"It's as if the universe gave me back my body"

“It’s as if the universe gave me back my body”

Returning to the circus as an acrobat: in a wheelchair following a trapeze accident, Silke Pan dared not dream of it. And yet, it is now done. Meeting with an artist for whom the call of the track to the stars is stronger than anything.

Silke Pan is reborn at the circus

Returning to the circus as an acrobat: in a wheelchair following a trapeze accident, Silke Pan dared not dream of it. And yet, it is now done.


Chained to her chair, she looks at the podium with wonder: “this is where I belong,” says Silke Pan. And in a few minutes, in the number she is currently presenting at the Helvetia circus, there she is, twirling on her arms, almost making the spectator forget that her lower body has not responded for a long time.

This path only takes a moment in this autobiographical issue, but it took a journey of fourteen years to achieve this incredible result.

In 2007, the career of the one who was a professional artist suffered a brutal halt: “I was working as a contortionist and trapeze artist in an amusement park in Italy. At the end of the season, during training, I fell. And there I broke two vertebrae and also other things… my body was quite shattered. Since then, I have been paraplegic,” says Silke Pan.

On leaving the hospital, the doctors explain to her what she will have to give up. The circus is over. The artist must mourn it: “During all these years, this passion was always deep inside me, but I thought it was impossible. As I didn’t want to hurt myself, I ‘put on blinders’ and looked ahead, devoting myself to other things”.

The crash was a rock I had to climb on my life’s path»

Far from letting go, the athlete then embarked on a career of hanbike, the bike towed by the strength of the arms. She quickly shines in competition and takes up breathtaking challenges, such as the ascent of 13 Alpine passes, as part of her project “La Suisse à bout de bras”.

If she is 100% invested in it, Silke Pan nevertheless recognizes: “I learned to love para-cycling, even if it was not my passion at all”. But there again, everything suddenly stops in 2020: with the Covid, the competitions are canceled.

“There were tears of joy”

Always in search of new challenges, this woman of character keeps smiling. She takes advantage of the time offered by the pandemic to “give free rein to her imagination”, she says. Thus, she decides to check if she still manages to do push-ups vertically, as she did in the past, before her accident.

“There I discovered that my cells had not forgotten his sensations of seeking balance on the hands. I had asked my husband Didier to hold me and he had the idea of ​​strapping all the paralyzed parts of my body to a snowboard to stiffen them,” she recalls, beaming.

Dates and locations of the Helvetia Circus Summer Tour

  • Eagle August 6 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Eagle August 7 at 3 p.m.
  • Morgins August 9 at 8 p.m.
  • Morgins August 10 at 3 p.m.
  • Villars-sur-Ollon August 12 at 6 p.m.
  • Villars-sur-Ollon August 13 at 3 p.m. and 6 p.m.
  • Villars-sur-Ollon August 14 at 3 p.m.

In less than ten minutes, she realizes that she has regained her faculties: “At that moment, there were tears of joy, I had the impression of reliving, of being reborn. It’s as if the universe gave me back my body. As if, the time of the number, there were no more handicaps”.

Happiness comes from ourselves, from our attitude towards life»

Seeing her progress on social networks, the director of the Lausanne Circus School contacted her: she offered the artist to come and collect her podium, the one she had given him when drawing a line under her past. . “There too it was an intense emotion. My podium was full of dust, but finding it transported me to another dimension. I was ‘at home’, as if I had returned to the past,” she recalls.

unconditional and eternal love

Yes, concedes Silke Pan, the circus took everything from him. But she never stopped loving him. “It has always been a call from within, a vocation, it was stronger than anything. I knew I was in my right place. The accident was a rock that I had to climb on my life’s path. But that path has always been in the show. Despite the pain and hardships, I have never regretted being a trapeze artist”.

Launching into an acrobatic number when you are paraplegic is not without risk. In the event of a fall, Silke Pan could not catch up on his legs. She knows it. She works a lot on stress management, confidence, the feeling of being aligned, emotions. For the most perilous performances of her act, she secures herself with a safety lanyard.

“I don’t want to be negligent with fate, confides the acrobat. I am grateful, I feel gratitude for all that I can still do. And I don’t want to tempt the devil.” Never far from her, her husband Didier Dvorak participates in the number and also contributes to her appeasement and her concentration.

Always closer to the stars

For Silke Pan, doors begin to open, she receives job offers for what she calls “her second artistic career”. She will soon be guest of honor at the Salieri Circus Award, in Italy, where she will perform in a new duet number with an Italian dancer.

“I rejoice! At the same time it’s a challenge, but I like it. If life were too easy it would bore me,” says the artist, true to herself.

His journey is already a life lesson. And Silke Pan always gladly shares his experience: “Salvation does not come from outside. Happiness comes from ourselves, from our choices, from our attitude towards life. You have to know how to appreciate what you have and make it grow. Controlling our emotions without bullying them, knowing how to nourish ourselves with everything that is beautiful in life so as not to fade, mold from the inside. And then, you need a certain personal discipline,” she says.

#universe #gave #body

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