Nelson Leader : April 11th 2013
8 THE NELSON LEADER, APRIL 11, 2013 FEATURE Total trust inspires Twisty Twinz Two minutes w ith... Unforgettable act: Nele and Jola Siezen in action as The Twisty Twinz at last year's Buskers On Stage show. Photo: VIRGINIA WOOLF German-born Jola and Nele Siezen are identical twins and duo acrobats. The pair have performed at hundreds of festivals and events, and now travel the world teaching and performing death-defying circus art. Jola and Nele moved from Christchurch to Mapua in Sept- ember last year and this week they took time out to talk to The Leader. Tell me about what made you come to Mapua. All sorts of things. We'd been in Christchurch for about seven years. After the earthquake and everything we decided we'd been wanting to move away, so we just did it. A lot of our friends are up in this area. We grew up in the Coromandel and wanted to move into a greener area. Nelson seemed like a nice spot. Are you doing different work here than you did in Christ- church? Not really. We travel a lot for our shows anyway, so in the end it doesn't really matter where we're based. How many months of the year would you be on the road? It depends if we're touring with a company or just doing a tour by ourselves. A lot of the time it's festivals, private functions and things. They're always in different areas. Have you just been touring in New Zealand lately or over- seas as well? Since September we've been in New Zealand, but most years we spend about three months over in Europe in the summer season. What's the most interesting place you've been in the last five years? Gosh, that's hard to say. There's been so many. When we're in Europe it's always very inspiring because there's heaps of acrobatic conventions where we can train with hundreds of other acrobats for a whole week, learn new things and share skills. New Zea- land is just a lot smaller. If there's a festival here, there's maybe 10 acrobats not 200. Also Australia, there's quite a lot of circus in Australia. Compared to Europe? Yeah, but there's a lot of festivals in France, Italy and Switzerland. Germany has heaps of training that we do over there and also in between we're always performing at street festivals and other cor- porate events. It usually ends up being a colourful travel trip. It's very rewarding to take what we do overseas, also, but we love com- ing back to New Zealand. It's defi- nitely where our heart is. In all your travels, have you ever met another pair of twins with a show like yours? Yes, actually. We have an interes- ting story about that. Friends of ours in Germany are also identical twins and circus performers. They do mainly doubles trapeze together, while we specialise in duo aerial silk. It was really inter- esting for us to meet each other because we'd been friends with one of their partners for a few years before we actually met them. The funny thing is that they're called Ele and Julia and our names are Nele and Jola so our names are really similar too. We look quite similar as well, it's really bizarre. When we first met them we were like, What?'' Tell me about how being twins helps you work together. It definitely helps because we just know each other so well. We have that bond from when we were lit- tle and we just get on. We love each other and we love working together, we find it really easy to feed off each other's ideas and try things out. If something doesn't work, we just try something new and we don't really get upset with each other very easily. Is that to do with trust? It must be important when you're up so high. Absolutely. Trust is one of the big- gest things, and I think the fact that we are twins has definitely helped over the years. That trust is natural, it's just there. The partnership also. We're just there for each other and it doesn't mat- ter what's happening. With a lot of other acrobats we've met over the years, it's often quite hard for people to find partners that will continuously be there to work together. Everyone's got dif- ferent lives. That's definitely been a very big bonus for us, that we both enjoy the same things. Of course, we're very different people too. Were you ever encouraged to pursue separate careers? We were definitely encouraged to do different things when we were young. Our parents were never into dressing us up the same or making us do the same sports when we didn't want do. We would do different activities but there were a lot of things that we both loved so we'd do them together. What made you want to go into circus arts? Did you have to run away first? We grew up in the Coromandel and we had the forest as our play- ground behind the house. We hung up ropes everywhere and climbed the trees like little mon- keys. We played around on the paddock and just made up lots of acrobatics. Eventually, we discovered that acrobatics'' actually exists [as a profession] but we just always climbed on each other. At primary school we would be doing back- bends and handstands. Even today, we don't know where it came from, it was just in us. We always enjoyed being physical. It was after high school that we got our first professional training. We did a performing arts course in Auckland for a year, and we had an acrobatic physical theatre teacher with us for four hours a week. She was the one who really inspired us because she could see that we had taught ourselves so much. Can you describe your favour- ite trick to me? Or the one you're rehearsing at the moment. With acrobatics we're always rehearsing and trying new things. I can't say that there's a specific thing I like the best. I really enjoy the rehearsal process, like the devising of a show or a routine. The rehearsal is just as much of the performance enjoyment as actually knowing the trick, it's about discovering new ideas. Have either of you ever had an accident? Yes. Not many, we've been pretty good at not hurting ourselves for what we do. I broke my foot about five years ago. My sister was standing on another friend's shoulder and I was standing on her shoulder, so I was three men up, and then we did a roll-down where we all lean forward together and roly-poly out of it. The timing was just a tiny bit off, so I fell from about three metres straight down and broke my foot. However, it recovered really well. What's your favourite thing about circus art? Probably just seeing how the enjoyment is not just one-sided, how much joy other people get from what we do and we really love what we do as well. It's a rewarding two-way situation that's full of inspiration and excitement.
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