OHOPE Beach is the perfect spot for a Swedish couple in need of a rest from the circus.
Jimmy Anderson and Anna Netterlid are enjoying parental leave paid for by the Swedish government by virtue of their youngest boy Hannes, who is three years old.
“We also saved up some money, and we are renting out our house in Lomma,” Jimmy says.
The couple arrived in New Zealand in September and they plan to go back to work in April, although Anna said it was tempting to stay longer at the beach.
She says their job, as gymnasts performing all over the world, is amazing, meeting great people and performing in a variety of situations.
Involved in competitive gymnastics since the age of five, their careers took off about 15 years ago after they recorded videos of themselves performing and sent them to international companies.
“We had a response from a cruise ship company in Miami, who were keen to find people with a variety of skills who could perform aboard their ships,” Jimmy say.
Anna says she was doubtful as the only passenger ship she had been aboard were the small ferries that dashed between the Swedish and Danish coasts.
“I mean, where do you perform on a ship?”
As it turns out, they were to be performing on some of the largest cruise ships in the world, which come kitted out with theatres that are bigger than most Swedish theatres.
“We did two shows per night, for audiences of up to 2000 during each performance, while the other 2000 people were having dinner,” Anna says.
Both hailing from the southern-most part of Sweden, Anna and Jimmy had met at various gymnastics events, and they fell in love.
“Anna was brave enough to go to London for a three-year schooling as a musical artist, just after she left school,” Jimmy said.
Meanwhile, he had competed for the Swedish national team in gymnastics, as well as in world cup events in the United States.
“My top placing was in a form called power tumbling, where I came 23rd in the world,” Jimmy says. “As a couple, we wondered what was next in terms of career.
“Anna had worked as a dancer in the United States, and the break-point was meeting this couple from Las Vegas.”
Jimmy says the Americans “do understand entertainment,” and the Nevada couple had inspired them to devise a new art form.
“There’s a difference in performing in front of three critical judges, versus performing in front of large, appreciative audiences,” he says.
Jimmy says he was strong and had good balance, while his wife “is good-looking and also has good balance. We decided we’d take the sport and turn it into entertainment.”
The Swedes added choreography to their skill set, recorded their videos and sent them out into the world.
“We did 10 years aboard the cruise ships, and lately we worked five years for a circus company in Copenhagen,” Jimmy says.
As of now, however, they are enjoying quiet time with sons Hugo and Hannes while keeping fit and also spending time at the gymnastics club in town and sunny family days on the beach before heading back to the circus.
Whether that will be performing in front of 10,000 people at the wedding of an Indian prince, hanging from a crane during the opening of Sweden’s tallest buildings, or simply coming up with an artistic way of pulling the sheets off Volvo’s newest car, is yet to be decided.
For Anna and Jimmy, the show is set to recommence in April.