This is the 12th issue of my ALL ABOUT HANDSTANDS Interview series, which I have started to share the many beautiful souls out there who dedicate their time on one or two hands instead of their feet. And my curiosity seems to be endless when it comes to picking the brains of my favorite Instagram Handbalancers, as I am "just" a yogi who loves being upside down, compared to professional contemporary circus artists who have turned their passion into their profession for life.
MEET NICOLAS MONTES DE OCA
I've met Nicolas a couple of years ago at a workshop in Berlin. Before I had only known him from Social Media and always have been amazed by his flexibility (his tuck in particular) and lightness. He has performed at the prestigious Festival Mondial du Cirque in Paris and is now performing for Cirque Du Soleil's Axel. Let's find out what makes this table spinning hand balancer tick.
BREATHE & TRUST
Your IG name is @nicolastanding On which part of your body do you like to stand and why?
Hahaha funny question as I am a handbalancer of course I love to stand on my hands but I also love very much to dance, so we can say I love to stand on every part of my body :P
What are your current goals or what is your current show/performance? One of my life time goals was to perform at the prestigious Festival Mondial du cirque de demain in Paris and amazingly I was able to make my dream come true in 2019! In February I got invited to perform at the festival and performing my handstand spinning table act !
At the moment I am performing at Cirque du Soleil show Axel.
At what age did you start training?
I started to do Yoga when I was 14 and started with handstands when I was 23 at a Circus school in China.
Your tuck is amazing. Would you say this is due to a great amount of flexibility in the upper back and shoulders or strength?
All of them plus lower back mobility. The trick is to make sure your shoulder is always on top of your wrist.
Which are the 3 most important exercises when training handstands?
Aligment, resistance, visualisation.
Is the world prettier upside down? Why do you train Handstands?
Hahaha, its not prettier because in the end I am just watching the floor, lol, but the idea of balancing is addictive and even if you get good results and achieve your goals you still want to get better and do better. I love it and I think I won’t stop even if I am older. I actually was a juggler before and because of an accident on my foot I had to start to do handstands while I was getting better from my injury on my foot. Then I realized how cool it was to do handstands so I dropped my juggling and just started to do handstands full time, and here I am :)
What are the most common mistakes in training handstands and how to solve them?
Not believing it's easy. Handstands are extremely easy but it's been put that they are hard and difficult. You just need a bit of trust. Everyone can do handstands and to solve them is to train correctly. Breathe and trust.
Who inspires you the most?
I got a couple of people that inspire me: Valery Doucet, Andres Labarca, Yvonne Smink.
How do you eat? Meaning, what style... vegan, veggie, paleo etc.. Do you use protein pow- der or other supplements?
I eat everything :)
What was the last book you read?
His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
What was the last thing (tool, toy, food... anything!) you bought that made your life easier?
I got a little advice before going to the festival mondial du cirque de demain from my friend Marine Dicaire about a specific positioning you need to visualize on a part of your shoulder and upper back, even being a little advice, it made my handstands more stable and help me to perform at the festival. Now I apply it on my whole training and shows.
Where can I train with you? Any upcoming events?
Ibiza handstands Intensive retreat in march 2020, and Thailand October 2020.
Thank you Nicolas for letting us take a glimpse into your world!
Find out more about Nicolas here: