On the Couch with Jake Silvestro

Jake SilvestroWho is Jake Silvestro?
I am an acrobat, one of the newest cast members of Circus Oz. I am 26 years old, I have lived all over Australia, studied in Canberra at the School of Art and have been an acrobat for almost 10 years. I perform a range of circus disciplines, at the moment I am most passionate about tumbling and Cyr wheel, which is my solo discipline.

What would you do differently to what you do now?
If I wasn’t performing with Circus Oz, I would probably be creating new shows with my company Poncho Circus and touring that work anywhere I could! If I wasn’t doing circus professionally I would probably be trying to make it professionally as a print maker or illustrator.

Who inspires you and why?
There is a long list of people who inspire me, but to name a few, my friend Cecilia Martin, she started Poncho Circus with me five years ago and has always pushed me to train harder, be creative and ask questions. Acrobats like Lewie West, Jon Bonaventura, Paul O’Keefe, David Carberry and Pasha Petkuns, amongst many who are creative with their movement, style and stage choices. They are constantly chasing something new and I feel like that flows onto me to do the same. Artists like that get me excited to create more work and to find my own style. Lastly the Melbourne based company Dislocate, who create the kind of work I want to see on stage; beautiful storytelling and comedy all delivered through physical theatre & amazing circus.

What would you do to make a difference in the world?
If I could do anything, I would want to help support/fund programs or facilitate activities for kids who come from adversity, have difficult home lives, suffer anxiety, have disabilities and/or are victims of bullying. I have been lucky enough to have seen the benefits that the right support programs can offer these kinds of kids. Particularly through non-competitive, inclusive, physical activities like circus, children can find a haven to express themselves and learn to communicate with others. I don’t think the majority of schools have the funding or staff to handle providing these kids with the extra attention they need. I come from a family of educators and I know that with the right support kids can learn to deal with, rise above or overcome many of the above problems they might have.

Favourite holiday destination and why?
It’s hard to say, I love the United States of America, Thailand, Hong Kong and regional Australia, but the place that is sticking out right now is Singapore. I went to Singapore last year and it’s an amazingly weird place! I loved the East meets West vibe. I was there for about eight days and I was so happy with how much there was to see and do! It was a little expensive but I don’t tend to do things half-heartedly so I pulled out all the stops and did everything that I possibly could. Beautiful zoos, heaps of galleries, thrill seeking for days and most importantly the food, wow.

When friends come to town, what attraction would you take them to, and why?
When friends come to Melbourne town, it’s all about food, so definitely Chinatown for dinner, Chapel St for brekkie (usually after a night of drinking and dancing on Chapel St as well), and coffee in Centre Place, off Flinders Lane. Regarding activities… I would probably take them to the Australian Centre for the Moving Image (ACMI), the National Gallery of Victoria (NGV) and if something is playing, probably the Arts Centre Melbourne to catch a show.

What are you currently reading?
I am currently re-reading A Life in Parts by Bryan Cranston, the star of Breaking Bad. It’s incredible!

What are you currently listening to?
I am listening to Malibu by Anderson Paak everyday, I am so hooked. Also I have been listening to a lot of Client Liaison, because my life always needs more synth.

Happiness is?
A day off spent at the beach in Rosebud, Victoria. No wind, low tide, 35 degrees, an esky full of snacks. Go for a swim, eat some food, fall asleep under a tree, repeat. Either that… or putting on some very loud, completely NSFW hip hop/rap and acrobat-ing until total muscle failure. Very different kinds of happiness.

What does the future hold for you?
The future is such an unknown for me at the moment, my life has taken some massive turns over the last five years! Circus was not always the plan for me so the fact that I am here is a total surprise and blessing! Depending on how my body holds up I would like to think that I will perform and train at this level for a few more years. I would like to tour with my company Poncho Circus around the world one day. After that I want to move into either directing or set design for circus work. Maybe one day settle down and teach art or theatre in a high school somewhere.

Jake can be seen as part of the multi-­talented Circus Oz ensemble in their latest show, Model Citizens under the Big Top at Birrarung Marr, Melbourne: 22 June – 16 July 2017. For more information, visit: www.circusoz.com for details.

Image: Jake Silvestro – courtesy of Circus Oz