Blue Flower

FCE Listening Test 6 Part 4

Part 4

You will hear an interview a woman called Jennie Thorpe, who is a trapeze artist in a circus. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer (A, B or C).

24   Jennie got her present job when her manager saw her performing at

A a gymnastics competition.

B a circus school.

C a ballet show.


25  Why does Jennie feel a need to practise just after the end of a show?

A She is able to do more difficult things then.

B She is too tense to be able to relax immediately.

C She is able to sleep better afterwards.


26  What does Jennie say about earning a living as a trapeze artist?

A It's hard if you have no contract.

B It's unlikely after a certain age.

C It's difficult for most performers.


27  According to Jennie, what distinguishes great trapeze artists from the rest?

A They have the lightest bodies.

B They perform without a safety net.

C They have an ability to keep calm.


28  What does Jennie find the most difficult thing to get used to?

A having to get up early every day

B damaging her hands on the trapeze

C feeling pain in her muscles


29  In Jennie's opinion, circus skills have helped some school students by

A making them physically stronger.

B increasing their ability to study.

C improving their social interaction.


30  What does Jennie want to do next?

A do a training course

B get a teaching job

C open a circus school



Test 6 Part 4

24. 25. 26. B  27. 28. C  29. B  30. A

You will hear an interview a woman called Jennie Thorpe, who is a trapeze artist in a circus. For questions 24-30, choose the best answer (A, B or C).

Interviewer: Jennie, welcome to the programme. A job in a circus, on the flying trapeze, sounds like a dream. How did you become a trapeze artist?

Jennie Thorpe: I'd say first of all that it's not that magical - it's work. You have to work extremely hard, but if you have the physical capacity and talent, it's not that difficult. I did gymnastics and ballet as a child before joining a youth circus at fourteen. I'd been in a number of ballet shows so I felt confident. Then I studied at a circus school for three years, and as part of the training I did a number of performances there. The manager of the circus I now work for saw me in one of them and offered me a job. But I know that they also recruit acrobats from gymnastic competitions.

Interviewer: Do you have to practise every day?

Jennie Thorpe: I perform at night, so I like to sleep in, then practise on stage for forty-five minutes. I perform my trapeze act once or twice a day, nine or ten times every week. Before each show, I put on my make-up and sparkly costume, and warm up for halfan- hour, doing handstands and abdominal push-ups. I have to do a lot of strength and flexibility exercises. After the show, I practise again for at least another half-an-hour. That's when my muscles are warmest, so I can push my body even harder.

Interviewer: Is a trapeze artist job well-paid, is it enough to live on comfortably?

Jennie Thorpe: We get paid per show, and the amount depends on how you've negotiated your contract, but it's usually very good. I've only met two trapeze artists in their late thirties or early forties, that's an advanced age in this profession and time to slow down, so you need to think ahead. If you've done a range of theatrical, dance and acrobatic training, it'll be easier to redirect your career. You could create your own show, or teach, for example.

Interviewer: But once you become a trapeze artist, how do you get to be one of the best?

Jennie Thorpe: It's very competitive. All the trapeze artists I know are talented ... and they're adaptable ... and they're physically slim, which is necessary so your partner can catch you easily. But there's one quality only the best have, and it's a characteristic of real stars: they aren't at all nervous - when there are 5000 people watching them, they keep their cool, which is difficult, even if you know there's a safety net below to catch you if something goes wrong.

Interviewer: What do you love about your job and what's tough about it?

Jennie Thorpe: It's a physical challenge, but it's also an art. You're expressing yourself through the way you move. Working late each day, sometimes you wake up feeling you really want to stay in bed, but you still have to perform. I have rough hands from holding on to the trapeze bar, and sometimes they're painful, but they don't bother me as much as my sore muscles. That's something that never goes, really. I like to have a massage once a week.

Interviewer: But it is possible to learn circus skills just as a kind of exercise, isn't it?

Jennie Thorpe: Oh, yes, performing circus skills is great exercise in itself and has other benefits. I know there are schools where they've noticed an improvement in the schoolwork of students with concentration problems as a result of learning circus skills, because it helps them focus on one thing. They all start at the same point, discovering their own strengths and limitations in this new area, and it's fun!

Interviewer: So what does the future hold for you, Jennie?

Jennie Thorpe: I've been looking at the possibility of doing a part-time course and getting a management qualification at college, with a view to starting my own circus school when my contract with the circus runs out in two years' time. That'll only be possible if the circus manager allows me the time off, so we'll see.

Interviewer: Jennie, many thanks.