Gypsy Snider: Creator of 7 Fingers’ Reversible (#136)
Our Guest Today: Gypsy Snider
Gypsy Snider is one of the Founders at 7 Fingers, a contemporary circus collective, where she works as a writer and choreographer.
Gypsy has a unique childhood. Both of her parents are not only circus actors, but had their own circus as a family business, where Gyspy performed since the age of five.
Who are the 7 Fingers?
Many people still haven’t yet heard of or experienced The 7 Fingers.
I first learned about them during my recording with Eric Langlois, the Executive Director at the National Circus School in Montreal. Cirque du Soleil is one type of circus, and the 7 Fingers is another. Both have outstanding performances, but their philosophies and approaches are drastically different.
This brings us to Gypsy, the creator for REVERSIBLE, an interactive experience “inspired by the soaring spirit and simple spark of human nature”.
Reversible was touring in Boston, MA during the Fall of 2017 (SEP 6 – 24, 2017), a 90-min show hosted at the Emerson Cutler Majestic Theatre – one of my favorite show locations in Boston. It’s small, intimate yet comfortable.
From Arts Emerson:
Reversible represents the best of contemporary circus by shining a spotlight on the poetry of the human form and linking every ending to a new beginning. Through an electrifying mix of theatre, illusion, dance, music and acrobatics, Reversible is dedicated to past generations whose stories might hold the key to a better tomorrow.
To me, Reversible is about finding that deep connection within ourselves that enables a deeper connection with others.
On an episode of Comedian in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld picked up Patton Oswalt (two of my favorite comedians, by the way) to get coffee at a local shop. Patton immediately started to break down all the stereotypes of the customers and workers there. One of them, he jokingly described as “You have to be white, and you have be very comfortable with diversity, but secretly you are terrified by other races.” It made me laugh so hard because it’s true.
There is a human connection barrier, and some people don’t know how to overcome it even if they want to.
I think that’s magic the essence of the 7 Fingers. Through its storytelling and choreographer, it breaks down these barriers and expose the most raw, uncut versions of our human existence.
On stage at Reversible, a young female acrobat told us that her grandma ran away from her arranged marriage in Japan nearly 50 years ago to rejoin her true love in Sweden. Otherwise she couldn’t be there. In fact, every artist took turn and told us their grandmother’s stories, from around the world.
While I can’t imagine myself ever doing what they do on stage, the stories were instantly resonating and empowering for the audience. It made us want to find out about own origins, beyond what’s been told. It gives us the space to not question, but simply be there and listen.
Gypsy is the woman leading the charge. Together, we talked about the creation process of the show, where and how she selected the group of male and female artists (many of them were newly grads from the National Circus School). It comes full circle for Feisworld for having interviewed Eric Langlois and be able to see their education and training in action.
To learn more about Reversible, visit: http://7fingers.com/shows/creations/reversible
To learn more about the 7 Fingers: http://7fingers.com/
- [06:00] You are part of a circus family. Can you tell us what it’s like for you to grow up in that environment?
- [10:00] How was your experience with competition within the circus environment?
- [16:00] What were you looking for when you casted/interviewed artists for 7 fingers?
- [20:00] You picked people that fit together so cohesively, they are so adequate. How did you managed to do that?
- [23:00] Most people, when they write or plan their shows, as writers, they make it all about them (about ‘you’), but you created something incredible with Reversible. It’s not about YOU completely. What was your thought process, how did you do that?
- [28:00] What did you learn about your family/heritage that you’d like to share with us?
- [31:00] Fei and Gypsy talking about how to learn from history and from the past. How this is taught in school and how we should approach it now.
- [37:00] How does 7 fingers has impacted people with their stories?
- [39:00] How old were you when you were acting as a clown. Could you bring yourself back to that time where you were a little girl, and share some of the stories?
- [41:00] You mentioned that both of your parents were circus artists. What was that dynamic like? Was circus in the 70s different than how they are now today?
[08:00] Alternative circus at the time wasn’t about the tricks, it wasn’t about the sparkles, we didn’t have animals, it wasn’t about being spectacular. It was about connecting with the audience and creating a feeling of community within the circus ring.
