All kids love the circus – but imagine their delight if they could actually be part of the Big Top experience, as bonafide performers?
Forget ballet class, piano lessons and tennis camp; circus school is coming to towns across the UK, and there’s a lot more to it than just clowning around…
Circus schools and workshops are fast becoming popular as the most exciting activity around, training the newest generation of circus artists in all the favourite feats; from aerial arts and acrobatics, to juggling, poi, diabolo, and even stilt-walking!
For young ones keen to explore the possibilities of a profession in the industry – or those simply wanting to feel the exhilaration of gravity-defying freedom – there are also other benefits that come from learning the stunts and tricks of the troupe.
Not only do skills acquired in circus improve motor coordination, balance, strength and body confidence, but research has shown that concentration, retention, conceptual understanding and self-awareness are fine-tuned, too, all of which can be transferred to a social setting and applied to more conventional learning situations. And the most surprising? Juggling, specifically, has been scientifically proven to increase grey brain matter!
Circus classes are also, by design, incredibly social, and kids are encouraged to work together in a supportive, structured environment.
Children are both born entertainers, and utterly fearless when it comes to testing their physical limits. What better way to channel this daredevil combination than through a centuries’ old performance art that harnesses the physics of movement, and balance, whilst teaching how to focus – and have fantastic fun?
There’s plenty of circus schools, workshops and summer programmes dotted around the country, so why not let your little showmen check ’em out:
• London-based Aircraft Circus, with Trapeze Tots, where 4-6 year olds can bounce, balance, and learn the foundations of circus skills and Ninja’s Club (7-11yrs),for trapeze, juggling, acrobatics, and tightwire training
• Glasgow-based Spinalchord’s children’s and youth classes in trapeze, rope and silks
• Manchester-based The Circus House, with acrobalance, tumbling and parkour for kids
• Blackpool-based Circus Club (7 yrs+)
• Birmingham-based CirqueStars Summer School, with a variety of circus skill classes including ground acrobatics, aerial, dance, plate-spinning, stilt-walking, juggling and poi (to name a few!)
The National Centre for Circus Arts also has a circus class for the whole family (2yrs and up), located in North London, and Bristol’s Invisible Circus uses circus and positive role models to engage young people and vulnerable groups.