x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Head over heels in love with your job

The Life: Melina Druta, a former gymnast, talks about her job flipping and cartwheeling as a circus performer.

Melina Druta entertains the patrons of Bawadi Mall in Al Ain. Ravindranath K / The National
Melina Druta entertains the patrons of Bawadi Mall in Al Ain. Ravindranath K / The National

Melina Druta, a former gymnast, earns a living flipping and cartwheeling through Qatar, Dubai and various other locations as a circus performer. Most recently, the 25-year-old Romanian exhibited her acrobatic talents at Bawadi Mall in Al Ain, which is hosting circus troupes until July 27. Ms Druta spoke through a translator about her routine in the Emirates.

About 10am

I have breakfast. I have to eat many calories. For example, cheese, fresh fruits, salad, little bit of croissants and yogurt.

After breakfast

We have free time. We (10 or so acrobats) all go to the swimming pool in the hotel. We just have fun. Today, we visited Al Ain Mall. We've gone to Al Ain Zoo and Dubai.

About 2pm

We come down from our hotel rooms for lunch. Little bit of pasta, salad. It's not a very heavy lunch because after lunch we have to perform. We have to be a little bit careful. Then we'll go into our room and prepare our costumes, because every day we have to take our costumes there to Bawadi Mall and back. We have four shows. Each show has a different costume - blue, yellow, colourful and black with red. Maybe we sleep for one hour.

4pm

The bus is waiting and takes us to Bawadi Mall. We are in our personal clothes and carrying our costumes. When we reach the mall we start to make ourselves ready for the show.

5:30pm

We are just warming ourselves up. It's very easy exercise, like stretching our backs, hands. We're using some deep-heat cream on our hands, waist, legs. We decide who is doing what, and who is first.

6:30pm

There is a huge balloon. I'm going inside and they start blowing it up. Then I start all these acrobatics moves inside the balloon such as spinning and cartwheels. I'm dancing with rings. In each show, there are a group of performers but I'm the one starting the show.

6:45pm

Each of the four unique shows is 15 minutes. So in total it's one hour. Then we break for 15 to 30 minutes. In one of the other shows I have a little bit of acrobatic dance to music. It's not exactly Romanian; it's a mix of English music and there is some Arabic. We have to adjust to the requirement of the public. For these shows we practised for almost three months.

10pm

The show ends. We get changed. We pack up our things and go back to the hotel.

10:45pm

We have a little bit of dinner after we reach to the hotel. It's a very light meal, like salads and cheese, then after we go to bed as we have quite a strict programme. We have to sleep early.