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Sunday 5 February 2023 Dublin: 1°C
ABSOLUT Fringe 2012
Column How we fell in love, separated, and became circus performers
Tina Segner and Ken Fanning tell their story: Boy meets girl, boy loses girl, boy and girl join the circus…

Tina Segner and Ken Fanning perform This Is What We Do For A Living as Tumble Circus at ABSOLUT Fringe 2012. Here they tell the story of their unconventional relationship.

Tina Segner: I was brought up in and quickly became bored of the comfortable picturesque university town of Lund, Sweden. With nothing to look forward to but horse, homework and the promise of a pleasant grave in utopia suburbia, I would spend every night dreaming of living a life less ordinary.

So I packed my bag and hitch-hiked to Ireland…

Ken and I met on St Patrick’s Day on Grafton Street in Dublin. He was doing street shows and I had just learnt how to juggle. I stood and watched him for a bit and then left thinking… He’s not very good, but he’s cute and got talent, I could teach him one or two tricks.

And that was it, from that day we were always together. We laughed, trained, practiced, ate, slept, and most of all we had fun. It was the best adventure. We went to circus school, we travelled the world, we did everything together.

Then after six years, I met somebody else and Ken and I split our personal relationship. And after a month or so, I got injured and we had to have a break in our professional relationship too and I think that saved us. If it wasn’t for those months I don’t think we would work together now. It gave us time and space to reflect over our lives and what we wanted to do.

Of course it was hard for a few years, but it was worth it and now our relationship is built on respect, understanding and a deep friendship that you can only get with somebody you have known for 17 years, seven months and 23 days…


Ken Fanning: Relationships start in the heart and the imagination of people. Hearts and imagination are wild and dangerous yokes especially in the awkward hormonally-drunk arrogant and untrained hands of the young. Their hearts acts on wild impulse and the imagination is powered by their limitless dreams.

It wasn’t just mutual attraction that brought myself and Tina together, it was a kind of destiny, but that’s not say it was fate that brought us together.

The difference between fate and destiny is: With fate its a lottery in the hands of the gods, and the gods are dead, or at best deaf assholes. With destiny you have to work for it. Destiny is made by people with the imagination and the determination to make thing happen.

In many ways we were similar.

All the teenage disappointment, the anger, the need to rebel, all this was direction for us to meet each other.

We believed in nothing. Because our generation had been told that history was over, god was dead, the revelation was burnt out and the cynically greedy culture of liberal capitalism had won.

We tuned out and we dropped out.

We were part of a tribe of nomadic disaffected youth who were trying to inviting their own revelation. Maybe we were part of the last great youth movement, our music was illegal, our festivals were free, and the drugs were amazing.

Everything safe was wrong.
Everything normal was boring.
Fashion was stupid.
Art was shit.
And all politics absurd.

We hung out on the streets, we travelled, we partied.

And so all our lives we were slowly drifting toward each other, and then one day in March on Grafton Street in 1995, we finally met.

Have you ever caught the eye of a girl on the street and thought she was the perfect woman and then watched her walk away? I didn’t let her walk away. I asked her “Where are you taking me tonight?” and we walked away together.

I was asked to write how our relationship happened and ended. Our relationship has not ended. Only cowards end relationships, real people understand the value of friendship and invest in them.

Tumble Circus’ award winning show This Is What I Do For A Living runs at Boys School at Smock Alley Theatre from September 17 – 22 as part of ABSOLUT Fringe 2012. For further details visit or call 1850 374 643.

Tina Segner & Ken Fanning
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