Years of dedication and hard work training in gymnastics at the Y as a child and teenager paid off for Nick. This year the 26-year-old scored his dream job as an acrobat, or in circus terms a “cradle porter”, with the world-renowned entertainment company Cirque du Soleil. Nick is part of the first resident show in mainland China, where he is now based. He trained and rehearsed for five months before the World Premiere of X: The Land of Fantasy on August 9.
"The best thing for me about performing on such a large-scale production is the feedback and reaction the audience gives. To be able to bring happiness to somebody watching, and to know what you are doing is giving enjoyment to someone, really fulfils me personally. It goes without saying I hope to inspire as well. It was my dream to be a part of Cirque Du Soleil ever since watching one of their productions ‘Quidam’ as a young boy, and wanting to do that as a career."
At age one Nick would regularly climb onto a chair and then the dining table waiting for one of his parents to walk past so he could hurl himself through the air and hopefully be caught in time. His climbing antics were so adventurous, and at times scary, his parents ended up having to turn their Sydney home into a "foam pit" to keep him safe.
Realising they had to harness Nick's energy, his mum Jenny enrolled him in recreational gymnastics at YMCA Hornsby at age seven. After a couple of years his base became YMCA Epping where he trained and competed at state and national level until the age of 14.
"Training at Epping YMCA definitely gave me a strong base in not only skills but also discipline, individual organisation and a different way to approach and tackle tasks. The physical skills and preparation I gained at the Y I still benefit from today. I personally look at skills in a physics and biomechanical way to help achieve each skill. For example, 'what angle does my body need to be on', 'when should I release the flyer', 'what is the most optimal way to use my mind and body to achieve the best outcome'?"
Nick auditioned for the Flying Fruit Fly Circus and was recruited into the sought-after performance group at the age of 15. The elite gymnast moved to the southern NSW city of Albury, where the Circus was based, boarding with a family and attending the "Fruities" school. He graduated in 2011 as a "Porter", specialising in hand to hand, cradle and general acrobatics.
Nick moved back to Sydney and one of his contacts introduced him to Anthony Field from the Wiggles. For three years he toured the world performing in the Wiggles' live shows as an acrobat and playing Wags the Dog. He was away from home for 10 months a year in Asia, Europe, United States, Dubai, New Zealand and throughout Australia.
Nick then worked in Dubai with world-renowned director Franco Dragone in their resident production La Perle, before securing his treasured role with Cirque du Soleil.
"My body was shaped at a young age to endure long hours of training, to endure the pain both physical and mental and overcoming obstacles. Your body is prepared in such a way that it reacts quite differently to somebody that is not as physically active. Flexibility is a big part of that – your body is trained in a way that your muscles, tendons, ligaments are stronger and can endure more which prevents injuries."
"If you are passionate about what you are doing, never stop, just keep moving forward. Choose a goal and don't stop until you reach it. When you reach it you choose the next goal.
If your child is interested in gymnastics, acrobatics and is flipping and rolling around at home and you see a natural talent, I 100 per cent encourage you to enrol them in gymnastics. It’s the best thing that my parents did for me. I cannot thank my parents enough for the journey they took with me. They supported me the whole way – from early morning and late-night trainings, to competitions, and eventually leaving home at a young age to pursue what I wanted. If your child is interested – enrol, support and watch them grow both physically and mentally."
Follow Nick on Instagram @NickHutchinson2