"I'm a writer living in the Perth Hills with my relentlessly fun seeking children.
Published February 16th 2017
Hate Sports Love Circus
Every mum knows that being active is part of a healthy lifestyle, especially for children. However, one burning question remains. How do you encourage kids to get into exercise, when quite frankly they're just not sporty. I think my daughter must have in her time, had a go at every after school sport known to man. Not that she wasn't keen, just blessed with the kind of coordination normally seen in a day old foal. Sadly, sport for her ranked lower than being asked to clean the toilet. Eventually, I hit on a great alternative. I just packed her off to the circus. Well, circus school to be exact. Perth is unusually spoiled for choice in the circus department and there are classes running most days North and South of the river as well as central Perth.
Spinning Class Circus Style
Circus, Not just for the Holidays Now, most families I know have had a brush with some form of circus skills, whether at a school holiday programme or the odd festival workshop, but that's only a teaser. The real gains come from committing to a weekly class with professional trainers. There are so many reasons why circus is just as good as any sport, as an exercise option. Firstly it's not competitive, kids develop at their own pace without peer pressure. The emphasis is on building both physical and mental skills, having fun and making friends. You're all learning skills on a level playing field and virtually any age can participate. There are classes from 2 years old, right through to adults, so it's something that grows with you.
Jumping Through Hoops
There are a vast array of classes from acrobatics to aerials and trampoline to trapeze, alongside the basic circus skills classes. The foundation level offers a chance to try out equipment that can be easily mastered by beginners with a bit of practice. Plate spinning, diablo's, hoops and devil sticks are perfect for smaller kids to get moving about and learn a few tricks.
Devil Stick Skills
Aim for the Sky There's nothing that encourages kids more, than feeling they have achieved something. These classes involve a lot of movement, teawork, balance and coordination, which is perfect for giving kids the confidence to use their bodies.
When your little Barnum is ready to graduate to more adventurous things, most circus schools offer intermediate and advanced classes in other disciplines, including aerials. This is a blanket term that basically applies to a number of skills which are done on equipment in the air in like the trapeze, hoops, rope, or silks. The first time I saw my 10 year old shimmying up to the roof space like a rat up a drain pipe on a length of flimsy fabric, very nearly made me nauseous, but I have to admit it's lovely to watch and the upper body and core strength that it gave her was amazing.
Not for Mums with a Fear of Heights
Perform and Shine Most of these classes lead to an opportunity to perform later on, for those who want to. Being part of a circus troupe is not just about showing off your skills, but also having opportunities to learn choreography, improvisation and teamwork. You can dare to be different here.
Dare to be Different
No Sport, No Problem There's a lot of scope in the world of circus to be a little quirky, to quietly experiment, test your personal limits and overcome your fears and that has to be a good thing. As school recesses become shorter and opportunities to climb, leap and balance precariously are shrinking, circus provides an outlet for the "not good at sport" to shine under their own spotlight. If at the end of the day your potential Australian cricket captain should decide that trampolining under Cirque du Soleil's big top is more their style, you'll still have bragging rights.