Thursday, 17 May, 2012 - 12:20

Clowning around

by Rebecca Farnham-Shaw

It's almost time for the summer holidays to begin. The thought of sunshine everyday, no school or homework and traveling to different countries to enjoy the tourist sights or visit the beach are on everyone's minds. Unfortunately, a lot of people can't afford to fly all over the world for an amazing holiday adventure and a lot of teenagers find themselves stuck at home during the summer holidays. Yes, it is nice to watch TV or play on the computer all day if you don't have anything else to do but sometimes the long summer holidays are a chance to try something new, especially like a new skill or hobby. If you don't have any plans this summer and want to learn something cool and fun to impress your friends then why don't you try a circus skill! I don't mean doing acrobatics on top of an elephant or jumping through a ring of fire but there are plenty of skills that are easy to learn with a bit of practice. You could try hula hooping first as it's a fun way to keep fit and healthy. Once you've learned how to keep the hoop moving around your waist, you can try around your arms, legs and even neck! Or how about juggling. This is a skill that takes a little bit of practice regularly and once you master the basics there are loads of simple tricks that look impressive. Most beginners start with 3 soft balls, throwing and catching them so that one is always in the air and the others in your hands. After perfecting this skill you can add more balls, some people can juggle up to 10, or change to clubs. Don't worry if you don't like the sound of these tricks as there are plenty more activities you can start learning like poi, diabolo or staff. Poi is basically a soft ball in a very long sock. The performer holds one of these socks in each hand and swings them to make patterns in front, above and behind themselves. Be careful though! It is common for learners to accidentally hit themselves in the face when learning this circus skill. Perhaps diabolo is more suited to you. This is looks like two plastic cones joined together at the tips placed on a piece of string held by the performer. You can spin, throw and catch the diabolo to show off some impressive but relatively simple tricks. Finally, you might like to have a dabble at staff. It looks like a very long baton which you can twirl and throw in the air. All of these activities are exciting to try. Most of the equipment can be found in toy shops or specific websites on the internet but remember most cities will have a circus club where you can try out the different tricks and they even offer workshops to teach you the skills properly and safely. Once you find the skill for you I'm sure you'll be practicing all summer long, eager to impress your classmates when September comes around again.

Can you do any of the circus skills that Rebecca mentions? Would you like to try any of them?

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