[11:00] I don’t believe in the word success. For me success is getting up and being able to work. It has nothing to do with being known or making money. I believe that being successful is achieving some kind of forward movement, and health, and being able to do the things that I love in my life, or with my family.
[21:00] In a way, every show, there’s someone you could directly relate to. And the reason is because they are sharing just small personal facts about them, that resonates with you or the audience. And if I can get one person to connect with another person, that starts a chain effect throughout the whole show.
[24:00] My need was to look in the past to find a map to how to deal with what’s happening in the world now or how to move forward. And more and more I am looking toward my heritage, where I come from, how my parents got to where they are now, which I never did before.
[26:00] It was so quiet, that I thought for a moment that I was going to die, alone, and no one was going to see it. And, as I kept putting my clothes on the line, all of a sudden I realized that even the sheets in my hand have been in my family for so many generations. All the women in my family, have put the clothes on the line for so many years. All of a sudden I wasn’t scared anymore. Just feeling that heritage gave me strength.
[30:00] We want the younger generation to move forward, and we push them away. I think that’s a huge danger. There’s so many lessons and keys in the past that it’s time for us to start digging again. Even if the elders don’t want to talk, it’s important that we do talk.
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7 Fingers original music for Reversible
Fei Wu 0:01
Hey, hello, how are you? This is a show for everyone else. Instead of going after top one person on the world, we dedicate this podcast to celebrate the lives of the unsung heroes and self made artists.
Gypsy Snider 0:37
It wasn’t about the necessarily the tricks, it wasn’t about the sparkles, it wasn’t about being spectacular. It was about connecting with the audience and creating a feeling of community within the circus ring and the audience and just that that wonderful adventure that we all feel still when we go to the circus, but really connecting to the audience.
I don’t believe in the word success. For me, success is getting up and being able to work it has nothing to do with being known or making money. I want people who are ready to try anything to look foolish to look ugly. I am not interested in the ego, no one in the seven figures is interested in the ego. In a way, every show, there’s someone that you can directly relate to. And the reason that you can find that person that one person or perhaps multiple people is because they’re sharing just small personal facts about themselves. And if I can get one person to connect to one person that starts a chain effect throughout the whole show. My need was to look in the past to sort of find a map for how to deal with what’s happening to us now in the world and how to move forward.
Fei Wu 2:24
I there this is your host Faye woo from the FES world podcast. Welcome to our second episode in 2018. Time really flies and the face world has been around for more than three years at this point and we have launched over 130 episodes. Today my new guest is gypsy Snyder. Gypsy is one of the founders at the seven fingers a contemporary circus collective, where she works as a writer and also a choreographer. Why are we so excited to interview her? Well due to popular demands, since we have interviewed so many other circus artists, including my gosh, the Atherton twins, and soon, Garcia Atherton will be on the show as well. And previously on knee LaPlante Irini torna Saki Roman Tom Manav and there is a lot of interest in also learning about people behind the scenes such as directors Gypsy, our guest today has a very unique childhood. Both of her parents are not only circus actors, but actually had their own circus as a family business where gypsy performed since the age of five. So who are the seven fingers you may be wondering because most people still haven’t heard of them or experienced any show from the seven fingers. I first learned about them during my recording with Eric Langlois, who is the executive director at the National Circus School in Montreal. Cirque du Soleil is only one type of circus I learned from Eric and the Samoan fingers is yet another both have outstanding performances, but their philosophies and approaches are drastically different. This brings us to Gypsy, the creator for reversible, an interactive experience inspired by the soaring spirit and simple spark of human nature. Reverse bull was touring and Boston during fall 2017 In September, it was a 90 minute show hosted at the Emerson Cutler majestic theatre. One of my favorite show locations in Boston. It’s small, intimate, very comfortable. So to me reversible is about finding that deep connection within ourselves that enables a deeper connection with others. Recently on an episode of Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Jerry Seinfeld picked up Patton Oswald to get coffee at a local shop. Patton immediately started to break down all the stereotypes of the customers and workers there and when Have he jokingly described as you have to be white, you have to be very comfortable with diversity. But secretly, you’re terrified by the other races, it made me laugh so hard, because there’s a human connection barrier. And some people don’t know how to overcome it, even if they want to. I think that’s the magic and essence of the seven fingers. Through its storytelling and choreography. It breaks down those barriers and expose those raw, uncut versions of our human existence. Gypsy is the woman leading the charge. On the show today, we talked about the creation process of the show, where and how she’s selected the group of male and female artists. Many of them are newly graduates from the National Circus School. So you see it comes full circle for us a face roll for having interviewed Eric, as well as gypsy at this point. I hope you enjoy this episode, and maybe give it a chance to enjoy a show from the southern fingers. Because I don’t think any YouTube videos, our promos would do the justice. If you enjoy this episode. please consider leaving us a comment. I read all of them, and I love responding to them as well. Without further ado, please welcome gypsy Snyder to the face world podcast.
