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The circus girl

Ayla Wågan (16), Trondheim
The TV series SKAM (Shame) has led to international focus on young Norwegians. We have met 10 real youngsters from generation Skam, representing both urban and rural parts of the country.
Ayla Wågan, Trondheim
Ayla Wågan, Trondheim.
Photo: Alexander Benjaminsen

“A lot of dramatic things happen in the circus, but I have been mostly lucky, even though I injured my knee pretty seriously a couple of months ago. I dislocated my kneecap a week before an audition for a circus school in Stockholm. I had to wear a knee brace for four weeks.“

Ouch, that doesn’t sound good!
“I practice circus four times a week, and with a hobby like that, you have to allow for injuries. Huge burns, blisters, bruises, and muscle strains are common. But I got to the audition and will know if I get into the school in June. My main discipline is called ‘tissue’, where I’m climbing in fabric that resembles silk curtains.”

Do you experience many strange things in your circus life?
“I week ago I performed at a fair in Stjørdal, and afterwards a lot of people asked for our autographs. That was pretty strange.”

It’s quite an alternative hobby?
“I’ve always gone my own way, and I’ve practiced circus since I was six. From kindergarten until the 8th grade I went to an international school, and then I switched to a state school. Now I attend a Steiner school. So I have tried all sorts.”

What do you like best about where you live?
“I love Trondheim. The city is neither too big nor too small. You get a little bit of everything, and the scenery is beautiful! It is an absolutely wonderful city. When I get visitors from abroad, I take them to Bakklandet and the wharfs there. And I might bring them to Ila to eat the best spring rolls in town. I also like the Nidelven river and Midtbyen.”

What else makes you happy?
“My friends! I have such a great and supportive group around me at all times. We all practice circus, and that makes our relationship unique compared to other groups of friends. We have a much more physical relationship – we have to be able to trust each other 110 percent, as we climb on and secure each other all the time.”

What are your dreams? Do you want to be a ringmaster?
“I have no idea, but I need to be active. I don’t like to sit still and concentrate for longer periods. I want to have a fun job where I feel happy – so happy that I won’t feel like I’m actually working.”

You are active in the organization Nature and Youth. Maybe you can work with environmental protection?
“I have always been interested in the environment, and I know that we have to do something about it. I attend Nature and Youth meetings every Thursday, where we discuss different issues to find out what actions to take. We often arrange demonstrations or campaigns to get people to open their eyes. We must take care of our planet, because it is the only one we have. And not only for our generation, but for all generations to come.”

Do you watch SKAM?
“Yes, because they are good at capturing what young people are going through in our time. There are of course many American TV shows, but SKAM feels so much more real, as it shows the things we experience here.”

Things to do in Trondheim

Ayla Wågan, Trondheim

Ayla Wågan, Trondheim.
Photo: Alexander Benjaminsen
Ayla Wågan, Trondheim

Ayla Wågan, Trondheim.
Photo: Alexander Benjaminsen
Ayla Wågan, Trondheim

Ayla Wågan, Trondheim.
Photo: Alexander Benjaminsen
About SKAM

Skam is a Norwegian teen drama TV series about the daily life of teenagers at the Hartvig Nissen School, a gymnasium in the West End borough of Frogner in Oslo. The series is created by the Norwegian Broadcasting Corporation (NRK).

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