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Monday, April 28, 2014

Circus acts bring lifelong lessons for students
Elementary students learn confidence, physical skills through circus performance camps and clubs
FROM: CJME.COM
Reported by Lasia Kretzel
Apr 26, 2014 8:52am | Last 

Eleven-year-old Emma grabs hold of the aerial hoop and hoists herself above the crowd.

With a fire-breathing dragon painted across her smiling face, she twirls through the air, balancing on the hoop with only her hands.

The circus has come to town.

The grade six student is one of more than 100 elementary school kids aged eight to 14 who took part in a spring break circus camp. Classes included everything from tight rope, unicycle, stilts and work on the aerial rig.

The project, spearheaded by the Potash Corp Children’s Festival in partnership with Saskatoon Public Schools, aims to get kids active while building their self esteem and social skills.

In addition to the week-long camp, the kids hone their skills throughout the year at five public school circus clubs.

“A lot of the kids that are participating, they don’t get a chance to do organized sports or activities or they may not be interested in traditional sports so circus gives them a chance to participate in other things they wouldn’t have a chance to otherwise,” Children’s Festival associate producer Amber Husk said.

“Beyond the physical skills they’re really taking away self-esteem, personal empowerment, [and] self-confidence, because they wouldn’t have know before that they could do these skills.”

Emma, in her second year of the program, said she takes dance lessons and felt the circus acts helped her improve her balance. However, she thinks she could apply the skills outside the gym.

“Later when I want to be a kindergarten teacher, I could use it then and teach the kids some easy stuff,” she said.
Meanwhile 13-year-old Rose said she also got a lot out of the program.

“It’s really good confidence. Like tightrope, you go out there and you walk on your own, you can see people watching you but some people don’t get nervous because you’re like ‘I’m okay with this, I’m fine walking.’ It just helps. It’s fun,” said Rose, who walked forwards and backwards along a sloped tightrope.

 The kids performed for their parents on Friday and will also perform during the Children’s Festival in June.

“I get a little nervous but as soon as you’re back stage that goes away and it’s like ‘yeah this is going to be awesome,” Emma said.

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