So Gypsy, I’m so glad to have you on the show. And as you may know, I’ve interviewed a lot of circus performers. And about a month ago, two months ago, I sat down and realized I really want to speak with someone like yourself, you know, who is the creator, the director, and your title goes on? Very long. But you know, you’re so involved in the show, and you created the show. So I had the pleasure to personally experience reversible in Boston not so long ago. Absolutely loved it. It was especially towards the end, we all teared up. It wasn’t just me. Oh, yeah. Yeah, you know, without giving away. I mean, there’s nothing to really give away. But Jitsi I would love to learn something about you. And your upbringing, because I started reading more about you online, I did not realize that you are part of the circus family.
Gypsy Snider 7:30
Yeah, I am. I was born and raised in the circus. My parents were comedic jugglers, and born in San Francisco. And they sort of started, I think, the first really alternative circus in the United States in 1974, when I was four years old. And I think it’s really important to say, you know, what we meant, or what my parents meant by alternative circus at the time. It wasn’t about the necessarily the tricks, it wasn’t about the sparkles, we didn’t have animal, it wasn’t about being spectacular. It was about connecting with the audience and creating a feeling of community within the circus ring and the audience and just that that wonderful adventure that we all feel still when we go to the circus, but really connecting to the audience. So I was raised in that atmosphere, and learned a lot from my parents about the importance of circus as a as an art form, not just as a technical thing, but as something that really has incredible power and impact, to express ideas and emotions and to connect our humanity. Those were all priorities for my parents. And that’s how I grew up. I also I performed as a kid, my parents put me on the show every year doing everything from acrobatics, tumbling, to juggling to clowning. And you will notice in reversible, I have the four women in the show, each one has to do at least one comic moment is actually important for me to have comedic elements in the show, because I was raised that way. But also because my father really encouraged me to be a clown in many ways and to not just think of women as the beautiful woman on the trapeze or the Beautiful girl with the with the hula hoops, that that women really had strength and power on stage. And, and that’s something that I really, I think everyone at the seven fingers, we try and achieve that real personal comedic and theatrical value in women and in men onstage.
Fei Wu 9:44
I have so many questions for how you pick that particular cast, because everybody was excellent. And we all know AP by roughly eight people, I believe. 50% men 50% women, they’re so cohesive and they worked so well to get Other, I can imagine them grabbing a drink, and they’re no real friends in life. And you don’t always see that. Because, you know, in circles in many your corporate America or kind of a competitive environment, there’s always competition, whether it’s said or not.
Gypsy Snider 10:15
Competition is really something. It’s an incredible subject and it and I think more and more, we’re trying to deal with the stress around competitive being competitive, but also because there’s so much more pressure to use this, this evil word that I don’t like to use, which is to succeed. I don’t believe in the word success. For me, success is getting up and being able to work. It has nothing to do with being known or making money. I believe that being successful is achieving some kind of forward movement and health and, and being able to do the things that I love in my life or with my family. Those are things that you for, that’s what success means to me. So I think one of the beauties in circus and at least in the, in the circus community that I know, the global community that I know, especially growing up in this business, competition is not really inherent in circus, I sent both my kids to gymnastics just because there was a studio near my school and I thought, Oh, that’d be a good preparatory program for them in case they do want to do circus at some point, and a good training for them. And both of them enjoyed it. But at some point, there were two issues. One was they reacted very negatively to the competition. They didn’t want to be better than the other kids around them. And they didn’t like feeling that other kids around them were better than they were. And I realized that’s just something that you don’t really find and circus because in circus everyone is individual. So I might be working with. Let’s say I’m a trapeze artists, and I might know another trapeze artist who is really, really good. And I might go, Oh my God, she’s really good. But what can I do, personally, to achieve my excellence on stage doesn’t have to do with being better than her. Because it’s really circus is so much more about your individuality than having a common denominator that everyone is supposed to achieve. Whereas in gymnastics, everyone has to learn this move. And if everyone executes it perfectly, then they go to the next level, that that doesn’t exist in circus. It exists in gymnastics, it even to a certain extent, exists in dance, not all dance. But you know, Ballet has its
Fei Wu 12:41
ideals. Black Swan person.
