Tag Archives: #hodw

Happy 7th Anniversary to The House of Dancing Water

russian swing practice

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!

My Thoughts Are With Macau

typhoon hato 35

Since last week, my thoughts are with Macau and with my dear friends who live there. Typhoon Hato went through my former home with wind speeds of up to 250 km/hour.

My work buddies and I used to get excited each time a typhoon would come our way. Because if it made it up to T8 strength, it would mean we would have a day off, to chill at home together with a cold beer, gazing out at the storm. The storms rarely went above a T3. But sometimes, when they did, we would even venture into the tempest. To feel its raw power and brave the salty gusts, feeling as if sea monsters had wrapped their muscular tentacles around us. I cringe now, thinking of how often I wished for the storm to strike, barely noticing how much it affected the lives of the people in its destructive path on its way to Macau.

Now, Typhoon Hato has topped the scale. It was a T10 and squarely fits the old saying, “Be careful what you wish for.” The entire city was flooded, eerily reminiscent of movie scenes from “The Day after Tomorrow”. Some people lost their homes. Others even lost their lives. This was, quite frankly, shit-scary. Even from afar.

Amazingly, this natural disaster also made me realize just how much of a home Macau has become for me over the years. Living in Switzerland at the moment, too far away, unable to lend a hand in the post-Hato clean-up and rebuilding, I feel more connected to this unique, East-Asian town than since I left it.

I see now, more than ever, how much Macau has given me. There was hardship, too. Even trauma. But overall there was learning on a scale like never before. There was abundant adventure, happiness, despair, soulfulness, friendship, and camaraderie. There was even family… and a special one at that. I still miss my House of Dancing Water show family. Nothing is quite the same after living and working with such a diverse and spirited group of people.

Their theatre has been closed for a week now. Cast and crew are heading out into the city every day, actively helping with the relief efforts, even taking care of the four-legged victims at Macau’s pet shelters. I’m thinking of you guys. I’m with you. And I’m proud of you. Be safe.