Natalie Reckert is a word class hand balancing artist. (Meaning she’s epic at doing handstands to you and me.) Over the last year The Lowry has been working with Natalie Reckert and Mark Morreau to develop a new piece of work called ‘Natalie Inside Out.’ The piece will explore the acrobatic body and dispell some of the myths about circus acts. In this interview, we learn more about what it takes to become a world class hand balancer.
Circus has many different facets from tight-rope, aerial to juggling. So why did you choose hand-balancing?
NR: Choosing a circus skill is not necessarily the result of careful planning or careful consideration as to what might express my ideas best on stage. It takes about 10 years to become a handbalancer at the technical level that I am at. So in many ways I ended up being a handbalancer due to the previous investments into my training before my career as a circus performer. I trained in sports acrobatics and part of that practice was handstand training. So I already had a good foundation in handstands and it made sense to build on that. Only after my technical training in handstands was quite advanced did I start to look at the different ways in which handbalancing can be staged, what inherent narrative the skill offers and what it means to me.
You studied at the National Centre for Circus Arts in London. What affect did this have on your practice?
NR: Training at the National Centre gave me the opportunity to train with handstand teacher Sainaa Sainbayar, without whom I would not have the strength or skill level that I am at now. I was also introduced to a wide range of other practices and performative tools like contemporary dance, theatre and devising. All this laid the foundation of knowledge and skill upon which I could later on deepen and learn more in the areas that suited me or interested me most.
Your show ‘Selfie with eggs’ ran at Edinburgh Fringe Festival in 2016 and combined electro-robotic movement with hand-balancing. That sounds like a tricky move to do?
NR: It was more tricky to make sense of a 50 minute performance than to do electro-robotic movement in a handstand. I studied contemporary dance at Visions in Motion Dance school after my circus degree and I also did a lot of ballet. A handstand is the body in an inverted state and even though it requires a lot of focus all movement principles that can be applied to the body on its feet can be applied to the body in a handstand. So if you can dance on your feet you can dance on your hands. If you can wave your arms you can wave your legs. It is just a matter of practice.
‘Natalie Inside Out’ is ‘Developed With’ The Lowry will premiere here on Fri 20 April. Can you describe the piece in three words?
NR: Digital landscapes. Stories about me. My body in close up. That’s ten words.
For more information or tickets visit The Lowry website here, or call box office on 0843 208 6000. Now we’ll leave you with this cool video of Natalie performing at Chameleon Variete.