Gypsy Snider 12:45
Exactly. It’s really intense. And, and I, you know, I think that even ballet is starting to re identify itself with the misty Copeland’s of the world, who are saying, Look ballet can have individuality, ballet can have perfection, in in a new defined space and circus has always had that. So right away, the fact that you feel the the cohesiveness of the group and reversible that that thing that you mentioned that that they really seem to be friends and they really work together. That is, is very much the circus community. However, I will also say that that feeling of, you know, just the melding together so perfectly. That is the it’s one of the staples of the seven fingers. So the first show that we created, the seven founders of the company, were actually on stage, we were performing. And it was the story was seven friends who lived in a loft apartment together. And the show was called loft. Now we really were friends. And we really, practically did live together at the time while we were founding the company. So we really wanted to talk about something that was real for us. But we didn’t play exactly ourselves on stage, we decided to take it to another sort of theatrical level, a slight abstraction of who we are and what our relationships were. And we really felt that the personnel that creating that cohesive energy on stage was really something that people weren’t seeing around the world in circus at the time. Circus since our first show 15 years ago, 16 years ago has evolved, if connectivity is our main goal, connecting to the audience and connecting people’s empathy and emotions, that has to start with the cast. So when we create any show, and we’re casting it, first of all, I need to cast a show. Only with people who are ready to let their ego completely go. I am not interested in the ego. No one in the seven figures is interested in the ego maybe in pride I a little bit. But I want people who are ready to try anything to look foolish to look ugly, to not, you know, I don’t we don’t work with artists that come up and say, Oh, I don’t really like that I don’t want to try that. It’s you really have to be able to stand on the precipice with me with the seven fingers and say, let’s create something together. And creating something together means it’s not about me. It’s not about the seven fingers. And it’s not about the individual artist, it’s about the thing that we’re creating, together, together. So that energy that you feel is something that we cultivate from the casting to the very first rehearsal. I insist that they trust each other that they work together, I push them, I push them physically, very, very hard. theatrically, the kind of improvisation and workshops that we do together, are incredibly intense.
Fei Wu 16:02
So in my professional career, 10 plus years, we have to conduct interviews all the time, you know, when you think about whether it’s for full time or for show, but sometimes you don’t always end up with the people you thought you knew what we what you’re signing up for. So I thought that was really intricate of an assembly almost. So how, what were you looking for? Because you don’t get to experience who they’re really like during the interview with suits?
Gypsy Snider 16:31
No, really not. So let’s see, first of all, I knew I wanted for men for women. And that was actually not necessarily because I wanted gender equality, although that was also a plus. But because of the walls having two sides, I really wanted to find a balance. And so I really wanted a person per side, so to speak. Then there were two performers that had been in our, in our company for quite some time is Julia and Emily, both French he was in C, and he was in a muse. Then he was in traces. Then he was in Queen of the Night, many of our productions. And he introduced us to Mimi, who was his girlfriend at the time, and I worked with her we sort of collaborated and did a couple of workshops with her so I already knew her energy. I hired her for a muse. Then Shana one of the seven fingers she hired her for Queen of the Night. And when they finished queen of the night, they came to Shana and I and said that they really really wanted to stay with the company and wanted to go back on a touring show because Queen of the Night was permanent in New York City. So and we like working with people that we’ve already worked with because they they’ve learned sort of our vocabulary, our way of working, I know them I can go further. I can push them harder. And both of them are very multi talented after that. Me Ruthie, who is the Swiss Japanese girl. I hired her for a muse. You know, she’s so young, so talented, and one of the most positive, hardworking people I had ever worked with. So after that experience on that show, I knew absolutely. I wanted to work with her again. So I approached her. And then Natasha, she was my student when she was five years old in San Francisco. And I knew absolutely that I wanted her because she’s just so unique. I approached her and she said, Well, you know, there’s a couple of people in my class because in her graduating class that I’d like you to meet. And I invited her and the four other performers from reversible and we sat on the floor in my living room. And I asked them where they came from, what their goals were, why they did circus, what their relationship was to their actual main discipline. So not just circus as a whole, but what what is the attachment to hand balancing or Korean plank or juggling? And then mostly, I really ask questions about what why do they perform what is what is art to them? What is circus, what is their responsibility as performers, and how do they want to achieve fulfilling that responsibility? And I pretty much say I hired them right after speaking with them, I felt really in love with them just talking to them. And knowing I wanted to hire them was before I even saw them perform ever.
