Top 5 – Circus Classes Flying High In Melbourne
As a discipline that mixes fun with fitness, circus has gone gangbusters in recent years. It encourages coordination, confidence and cognitive skills, while never seeming like a chore. See our profile on Kids in Motion for how some centres have used elements of circus skills within wider programs, but for purists, these five Melbourne studios below have zoned in on the traditional elements – aerial silks, trapeze, juggling and balancing – and they run after-school classes for the duration of school terms.
Circus Fit Studio
Yvette Jennings is the principle trainer at Circus Fit Studio, and as well as being a competitive gymnast, she performs aerial silk acts for Silvers Circus – so it’s fair to say she’s able to give kids the bug for bright lights and sawdust. They start ’em young at Circus Fit – kids aged just one to five years old can start off with hour-long Circus Monkey classes, exploring fitness through play, activity, dance and circuits, with gentle introduction to aerial silks, trapeze, rings, balance beam, bars, hula-hooping, spinning plates and juggling. You’ll need to come along and take part until your kid is capable of participating on their own. For over-fives there’s the Beginner Circus classes, using all the above equipment, and then intermediate, advanced and acro classes – between $214.50 and $269.50 per term. 1/8 Elm Park Dr, Hoppers Crossing 3029. 03 9974 6612. www.circusfitstudio.com.au.
Fly Factory Circus School
Okay, let’s get serious – Fly Factory is dedicated to getting your kid flying through the air, which means committing to one of their 10-week courses. Kids aged seven to 17 learn trapeze at their own pace in this cavernous space, strung with netting and dotted with sofas. Terms coincide with school terms and cost $570. If you’d like to check out what this looks like before your nipper makes the leap, head along to one of Fly Factory’s regular student showcases. Their next such cabaret will be on December 1. 26 Cottage St, Blackburn 3130. 0439 853 698. www.flyfactory.com.au.
The name’s a bit misleading, since these days Westside Circus is in Preston, but they’re committed as they have been since the 1990s to using circus and physical theatre to bolster creativity in kids from diverse backgrounds. Their mission isn’t just to equip kids with skills; it’s to boost confidence, alleviate stress and celebrate difference. If your kid’s always stringing homemade tight wires across the lounge room, treat them to the real thing. Westside teaches that, plus aerials, tumbling, acrobalance, walking globe, rola bola – that’s a board that balances on a cylinder – juggling and more. Prep to eight-year-old kids can be signed up to ten 90-minute classes for $250, with classes running Monday-Friday after school hours and also on Saturdays. There are similar terms of Circus Family classes – for three- to five-year-olds and their parents; and Kinder Circus, for four- to five-year-olds. There’s a disability program, too. 41 Cramer St (Building Q), Preston 3072. 03 9471 2928. https://westsidecircus.org.au/
The Circus Spot
Husband and wife team Daniel Rabin and Free Coulston have performed with circuses both locally and internationally and even have their own school for trainers – check out the entertaining blog. Their classes for kids are so in demand that they had to move to a much larger space in Pascoe Vale. There, they hold Tiny Tops classes for pre-schoolers; Circus 101 for primary schoolers up to eight years old, and, separately nine- to 12-year-olds; and speciality classes for those who want to hone in on one discipline. The fundamentals include tumbling, trapeze, acrobalance, juggling, pyramids and hula hooping. Their terms coincide with school terms and cost from $160-$275 depending on the class. 31 Essex St, Pascoe Vale 3044. thecircusspot.com.au/
Since 1978, Circus Oz has been touring nationally and internationally, with shows often toying with rock’n’roll and cabaret. The spectacular-looking, 1910-built Melba Spiegeltent lives on their site and hosts home performances. But there’s also a dedicated school, with courses that coincide with normal school term times. The Fun and Fundamentals classes for 6-8 or 9-12 years focus on building strength and fitness through activities such as human pyramids, static trapeze, juggling and hula-hoops. The Circus Skills classes are for those kids with a bit of experience under their belt, and hone in on aerial, tumbling, trapeze and other skills. Then there’s the Fanatics Performance troupe for more experienced participants to show off what they’ve learned at Circus Oz’s public events. Courses range from $230-$352. 50 Perry St, Collingwood 3066. 03 9676 0300. www.circusoz.com/classes/kids-classes.html.