A lot of people have now seen this amazing video (625,048 YouTube views, and many more Facebook ‘likes’) and wondered just who this extraordinarily accomplished woman is. Her strength, balance, flexibility and grace are inspiring and quite mesmerising. The fact that what we are witnessing seems so casual in such a domestic setting, with the possible distraction of a nearby child and the clutter of what looks like a utility room, is even more remarkable.
Hand Balancing – Practice
Anait (Arevik) Seyranyan, Moscow-born and of Armenian descent, is a third-generation circus performer who has won world acclaim with her award-winning hand-balancing act and a contortionist act with her sister Tatevik, the ‘Rubber Sisters’. The video (below) places her in the well-deserved circus setting.
Obviously, and greatly to her credit, Anait continued to work on her techniques and furthering her skills. The next comments and videos show the development of a ‘jumping jacks’ component and her work with ‘silk’.
Hand Balancing – Practising Jumping Jacks (Anait ‘Arevik’ Seyranyan)
“I have [had] them [the canes] specially made. First you start on the floor on a block, and after that when you are sure that you can land on the same spot and catch your balance then you try it on the cane. The jumping took me one year [to learn/practise]. When you are physically ready for something, it does not take long to learn.”
My Progress on the Silk (Anait ‘Arevik’ Seyranyan)
music: ‘Innocence’ by Cirque Du Soleil
Once again, this brings up the question of what is ‘talent’? Following on from our piece about Amira Willighagen, the nine-year-old opera singer, it is clear that the ‘windsheild’ that was around Anait as the youngest child would have had the greatest influence on her. A third-generation child of a circus family would have viewed her parents and grandparents skills as either remarkable or natural, or both. We cannot tell, without Anait’s personal testimony, whether she cultivated her own love of the forms that she trained in or adopted them out of economic necessity or family pressure, and it is not for us to judge.
I have the greatest regard for circus (and fairground) folk. With their peripatetic lifestyle and their canny ability to size up ‘citizens’ from their unique perspective of being on the fringes of any society, performers create their own community that look after their own. Professional rivalries aside, I have found them very respectful of their peers, as can be seen by two very appreciative and supportive sample FaceBook comments from fellow performers who know her work and family.
“I have worked with her and her family. Her entire family is super talented also they are so nice. She is a circus performer. A great one!!” (Clayton Rosaire)
“Yes she is amazing and a beautiful person and she is my friend . . . Everybody thinks, like me, you are just amazing and you deserve to work in the best shows.” (Claudia Alvarado)
The other element that is ‘oh, so obvious’ from a large sample of comments is the awe with which someone of Anait’s finely-honed skillset is viewed. As yogis we should, at best, draw inspiration from her commitment to excellence and on-going training whilst, at the same time, know that many more could follow her example by making a commitment to their subject and training. Very few, without such an early start and dedicated commitment to training, could aspire to such heights of artistry, grace and control, but many, many more of us can raise our levels of competence and derive the benefits of relative mastery and competence.
Awesome Admiration (FB comments)
“Here’s the thing. How many times do you reckon she had to hit the floor on her face in order to accomplish that? Lots I’ll bet. Many. More than most people would be willing to. The reason she can do that is not just that she is talented and willing to work hard. It’s also that she was willing to fail, no doubt painfully, as many times as it took to get there – where she wanted to be, WHO she wanted to be. THAT’S what I admire about her. Not so much her physical strength. The strength she has inside. The heart of her, the guts. There was so much pain involved in that achievement. Prodigious young lady. Beautiful for that reason alone.” (David Morgan)
“What is most amazing is that her muscles in her arms are not huge. Where is the strength coming from in order for her to keep such perfect balance? She does not even look like it is taking any effort, if you watch her face. Amazing.” (Nancy Uszcienski)
“I think it’s more about strength than bulk, which would account for her arms being totally toned rather than huge. the majority of her strength comes from her core, which is the same principle in yoga & martial arts. Practitioners with years of experience in these disciplines are not huge…just a well developed core.” (Grace Forsythe)
“Form-10, Focus-10, Creativity-10, Control-10, Dimensions-10, Posture-10. Beauty-10, Grace-10.” (Jesse Quinata)
“A mom, home on maternity leave, keeping her job skills honed for returning to work … (maybe?) Imagine the child growing up believing that this is natural and easy!!” (Chida Kash)
But Can She Cook?(FB comments)
but you do get the usual crass comments . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“Everyone can learn to cook, but not everyone can learn what she does.” (Jen Cee)
“Can she cook? With such a physique? I don’t think so.” (Ella W Bar)
that rightly got this tart repost . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
“Yes, I can cook and do everything I need to do beside of this. I don’t know why would people assume that I can’t cook, it is not hard to do. I am also a mother and a wife.” (Arevik Seyranyan – purportedly)
You tell ’em, Anait!
My Early Training (2 years old) & My First Act (8 years old)
My Debut (2 and a half yrs old)
Anait (Arevik) now lives in Winter Haven, Florida, USA, and is married with a small child (fourth generation?) and is a Circus Coach (www.betterfly.com/arevik). Her mother Anahit works as an animal trainer, their father Gagik is a clown.
So, this concludes our initial enquiry into the ‘mystery’ woman from the FaceBook posting. Ros and I wish to send our loving admiration to such a wonderful exemplar of the art of hand-balancing and our best wishes to her and her family. Should this come to their attention, I would appreciate the honour of being able to interview Anait/Arevik. If not, let this small piece, extolling the inspirational example of one of the world’s great artists, stand testimony from grateful admirers.
Hari Om Tat Sat – Swami Tantramurti Saraswati.
sources/permissions/caveats: I have endeavoured to utilise only material that seems to lie in the public domain in crafting this short journalistic piece. If anyone objects to use of their FB comments I will immediately withdraw them with apologies. Anait & family; if you object to the use of any of your photographs or video clips, similarly I will happily withdraw them. Please be assured that this piece in our ‘Artist Profile’ is intended for no other purpose than sincere appreciation of your skill and artistry.
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