Fei Wu 19:52
That’s kind of instinctive really is something I can really resonate with with a lot of people. When you interview someone moment they carry themselves they walked through the door and how they shake your hands, how they really look you in the eyes, that connection is something that I had watching all these performers and, and it’s really easy for the audience to compare who their favorite is, or you know how they compare against each other, that there was no comparison going on, because you picked people in a way, they’re so cohesive, and they’re so out of there more than adequate. They’re astonishing when it comes to honing in their skills.
Gypsy Snider 20:30
And I really push them to fall in love with the audience. And what I’m hoping with all of our shows, it’s not that you’re picking, you know, a which one is better than the other. But in a way, every show, there’s someone that you can directly relate to. And the reason that you can find that person that one person or perhaps multiple people, is because they’re sharing just small personal facts about themselves or a look or a sense of humor, that is something that resonates with you as an individual in the audience. And if I can get one person to connect to one person, that starts a chain effect throughout the whole show, and throughout the whole experience.
Fei Wu 21:30
So for people who are listening, we have now seen the show highly recommended, and as a traveling show, was in Boston only for a short period of time, otherwise, I would have seen him more than once. Like a movie, you really appreciate that you want to watch multiple times, because you know, each time you get something out of that you see something different. There are a lot of people running around, you feel like you may have missed out some of the stories. But I think the what’s really unique about the production, and the storyline is that they’re all real. They’re real people, they’re real stories that these kids researched, but I believe is about their grandmother’s, you know, just incredible. But I got to ask, you know how I’m a huge fan of Cirque du Soleil. But I learned so much about Southern fingers. And I interviewed Eric Leung glof He was amazing. And he mentioned seven fingers so many times and I because in because Cirque du Soleil has this crazy world recognized brand. In Asia everywhere, I realized that sometimes we just don’t know we haven’t experienced other things, right? Doesn’t mean that they’re not interesting or not as good but opened me up to all a whole new set of possibilities. And you know, in the reversible is such a, in my mind is just the perfect example of what some of the fingers is capable of doing. But I must ask you as a creator of someone instead of writing up a story that’s all about you and yourself. And that’s really easy to do. And that’s what most people will do, putting on masks and have these eight kids just to be maybe play your relatives or people in your life, but it’s actually about their life. What was that thinking or thought process like to make it not about yourself?
