Cirquest – “Perth’s hidden secret”

Juggling develops co-ordination

Photo By Elvert Barnes (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Juggling develops co-ordination

Sharni Hamann, Reporter

The word circus can bring many ideas to mind: the charm of childhood, large striped tents and clowns, but Cirquest is breaking down this notion.

Attending the gym can be daunting and the thought of exercise can feel like a chore. Circus training is an alternative form of physical activity that doesn’t feel like a workout.

Hidden in North Perth, Cirquest is a circus school that trains a wide demographic in circus skills. Ranging from children to adults, beginners to experienced.

Cirquest categorises their skills into four types:

  • Acrobatics, such as handstands and tumbling
  • Aerials, including aerial silks and trapeze
  • Equilibristic skills, including stilt walking and unicycles.
  • Object manipulations, such as hula hoops and juggling

The advantages of acrobatic and aerial-based exercises are that they require you to use your entire body, making it a great form of cardio. Hanging and lifting yourself up from the trapeze or aerial silks also helps build up your arm and core strength. The range of movement required also helps to improve balance, strength and flexibility. It’s an exercise that requires focus, which also improves your concentration.

On Thursday evening I watched the beginners adult class called CircusFit to see what training they do. The class runs for an hour and a half and I was welcomed by supportive staff and loud energetic music.

The class started with a short game of ‘name tag chasey’, an informal way of getting to know your classmates and to get your heart racing, followed by basic warm-ups and stretches. The instructor used this time to get to know the class attendees a little more by asking the question: “What do you want to get out of this class?”. The answers were mixed. Some wanted to develop their trapezing and aerial skills in general and some were just there for fun.

Working in short intervals, the class slowly worked through the main skills of the course, performing the different acrobatic and aerial skills they were learning, including; trampolining, tumbling, aerial silks and trapeze skills.

Before cooling down they started to learn the basics of juggling, beginning with silk scarves and working their way up to juggling balls. Juggling helps to develop hand-eye coordination that is imperative for circus skills.

Everyone in the class was very supportive of each other, laughing and having fun while doing physical activity. It’s an environment where you don’t have to feel self-conscious.

The class runs for six weeks, so each week they will develop on your progression.

Isobel Lyall, a co-founder of Cirquest Circus School and a former touring circus artist, said that they have over 200 people come through the classes each week.

She calls the class “Perth’s hidden secret.”

For more information head to the Cirquest website.