With a completed Bachelor of Circus Arts degree, Christie specialises in tight wire, contortion hula hoop, burlesque, chair contortion and adagio. Her career so far has led to her becoming the owner and primary performer for L’art De Cirque, under the stage name ‘Litta Maree’. I asked her a few questions about becoming a professional performer, and juggling it with motherhood:
- How did you become a performer?
I was a gymnast from the age of 5, and when I was 16 I discovered Flying Trapeze. That opened the circus door for me. It didn’t take me long to pick up circus skills, and by the age of 17 I was performing for corporate shows with Cirque Espace.
- So was there a defining moment when you thought ‘this is it; this is what I want to do’?
Performing with Cirque Espace was amazing; like nothing I had experienced before, and that’s when I knew that this is what I needed to be doing as a career.
Feeling the thrill and rush of flying through the night’s still crisp air is incredible, only to finish the show and have the crowd go wild for you. I fell in love with circus and couldn’t get enough.
The first circus disciplines I learnt were flying trapeze and aerials. In 2010 I got accepted into the National Institute of Circus Arts (NICA). NICA was a fantastic experience and it opened my mind to all circus disciplines. I trained at NICA for 3 years specialising and focusing on Tight Wire and Contortion Hula Hoops. My coaches were some of the best in the world, and I thank them for where I am today.
- At what stage in your career did you become a mother?
I fell pregnant in my last year at NICA. It was incredibly hard training and performing because I was so sick. I was vomiting every day, I had absolutely no energy (and I still to this day do not know how I managed to get through two weeks of shows). The following year I gave birth to a gorgeous baby boy. He is by far my greatest achievement in life.
I took a year off from circus so I could spend every precious second with my baby boy. Surprisingly, I didn’t miss circus at all. I was so focused on my baby, and it was great to have a break from circus.
- How do you find being a mother and a performer? Are there any challenges or rewards you hadn’t anticipated?
A year passed, my son was getting older, and I was (kind of) getting more sleep when my creativity started coming back. I decided it was time to get the hoops out and start training again.
I thought it would be extremely difficult being a performer and a mother; mainly because everyone thought my circus life (and usual life) was over. I’m not sure why – I mean everyone goes back to work after kids, it was different now, very different, BUT in an amazing way!
I have never felt so confident in my life, and my performing life, like I am now that I am a mum.
Having a baby gave me a huge confidence boost. I guess I felt a bit like: ‘I had a baby I can do anything!!’ and to feel such immense love from someone who loves you for who you are is a huge confidence boost.
Before having my son, I used to shy away/pull back on my creative ideas and do what I thought people wanted, not what I wanted as an artist. Oh and not to mention my body! My body is amazing now! I have never liked my body, and now I can finally look at myself and love what I see.
I would say the main challenges are not being able to train whenever I feel like it. I need to plan my training sessions around créche, day care, and my partner being home. This is only because I have to go to the studio to train; my goal is to have my own shed studio in the near future.
One of the greatest rewards is having a little fan who is so proud to watch his mumma perform, he comes to most shows and absolutely loves it.
- What’s one of the proudest moments you’ve had, with regards to your career?
This is a tough question; I have done so many great things in my career. I like to think that I am proud of each one, but I would have to say my proudest moment has been setting up my own company (L’art De Cirque) and watching it grow.
- Is there anything you wish people knew about professional performers?
People need to know just how much blood, sweat, tears, hours at the studio, and money us performers put into an act.
Next time you get a price for a performance just stop and think about what the artist has done in the making of this act. An act may be only 6 minutes long, but there are countless hours of training. Keeping skills up alone is a full time job, and professional performers deserve to be paid their fee.
- Do you have any advice for anyone considering a career in the performing arts industry?
My advice would be: work hard, follow your passions, find what makes you happy and believe in yourself and your ideas… oh and always cool down after training 😉
Work hard play hard and support your fellow artists!!!
I am happy to say that I am a very proud mother, artist, performer and business owner.
To check out Litta Maree for yourself (and book her for your next event) follow this link: http://www.lartdecirque.com.au/performances.html