Gypsy Snider is one of the Founders of 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 of 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 “You have to be white, and you have been 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 choreography, it breaks down these barriers and exposes 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 turns 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 our 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 new grads from the National Circus School). It comes full circle for Feisworld for having interviewed Eric Langlois and being 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 cast/interviewed artists for 7 fingers?
- [20:00] You picked people that fit together so cohesively, they are so adequate. How did you manage to do that?
- [23:00] Most people, when they write or plan their shows, as writers, 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 talk 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 do 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 the 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, in 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 resonate 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 of 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, and 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 are 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.