Acro ‘bro’ tics

Nelson and Kam are third year students at NICA who moved to Melbourne together from Port Macquarie in NSW at the start of 2015. At NICA they train hoop diving with coach Charlie Cheng and are both about to present solo hoop diving pieces in the NICA 2017 Showcase, Circosis. We had a bit of a chat with both the boys to find out what motivated them to pursue circus as a career.

Photo: Nelson and Kam “training” in the Sidney Myer studio

So, how did your journey into circus begin?

Nelson:  I’d been doing gymnastics since I was four and I didn’t want to stop, competing and learning was all very fun. When I met Kam he broadened my knowledge into free running and tricking, which is the creative movement style that I’ve been focusing on recently.

Kam: My friend Sam did work experience at NICA when we were at high school. He came back and was like, ‘yeah it was cool, they did parkour.’ And so we started doing parkour in Port.

Nelson and Kam Performing in the NICA show ‘Empty Bodies’, 2016. Photo by Eamon Connolly

Nelson: When I lived in Port I was just learning stuff for fun and to be able to do it the next day. We only trained once a week on Tuesdays for 1.5 hours.

Kam: Training was the highlight of the week.

Nelson: Tricking is very dangerous to learn by yourself, stupid even.

Kam: In Port we had sand dunes and grass to train on.

Nelson: I learnt how to do a backsault by jumping off a pile of wood chips in Year 9.


So once you heard about NICA, what made you want to come and study the Bachelor program?

Kam: A year passed, I was finishing Year 12 and didn’t know what I wanted to do. My mum told me that I, ‘should go to that school’. I was like ‘which school’ and she said, ‘that circus school.’ I wasn’t completely sold on the idea so I asked Nelson.

Nelson: I was like, ‘I don’t know what that is but, yes’. We did the pre-audition workshop, where we met heaps of people, basically got what we needed to do for the audition then went home and trained for three months. We applied to audition and luckily got in. Just after the audition I was like, ‘see you later I’m going to England for five weeks’. I was in bed asleep and Kam rang me and was like, ‘check your emails.’ And here we are at NICA!

Kam and Nelson training in St Kilda.

How relevant would you say parkour and free running are to your current circus training?

Nelson: Gym has a formula to build skills whereas parkour is creative.  Our training is taking both those things and putting it on the hoops.
Kam: It’s fun for us because hoop diving is very linear, which is the same as gymnastics- tricking is not linear at all. Trying to merge those two is very fun and challenging, but I think we’ve done it quite successfully in both of our showcase acts.

Kam combining parkour with his second specialty, tightwire.

For more of these two check out @kammckinnon and @nelsonsmyles  on Instagram!


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