Gypsy Snider 23:26
Well, actually, that’s route I. That’s an incredible question. And I’ve never had it put to me before in that way. And it’s very true that most directors will really project their idea or their image or their, you know, their concept onto the stage and then have everyone play parts in it. And we have a couple of productions where it’s more like that where we’re actually putting on in a way a play where you’re asked to play someone else that we do that sometimes. But our touring shows, one of the goals of that is that it feels like the show is coming out of the performers. That’s that connectivity that we’re looking for. But the reality is I got the idea for reversible, from my own experience. And I really, very recently, I’d say in the last two, I guess we I started writing the show two years ago, and that’s something that’s really important to understand is that the show is actually written by me. My need was to look in the past to sort of find a map for how to deal with what’s happening to us now in the world and how to move forward. And more and more I am looking toward my heritage who where I come from how my parents got to where they are, which I never did before. I’m 47 years old, and for the first time I’m actually going Hey, Mom, how did this happen? You know, and I don’t I don’t have my grandparents anymore to ask these questions to and when I did have I have them, I never asked them about, it was almost disrespectful to ask them how they were when they were my age. So I’m one of those fortunate people who has a family that still has a house that’s been in that house has been in the family for many generations. And that house happens to be in Massachusetts, I was there. And I was it was the end of sort of the fall season. And we close up the house in the winter. And I had to wash the sheets, and everyone from the family had left and my kids were horseback riding. So I was all alone at this house in the countryside with no, you know, we don’t have neighbors, it’s a huge in the countryside there. I was purely alone. And I was hanging the sheets on the clothesline, all of a sudden, I felt, you know, there’s no one around me for like at least 300 acres, I felt really afraid, I was really scared, I kept looking over my shoulder like there was gonna be a bear, or something terrible was going to happen. I realized it had been so long since I had been alone, completely alone. You know, no cell phone, nothing completely alone. And it was so quiet, that I thought for a moment, oh, my God, I’m gonna die here alone, and no one’s even going to see it. No one’s even gonna know what happened. And as I continue, I just kept putting the clothes on the line. And all of a sudden, I realized, like, even the sheets in my hand had been in my family for so many generations, and all the women who had put the clothes on the line for so many years. And all of a sudden, I wasn’t scared anymore. Just feeling that heritage of this action and this place, and that, and that only, you know, only 50 years ago, everyone hung their clothes on the line. Now we don’t do that we put it in a washing machine, or God forbid, we just buy whole new outfits every month at h&m for super cheap. So that feeling that moment was when I started writing the show. And I started to think of all these questions that I would want to ask my grandparents and I wrote them out. And I sent them to the cast. And I gave them homework. And what was interesting was, we started workshops in February. So this was in November, I wrote them and I said, Okay, it’s almost Christmas time, most of you are going to either see your families, or you’re going to call your families before we start this production. So here’s the homework, you need to ask a grandparent or a great grandparent, if they’re still alive, a number of things that were happening to them when they were your age. And they needed to say something that happened to them at when they were their age, that changed the course of their lives. Or talk about something that happened in the world that changed the course of their lives. So their experience in World War One or World War Two, or a marriage or divorce or a death in the family or an illness, you know, at whatever it was, they all came back with different stories, we did our first workshop, then I gave them a whole new set of questions. Or I asked them to ask a different parents something about that same thing, so that we really could understand every angle of the stories that they were telling. And then over time, I would say over four or five, six months, I started to put together what they were actually going to say. And some of the words came from them directly. But sometimes I had to really refine the text to work on stage.
Fei Wu 28:39
That’s really interesting, since we didn’t get to really experience perhaps your grandparents stories as the cast was acting out more of their own storylines. What did you learn were find surprising as part of your heritage, that you’d like to share with you, the listeners.
Gypsy Snider 28:54
Actually, oddly enough, I didn’t really find anything that was so surprising that I didn’t quite know before. But my family was very, it’s very much sort of about respect. So I started looking through photo albums. And I started asking questions, and I would say, oh, so who is this woman? And where did it very interestingly enough, my mother, my aunt, and my uncle would always start by saying, Oh, I don’t know. We don’t know. We don’t know. Yeah. And so then I would start looking through and sort of going, Oh, okay, I found a name. I found another picture. And here’s her name. So then I would put the name there. And I’d say, and they’d say, Oh, I don’t think that’s actually who it is. And I was like, no, they really look alike. No, I don’t think so. And then, about a week later, as they started to look through the albums, and they started to open up, they started to get interested, and they were started to have be a little bit excited that I was interested. But it took me so long to get them to want to talk about their pasts and I realized that something we do, you know, with a younger generation is that we, we push ourselves away, we want them, we want the younger generation to move forward. And I think that that’s a huge danger. I think that there is so many lessons and keys in the past that starting maybe in the 50s, or 60s, it was more cool to rebel against the generation before you. Maybe because the generation before you went to war, or maybe because they were lost in the Holocaust, or maybe because the Vietnam War didn’t make any sense. Those are things we don’t want to talk about. But now I’m finding that it’s time for us to start digging again. And even if the elders don’t want to talk, it’s important that we do talk. And so I guess the thing that I found the most, I mean, there wasn’t any huge surprises, but I think the thing that was most touching to me was that I was opening conversations with the generation above me that I never dared to before. And it was uncomfortable. But if I just kept digging, respectfully, I could get there.
