometimes I perform in a group, which requires conforming to someone else’s vision or creating an idea for a given performance together with other artists. In this case, the final effect may occur to be totally unexpected, which is a plus, as it’s possible to create something really new and surprising.
Passion Piece: How has your life changed after taking part in Poland’s Got Talent?
Julian: This TV show certainly helps to present yourself to a bigger number of viewers. It was a really interesting adventure, thanks to which I had an occasion to perform a little bit more and a little bit more often. I also got to know many interesting people with various skills, which I could admire.
Passion Piece: What do you find to be your greatest success?
Julian: It’s difficult to answer this question. I can certainly say that it’s great to do what you like in your life. I love not having a stable ‘normal’ work, as I can juggle my free time and my work time as I want it. Besides this, it allows me to earn a living the way which suits me.
Of course taking part in semifinals of Poland’s Got Talent, as well as having the second place and getting the audience prize in the 1st Eastern European contemporary circus contest called ‘The Cyrkulacje’ were also nice and important experiences.
Passion Piece: Have you got any other passions?
Julian: This kind of things keep changing in my life. In the past my biggest passion would be my trainings and learning new tricks, either the ones related to the wheel or in general the ones related to juggling. Now, I’m more eager to practice Icarian Games (still not very well-known in Poland – a dynamic discipline, a little bit similar to acroyoga – with jumps, spins and somersaults), as well as partner acrobatics on the ground. I’m really interested in multimedia shows.
Outside the gym, I’m getting more and more keen on travelling, getting to know various lifestyles in different corners of the world, and last but not least scuba diving.
In the meantime, I’m trying to take care of my future financial well-being, so that I don’t need to worry about the things my future holds for me.
Passion Piece: Where do you see yourself in 10 years’ time?
Julian: I really don’t know that. Maybe training at the gym. Maybe performing either within the country or abroad. Maybe teaching people some circus arts. Maybe on the trip round the world. Maybe with my family in the park. You can do really different things in your life. In my case, I like reaching the goals which seem to be attractive to me at a given moment. The matter, which seems to be a top priority for me, is creating favourable conditions to make all these things happen.
Passion Piece: Which motto would you like to share with my readers?
Julian: With will one can do anything! You only need to take some actions. Whatever you dream of and whatever goals you set yourself – you can always gain them. In my opinion, the thing which differs people who only talk from the people who really do things, is that the latter ones make a plan and consequently aim at reaching their goals.
Every dream, no matter how big or small, can be divided into smaller goals and you can slowly, successfully obtain everything.
You only need to work on your self-discipline and motivation to take actions. The circus teaches that very well.
Passion Piece: Thank you very much for this truly interesting conversation. I hope that you’ll become an inspiration for the ones who would like to try themselves in different circus arts. I wish you continued success and interesting ideas for future performances, which will win the hearts of your audience.
My today’s interviewee is a great example that it’s not worth resigning from your dreams only because they are unusual or difficult to obtain. If you do something well and you put all your heart into your actions, sooner or later you’ll gain recognition. The profession, which seemed to be just wishful thinking for some people, will become your way of life. I wish you courage to make difficult decisions and to chase your dreams! You’ve got only one life and you may never get the second chance!
See you around!
Photos by Julian Waglewski