Lilyana Massey is a young performer and coach with Spaghetti Circus in Mullumbimby, NSW. Showing typical dedication to her art, Lilyana responds to our questions here while upside down in a knee hang.
I went to my first circus class when I was seven at Spaghetti. My teacher was the one and only Leonie Mills. She was inspirational and I loved it. I’m still doing it six years later. I’m now thirteen and a half.
WHAT ELSE DO YOU DO?
I go to school at Mullumbimby High. My favourite subjects are art, music and drama. Actually I quite like maths. I love to go camping. There are so many beautiful places to camp up here. I am junior coach at Spaghetti. I teach circus to the five to seven year olds and eight to eleven year olds. I love that as well.
WHAT DOES CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE MEAN TO YOU?
I get to learn more things. It’s fun. Like when you finally get the trick you have been working on and it’s such a rush because I did it and it’s a new thing. It makes me feel happy. But sometimes it’s frustrating when I don’t get the thing. It can be tiring and enlightening at the same time.
I loved doing my Rapunzel trapeze act in the cabaret at 2015 Mullum Circus Festival. It felt like a pretty big performance in front of a huge crowd and one that was all the circus people from around Australia not just parents from Mullumbimby. I was really nervous so that was pretty cool to perform it and get it right.
IF YOU WEREN’T DOING CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE, WHAT WOULD YOU BE DOING RIGHT NOW?
Maybe I’d start dance classes, I was thinking. Or parkour – that would be cool. If you put your heart to it, you can achieve anything. Other than that, I would be on school holidays.
WHAT SKILLS DO YOU LIKE PERFORMING AND WHY?
I love solo static trapeze and I’m currently learning cloudswing with Misha Reale. She used to teach at NICA and now she’s at Spaghetti, which is great. Cloudswing can be super scary when you are learning new swinging tricks, and so I really love that.
Well I’ll be eighteen and a half so I’d like to finish school. Then go travelling and then maybe move to Melbourne and do more circus. I can’t wait.
WHY DO WE NEED CIRCUS/PHYSICAL THEATRE IN THE WORLD?
It’s a good source of exercise, its entertaining to watch people push the boundaries of what they can do with their bodies and you get to hang upside down in a knee hang whilst answering these questions. It’s a place where people can try stuff out.
Spaghetti Circus is a leading regional arts organisation and one of Australia’s premier youth circus schools and performing arts companies. Nestled at the foot of Mt Chincogan in Mullumbimby, in the Northern Rivers region of NSW, Spaghetti has been sharing the thrills and spills of circus with kids and audiences for over 23 years. Founded by the legendary Leonie Mills, Spaghetti is now home to the biannual Mullum Circus Festival and is proud as punch to see its graduates performing all over Australia and internationally. Hailing from the ‘Biggest Little Town in Australia’, Spaghetti Circus is pleased that we are punch fronting, well above our weight.
Photo credit: John W McCormick, Carnival Cinema