Category Archives: Theatre

Behind These Walls

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For four years, I entered this concrete fortress almost every day. What looks like an oppressive Orwellian government building is in fact the Dragone theater in Macau. A visionary creative endeavor was realized here: The House of Dancing Water. It truly is a show like no other. A fairy tale that rises from below the surface. Magic for ninety minutes. Until the princess and her lover disappear into the stygian depths, leaving the audience with a whiff of chlorine and a brief hope for a better tomorrow.

I experienced the creation of this masterpiece in 2010 and left after three years of operation in 2013. The larger-than-life show is still running strong. For me, this building holds a myriad of memories… good and bad. I believe this is where I so far experienced the steepest learning curve. I loved diving through the aquatic depths, loved working with an amazing, international team backstage. Five million gallons of water are hidden behind these walls. Whilst the audience revels in the mysteriousness of the theatrical spectacle unfolding before them, this body of water also holds surprises, drama, friendship, heart, passion, dreams, disappointment, and corporate politics. Whenever a large group of individuals unites forces to work towards a common goal, there is plenty of ambivalence. Nothing is ever perfect. Yet, looking back, I don’t regret a single minute.

The Life of a Show Diver – Part 2

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Check out my latest article on TheatreArtLife.
If you’ve always wanted to know what it is show divers actually do in their daily work, then this one is for you! Both, Part 2 (and Part 1 I wrote a few months prior) give you unique insight into a world usually hidden from sight – for, like everyone else backstage, our prime goal is to remain invisible at all times, while helping to create magic on stage.

A Moment With…

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Big thanks to Theatre Art Life for featuring me in their “A Moment With” series. How did I start my career? What was the best role/job/gig I have done and why? What advice would I give my 18-year old self? … and many other interesting questions. Read all about it here

The Life Of A Show Diver: Part 1

show diver life

Once you have worked underwater, you’re forever changed. It never lets you go. Every day, every minute, I am longing to dive again, to immerse myself, to ride exhilarating currents, to marvel at the beauty of underwater existence.
After working for many years as an instructor and guide in the Indian Ocean, I came to work in an entirely different environment: In ‘The House of Dancing Water’ in Macau. It was magic of a different kind, yet just as breathtakingly beautiful. In my latest article for TheatreArtLife I am giving you a first glimpse of what it was like to work there as a show diver…

Add Oil

5 Senses goup

My latest contribution on TheatreArtLife. Remembering when I immersed myself in a Hong Kong Chinese theatre production. I worked backstage, with barely a clue what was going on. It was an unforgettable experience. Because, as I mention in the short story as well, there is nothing more valuable than opening your mind, letting go of everything you think you know, and thoroughly exposing yourself to living and working in a foreign culture.

Happy 7th Anniversary to The House of Dancing Water

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Today’s post is dedicated to the entire cast and crew – past and present – of The House of Dancing Water in Macau. The show is celebrating its 7th Anniversary. On the 16th of September 2010, we introduced our creation to the world. An island of magic, fairy tales, water, and light.

The show is still running strong.

I devoted four years of my life to this adventure. One thing, above all, I have learned, thanks to my amazing show family: with dedication, vision, and passion, everything is possible.

Here is a little excerpt from Paralian about my experience:

“The learning curve of my Macau years had been exponential. While listening to coaches and performers over the years, what had struck me the most was their decision-making process. The key to executing a stunt perfectly, and more importantly, safely, was commitment.

During Russian Swing for example, pushers and fliers would push together in perfect harmony, bringing the swing higher with each concerted effort. The swing needed to be high enough. At the same time, too much momentum meant loss of control. It was the flier who needed to feel for the perfect moment, to enable him to soar through the air in the most magnificent arc while remaining in control. When the flier felt this moment arrive, he would loudly call, “Up!”

Both pushers and the flier would put everything they had into one last, strong, synchronized push. Only a few seconds later, the flier would let go and get catapulted high and wide, performing a series of spins and turns. In the end, he would land gracefully in the water.

Acrobatics is characterized by many such moments of no return. In this example, the flier needs to commit. More than anything, he needs to believe in himself without any doubt. Once he shouts, “Up!” he cannot change his mind. The momentum of the swing has grown too powerful to resist. Stopping the swing at this point can mean injury, or even death.

From the very first day of my exposure to acrobatics and coaching, I saw them as a metaphor of life. Once you commit to something, you need to forge ahead with confidence. And, more often than not, going forward is far better then turning back.

Many acrobatics acts also require diligent teamwork and a trust so deep, you literally put your life into someone else’s hands. No matter how confident you are, without pushers who are just as committed as you, dedicated to a common cause, you will not fly far. But even a solo act is never truly solo. If no pushers are visible, then the successful performance of the acrobat rests in the hands of the technicians who have prepared his equipment and assisted him behind the scenes.

I treasured such insights with all my heart. Working in close proximity to individuals who risked their very lives for their profession on a daily basis, made me appreciate more than ever how important it is to believe in ourselves. We need to be clear in our intentions, make our decisions with conviction, and overcome fear. We need to trust others, too. They’re out there, the pushers with common goals, just as we can become pushers for someone who needs us. And whatever our circumstances, we need to live life to the fullest. No doubts. No regrets.”

Congratulations and happy anniversary to us all! Let’s keep reaching for the stars and do the impossible!

Fear is Temporary

Fear is Temporary

New article of mine on TheatreArtLife.
People often assume nomads like me aren’t afraid of moving from one country and opportunity to the next. Well, I can’t speak for all the other nomads and expats out there, but I am certainly always dealing with a mix of excitement and fear when I head out into the unknown. It’s an emotional cocktail I’ve come to recognize as a precursor to turbulence and exponential growth. As the saying goes “A ship in harbor is safe, but that is not what ships are built for.”

Read the full article here. Enjoy!