Fei Wu 31:30
You can learn so much from history. And, you know, I grew up in Beijing, China, and I didn’t particularly enjoy history because there was so much of it. Well, I love there’s many aspects is what you have created, I thought from an educational perspective, was very innovative, because the way that we have always structured history lessons about remembering the year and the name. But if you take those stats and kind of context, sort of the stats away from the context, actually is not that interesting. And plus is not that important, to be honest.
Gypsy Snider 32:05
It’s what emotional, what was how we were evolving, emotionally and intellectually. That’s where the key is. And if you really try and put yourself into, and this was what was so incredible about my cast was, you know, they would tell me the stories and I could tell they’re like, yeah, she was in a pre arranged marriage, and she left Japan. And I would say, like, can you imagine how incredible that must have been for her? How scary that must have been for. So we would really talk it out. So for me, it was really important to put these young, daring, wonderful performers into a into a realm of a life that might not have been so simple. It’s really, really about taking the subject matter and digging, and making it real for us. So that’s the other thing is like, it’s one thing to look back in history. But to really put yourself in an empathetic position, you need to have someone stand in front of you with emotion, and say, I did this, I looked back at my grandmother’s life. And without her action, I would not have the courage that I have now. And that
Fei Wu 33:17
reminds me of Brene Brown on the power of vulnerability. And it’s interesting when I look at two very successful while using that word of successful and define to me that looking at seven fingers versus Cirque du Solei. Other than the fact that the students may have some overlapping skills, the way that you approach the circus world is so polar opposite. And I love that because it’s so easy to copy. You know, in today’s world, I want to be Tim Ferriss, I want to be Seth Godin. You know, Elon Musk is another perfect example that everybody wants to become. But to me southern fingers open up a route of not only a weight, a different way to be successful, but a completely different way of making me feel. And you know, people always say use a metaphor. It’s not about, you know what he did, but how he made you feel. And that’s really powerful. And those was kind of mysterious, too, because there are, what I learned from the show reversible is that so many things that seems trivial, like in words and you plain English, and then there are people who are not even native speakers, many of them are not, you know, but they’re experienced, even if there weren’t speaking, I could relate to them, because you see the story? Well,
Gypsy Snider 34:36
I would say it’s really I mean, I, the thing that happens to me when I go to Cirque du Soleil now, or I could, you know, I’m trying to think of another example. But when you go see something that’s big and spectacular, it can be inspiring, but again, it doesn’t necessarily motivate my own humanity. And I think with our company, what we’ve been really He, really, really trying to do is say, each one of us as individuals, no matter how talented and hardworking we are, it’s really the courage of telling your story or creating your work or moving forward your way with passion and determination. It is only in that that you will achieve your own success. And I can use success in this sentence, because it doesn’t mean a success of money or financial, it means sort of succeeding as your person because you deeply believe in, in yourself.
Fei Wu 35:38
I love that statement. Because there’s so much more we can do together. You know, there’s truly a lot of time I spend the loan projects I work on alone, there are some benefits because you don’t have a stakeholder to approve certain things. A coworker was just asking me today that how come there environments where people feel loved, supported, they can be themselves, they can be naked. And you know, what you describe is so sincere, what I find also for the act of for me to reach out to you also because you know, the title of the show is its face world, but it’s really about the unsung heroes and self made artists. And in my mind, if I were to survey people outside, I guarantee you 99% of the people will say when they’re going to go to Cirque du Soleil, as if there’s no other way to succeed, or to have a fulfilling, you know, sort of a circus career. And that is incorrect. That is simply not true. And you are shining a you are a great example, as one of the founders for something that I I hear about, but also simultaneously, I have family members who are traveling in Montreal, who saw a different show from seven fingers, and they couldn’t stop talking about it. You know, they really couldn’t let you say there were other shows that people might have seen that they were very, they were very impressed at the time, but they stopped talking about it. You know, but seven fingers have stayed with them.
