What do you do? The dreaded question when you first meet someone new.
Surely what you do, surely your form of employment is going to be of no interest to this human being who is surely doing something far more interesting than you are. That is not the case for Laura Doyle, a young Irish woman who spends most of her time in New York City flying through the sky.
Is it a bird? It is a plane?
No. She’s an acrobat.
In a city where circus, burlesque and aerial artistry flourishes at venues like The Box and House of Yes, there is no shortage of demand for talented creatures who can scale silk scarves and sail through the skies. Doyle is not only an active member of this weird and wonderful scene, but a teacher who is spreading the joy, the gift and the freedom to fly.
Whether it’s gymnastics, trapeze or aerial dance, Doyle has been able to nourish her passion for these particular arts in New York where she has lived for the last three years.
Date you arrived in New York:
Date you started acrobat work over here:
I began my flying trapeze internship at the Streb Lab for Action Mechanics (S.L.A.M.) in March 2014.
Where you’re from in Ireland:
Where you live in New York:
Why this job?
I have worked in many industries outside of acrobatic and aerial arts, including service and administration. In these jobs I felt stifled and unfulfilled with what I was doing. As a career choice, I feel performing and teaching is my pathway to self-expression and development.
I’ve loved the art of free movement ever since I was a child. Gymnastics and dance have been a major outlet for me to tap in to my physical, emotional and creative side. I’m in my element when I move through space, it makes me so happy! Especially if I’m flying on my acrobatics partner or playing on a trapeze or silk 20 feet in the air! There’s no better high in the world.
The most gratifying part of performing is making the audience FEEL! I also want to help inspire other people who may not have the confidence in themselves to pursue their passion. If I manage to do that, that is a success in itself!
I’m still learning and growing every day when I fly and teach through the incredible guidance and support from the wonderful team of colleagues with a special mention to Bobby Hedglin-Taylor, director of the Espana Streb Trapeze Company, who is a wonderful teacher full of encouragement and positivity. The camaraderie of the trapeze team is so wonderful and warm. It has such a great sense of community.
And why now?
Now is the only time that exists! I’m at a point in my life where I feel it’s now or never; I’m living in this amazing city that is so progressive in the arts.
I feel like this is the time and place to really leave all inhibitions behind. I never want to look back in years to come and say I never pursued my passion in life.
How does your current job compare to the first job you ever had?
My first ever job was teaching artistic gymnastics. I have only ever taught children so teaching adults has taken a bit of adjusting to.
Children are fearless (well most!). Children won’t really question anything – they’ll just do!
Getting used to teaching 20 feet in the air was definitely a challenge when I first started. Now it feels as though I can do it with my eyes closed!
What is the biggest risk you have taken?
Staying in New York! I could have gone home where it’s cozy and cushy. I have all the comforts there, but that’s too safe. I want to always challenge myself in life.
I would say the hardest thing here has been persevering through the difficult times and trusting myself. It can be so scary and intimidating for first time arrivals to New York. Things do fall into place though, and it really is such a wonderful feeling when they do.
What makes you most excited about going to work?
When it comes to performing, it has to be the high. There is no better rush in the world than being on stage and transforming into a character I’ve created! For teaching, I’m a real people person, so meeting the returning and new students is always so fun and interesting!
Top tip for new Irish arrivals fresh off the boat?
There is no need for fear – ever. Remember your priorities alongside “surviving.” Make sure you are moving forward on your creative endeavors and that you are having fun.
What do you miss most about Ireland?
Awaking to my daddy cooking up a greasy storm in the kitchen every Sunday morning! I am a chocolate fiend! I miss real Cadbury’s chocolate (Hershey’s is just terrible!), Barry’s tea, crispy bacon (what is this turkey bacon?) and partying with my friends from home, of course.
Describe your borough in three words.
Gentrification. Art. Grimy.
Have you lost your Irish accent yet?
Not at all….I hope not anyway! I’ve got a few more years before there’s chance of that happening.
Favorite place to eat?
I really love Aurora in Williamsburg. It’s a perfect little date spot that serves rustic Italian cuisine. One of the tastiest dishes I’ve eaten has been cooked at home by my other half. Max makes a mean spicy garlic pasta dish…
Favorite place to drink?
I love Rockwood Music Hall in the Lower East Side. Some of the best live music I’ve ever heard in the city has been in this venue. I also love going to Bembe in Williamsburg.
When do you next plan or hope to get home?
I hope to go home in September for Electric Picnic. This festival holds a place in my heart as I made my first acrobatic performance there with the incredibly talented Jonah McGreevy back in 2013 right before I left for the Big Apple!