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Skating Away With the Cirque du Soleil: Katie Ketchum Rolls and Balances in Buffalo, Tehachapi and Manhattan

roadskater's picture

I found the link to this article pondering about do what you love and all that over on an inline instruction email list, and they were joking about running away with the circus, so I should credit them for the idea of my title, too! I never found any video of Katie Ketchum in Cirque du Soleil, but I found two nice ones of her burning up with some sweet style on one of her favorite indoor street courses...She seems to focus on intricate, precise landings, but can pop a spin (see 0:52 or so). Mostly though it's less rotational and more flowing moves with stylish finishes...


It's all good this next one, but check out at 0:30, the fall and do it again...I like that sideways flip where she faces the camera. Supersweet! It's relatively simple (if you can do back flips and land backwards, I mean) but there's something gorgeous about it.


So it sounds like Katie Ketchum is finding a way to piece together an income from inline skating and other physical feats, which is very admirable, indeed. Many of us would like to be able or brave enough to do something with our art that also provides enough income to live happily if modestly. Art for art's sake is awesome but it's nice to be able to live well too of course! 

In any case, I'm not sure I'll be trying any of these tricks, but I have to say I love to see them now and then (sort of like listening to bluegrass banjo...a few minutes of amazement and I'm good for a while...OK a few hours of Bela Fleck is OK). Seeing these or going to a skate workshop always opens up the possibilities again, and makes me aware how stiff and tight I am. But I need to remember the kids in the park who see us go by and think we're doing just great...and the adults who say they wish they could do it. (Come on! Do it! Join us! Gear up!)

A note on the music. I got another sense from "Bruises" when played along with the skating. Nice pop fluff. Liked it. Silly, I know. Wouldn't want to hear it all day, like a banjo, but OK whoa hoah brit pop warbling. I also like the Muse tune, "Starlight," with the skatey stuff. Those opening octaves on piano and synth are nice and airy, and then when they come back with the slide up to falsetto chorus, that's OK pop stuff, too. And it's nice to hear something smoother to go with a smooth skater. OK, now I notice both songs have significant octave themes (hooks), with high or falsetto vocals in the chorus. Hmm. Fluff is good. 

She has some other vids up of her learning to do trapeze. It'd be cool to see more of that. I'd like to see some Cirque clips too. Maybe later. 


Woodward West
28400 Stallion Springs Drive
Tehachapi, California 93561
United States
35° 4' 50.8296" N, 118° 38' 7.71" W


eebee's picture

Only half Britpop

I ref'd that Muse song, Starlight in my 2007 A2A write-up. We had a good finish that year! But yeah, that's one of the un-Doctor-Who-like Muse songs so I like it. They qualify under Britpop. The "Bruises" band Chairlift, however, are American. I was curious so I looked them up. Apparently the lead singer is Brooklyn born & bred. I was wondering why she comes across as German/Dutch/Scandinavian-sounding in Bruises. Didn't find an answer. You can hear her talk here:


And if she wants to sing in a different accent, why not?! The Beatles did it. Most foreign pop acts sing in American. Maybe that trend originated at the time of Trad/Dixieland/Chicago/West Coast Revival Jazz. I don't know.

I also had a major epiphany at your 'art for art's sake' statement. I have always - I now realize mistakenly - thought that art for art's sake was a phrase used to describe questionable art that people go glassy-eyed over because they think that's what they're supposed to do. Nobody dares say "That's just a load of paint thrown randomly onto a canvas!", or "But those are just really big rectangles!", because they're afraid the other enthusiasts will find them out. It helps to have Simon Schama explain it. But it doesn't matter to me, as long as the art means something to the person that created it, and either the rest of the world can relate to it, or they can't - it's alright, it's alright. But great art can happen when craft and creation collide, like the skater Katie's moves, for instance.

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