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Creative Courage by Welby Altidor

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CHAPTER

3

Secure Safety

No Safety, No Trust

Do not fear mistakes. There are none.

Miles Davis1

I. Raising the Curtain

The show is about to begin. From where we are, the smell of incense and water is unescapable yet never overpowering. It calls for ritual and concentration despite the laughter we hear afar. I’m not in my seat yet but standing, about 110 feet in the air, on a metal floor through which I can see everything below, giving me more a sense of suspension than support. Three colleagues from the O show company2 in Las Vegas are with me. An acrobatic coach, a rigging technician, and the trapeze artist are getting ready to fly below. From high above, I can see the seats, in miniature, and the audience, walking to their seats, both half alert and half relaxed as they wait for the magic to begin imminently. I love those moments of preparation.

Other than the glow from the theater below and the meticulous and cautious blue light from the technician’s small flashlight focusing on the artist’s security, you could barely hear yourself think from the obscurity and the impressive height. When the light faded and the music started, the Las Vegas audience, known for its rowdy, noisy ways, stilled. Above, the artist sat calmly, helped by the technician, close to the edge of the metal grid (by the look on her face, you’d never guess that we were standing so high) where an opening welcomed her as she began her slow descent, half falling, half flying, over the audience. For the few minutes ...

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