Building confidence with acrobatics

How to do it perfectly

By on June 8, 2016

Recently I heard someone talk about circus as “Aiming to do something perfectly useless, perfectly”. I can’t quite get the idea out of my head. As a circus performer this is a very evocative way of explaining our job. The usefulness of being able to balance a stack of crockery with your teeth while standing on a rope is somewhat dubious (unless of course you want a job with the circus). However after years of teaching circus skills to hundred (thousands?) of kids, I’ve come to the conclusion that the goal of doing something perfectly useless, perfectly, is well… perfectly beneficial.

There are lots of elements to a circus class, and a good circus class for kids will involve physical, personal, social and inter-disciplinary based learning. In fact, the benefits or learning circus skills are so numerous I’ve made this list below.

Fitness

Well guess what… If you are going to run around bouncing off trampolines and swinging for trapezes for an hour, you are going to be increasing your fitness quotient.

Physicality

You know that childhood friend of yours who would take easily to any sport, effortlessly climb through trees, pick up new skills like skateboarding or dance without any inhibitions? Well, that kind of physicality doesn’t come naturally, chances are that kid was given opportunities to explore their movement in a range of circumstances.

Confidence

After practicing for a while, you start to see results. Before long you start to recognise that your achievements at circus are a result of your hard work. Soon you realise your achievements can be reproduced in other area’s, which in turn fosters an overall sense of confidence.

Focus and the ability to learn new things

Juggling five balls is a physical skill. But a more adaptable skill is learning how to juggle five balls. Once you’ve gone through a process of breaking apart a new task such as juggling into manageable parts, this strategy can be adapted to other things.

Interpersonal communication

This person will be on the bottom, she will be in the middle, and that guy over there is going climb on top of all of them and stand on his hands on her head. GO! Well it’s not as simple as that, building pyramids in circus involves some give and take. First of all, perhaps it would be better if the bottom person and the middle swapped spots, or maybe the top person needs the middle person to stand straighter. Well gang, you’re going to have to learn to communicate with others to make that work.

How has taking part in a circus class helped you or your child? I’d love to read about it in the comments below.

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Did you know you can book your child in for a free trial circus class?

If you are interested in having a circus program at your school you can find out more information here.

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Daniel is the Chief Executive Clown (i.e. founder and director) of The Circus Spot, with a vision that every child in Australia should be able to show off at least one circus trick! He’s slowly getting there too, having taught over 5,000 kids and adults circus skills over the last 10 years. He is a typical circus geek, always dreaming up new ways to teach a cartwheel, or plotting the next performance for our performing troupes. Prior to starting The Circus Spot, Daniel has worked in and around circus as a performer, teacher and rigger (the guy that hangs all the trapezes). His signature circus trick was balancing on one leg on a slackrope (like a tightrope, but very loose), and then proceeding to use his spare foot to kick cups and cutlery high in the air to land in a bowl balanced on his head! This cool trick may have taken 4 years to perfect, but gave Daniel a chance to perform with a variety of companies such as Circus Quirkus, ThowDown, Circus Oz, the traditional family circus Circus Royale, Dislocate Physical Theatre and even supporting the rock band The Dresden Dolls.