Gypsy Snider 37:02
I think I think seven fingers does have an incredible power. Or maybe I was gonna say an impact on people, the most important thing I would have to say about the work that we do is that because we’re always trying to create something that’s intimate. And that is and something that is disarming that like, like take off your your armor, and have this experience with us. Now, on the one hand, that means maybe we’re not a big corporate entity that everybody’s like running to go see and spend hundreds and hundreds of dollars to go see. But at the same time, the people who do see us are incredibly moved and come back again and again. So I have to say that the kind of success that we have is the kind of success that we want, and that we will continue to strive for. I’m not really interested in doing a show for any other reason it does happen that we do larger productions. It is it happens that we collaborate with service aid. And that’s not a problem. I love going to certainly say I go whenever they perform in town, we go I love going to the tent, I love the big spectacle, it really brings out a child in me. So it’s really not one or the other. But I do want to celebrate the fact that both can exist. And I
Fei Wu 38:22
love how you did you’re successful. If you actually ask yourself, what does success mean to me? You know, we we learned so young to have a certain set of rules and guidance. But you know, I live in Boston. You know, my mom was friends with it. Nobody in my family is in finance. But we we are friends with a few hedge fund managers who can afford $40 million apartment to purchase, you know, on top of four seasons. And when they hear that I run a podcast, they’re always so intrigued. Oh, yes, that how do you make money from it? It’s really hard to explain that. Yes, I do make money on the side. I don’t make money from the podcast. But because of the podcast, I get to know so many people. I work on each project I’m so insanely passionate about including the one I’m going to Vegas for shortly. I want to close on with a few questions. First of all, I’m dying to know how old were you when you were a little girl acting as a clown? And could you bring yourself back to that moment in your child? And then let me know how you felt.
Gypsy Snider 39:28
Try to remember the first times that my parents put me on stage. I mean, what was interesting was that I was I was able to see my parents on stage. And then there was that moment of like me being pulled onto the stage to be with them. And I remember fear. And then I remember, like pure joy and elation. There’s so much adrenaline that happens when you realize people are watching you and you make a gesture and they react to it. It’s very addictive, even as a child, you know, you have the love of your parents, but then all of a sudden you have like the admiration of total strangers, I would say. First of all, it was empowering. Second of all, it created a relationship with my parents that is undescribable a connection and a vulnerability and a form of communication that is professional, not just familiar, not just a family connection, that I feel so honored to have had that kind of relationship with my parents and and while at times, it was hard to have to be professional while being a kid at the same time. Learning those responsibilities, and having that respect from my parents was also huge.
Fei Wu 40:51
What was it like? These sounds like rapid fire questions? What was it like to have both parents as circus performers? I often wonder about that knowing Atherton Garcia, and and their two kids, like, are they like, you know, juggling apples and pears and throwing knives? And I
Unknown Speaker 41:07
don’t know, I can’t.
Gypsy Snider 41:09
I mean, I think that there’s when you see your parents do it. I mean, one, the love that you have for your parents is one thing, but then you see them doing such incredible things. You have pretty high standards. And it’s it’s hard to it’s hard to meet that it can be a little bit of a pressure. I don’t feel that with the Atherton’s. I feel like their kids are just loving it and going for it. So I think they really create a lot of joy around that. It really depends. I mean, circus is something that is it is always passed down through generations. I mean, it’s unlike other art forms, which can be multigenerational circus, that’s what it was. I mean, you didn’t learn at a school. 50 years ago, there were no schools necessarily other than perhaps in mainland China. Or there were certain places in Russia, and eventually it’s in France and Europe, but mostly circus was what you learned from your parents. And they made your costumes and they trained you. And so in a way, it’s very natural. I mean, I think it’s very, it’s a natural thing. And it’s and it’s really fun. I mean, how many people grow up and their parents go to work, and they don’t even know what their parents do. So this is it’s obviously a very beautiful way to be able to connect to your parents.
Fei Wu 42:26
Yeah, that’s beautiful. Yeah. Well, thanks so much. I mean, I love how all comes around. And that’s why I love the show. And I always remember that and I’m hopefully when I travel to a different city, it’s playing now. I
Gypsy Snider 42:38
would love to see that again, birth. Sure, for sure.
Unknown Speaker 42:41
Thanks so much gypsy it was so such a pleasure. Pleasure to meet you. Take care Likewise. Thank you.
Fei Wu 42:53
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Transcribed by https://otter.ai